Fine white wines for Christmas
Author: Emily Miles
Too often, white wine is relegated to “just for the starter” on Christmas Day. It plays second fiddle to grander reds that get to take centre-stage alongside the turkey. This is something you feel especially acutely if, like me, you prefer to eat fish rather than meat for your main course.
Here, then, are five utterly gorgeous white wines that I recommend opening over the Christmas period, ranging from classic Old World styles to some hidden gems that deserve an audience.
First, this 2018 Grüner Veltliner is crisp, concentrated and has a wonderful peppery spice on the finish. It has just enough weight (Federspiel, the middle level, meaning the grapes are picked slightly later, giving alcohol between 11.5% and 12.5%). This means it can stand up to the array of different flavours on the table.
For something a little more traditional for Christmas fare (but slightly more understated in terms of price), I love Caroline Lestimé’s 2016 Hautes-Côtes de Beaune. I find this Chardonnay never fails to impress, lively, and a touch steely from a slightly more classic style of vintage.
Alternatively, if the conversation runs dry around the table, I suggest opening ABC’s Hildegard as it never fails to fascinate. It is a unique blend of grapes. Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligoté bring an oily texture, a flinty note and a streak of acidity (in that order). It’s nutty and creamy on the finish – just superb – and will certainly get your guests talking.
If I had to pick one bottle to see me through from starter to cheese, one of my favourites is Racines Wines, Chardonnay. This is made from a blend of sites across Santa Rita Hills, and it benefits from a touch more warmth than the French wines. This lends richness and fleshiness to the wine. It’s an exciting new project from a dynamic trio: Santa Barbara winemaker, Justin Willet, Étienne de Montille of Domaine de Montille in Burgundy and Rodolphe Péters of Pierre Péters in Champagne. Wonderful concentration of stone-fruit, citrus pith and white flower aromas with an enticing chalky finish.
Finally, something for the cheeseboard. Here, I find that an oaked white wine proves to be the greatest partner to most cheeses, especially hard ones such as Comté. Allende’s Blanco is made from 95% Viura and 5% Malvasia; it spends over a year in French oak. It works wonders. For me, it is a perfect balance, sitting in between modern and traditional styles. It has wonderful apricot and peach notes, a touch of white flowers and cedar undertones from the wood. It’s the perfect note to finish on.
Find more suggestions for fine wines for Christmas on bbr.com