Wishlist wines for Christmas


Image: Alistair Jones

Ask any wine lover what their cellar would look like if money was no object, and they’ll likely be able to reel off a wish list from memory. In many cases, these will be truly outstanding bottles, not just for their rarity and quality, but for the memories and personal sentiments they inspire. We spoke to several members of the business, as well as some of our producers, to find out exactly what it is that they’re hoping to enjoy on Christmas Day – and why. 

Lizzy Rudd, Chair, Berry Bros. & Rudd 

Lizzy is always keen to highlight our sustainably minded producers. This Christmas is no exception, as she turns to biodynamic Bordeaux for a dream bottle of choice, alongside wines from some of the region’s most-lauded châteaux  

“My dream bottle would be a 1996 Château Lafite Rothschild. It’s not quite as old as the bottle from my father’s cellar that we auctioned recently to raise money for My Name’5 Doddie, but it’s a truly special wine nonetheless. For gifting to someone else, I think that magnums really make a perfect treat, as they can be shared and enjoyed with family and good friends alike. I am a huge fan of those producers following sustainable and biodynamic practices, and many Bordeaux Châteaux are now doing this excellently. Just a few months ago, I visited Château Latour, which would make a wonderful choice this Christmas.”  

Emma Fox, CEO, Berry Bros. & Rudd 

Emma has a penchant for one of the sweeter wines in our cellars – but prefers it at a rather different time of the day than is standard 

Château d’Yquem is a wonderful wine, and fabulous with a cheeseboard as well – but personally, I love this as an apéritif. And I’m not alone. In Bordeaux, the great sweet wines of Sauternes are often served before a meal, to whet the appetite. As well as being sweet, these wines also have huge amounts of flavour and acidity – both fantastic for waking up your taste buds. And whilst Yquem can age for over a century, it is beautiful when served young. This 2016 has intense flavours of honeyed fruit, chamomile and chocolate – a small glass, nicely chilled, will kick off proceedings nicely.” 

Sophia Bergqvist, Owner, Quinta de la Rosa 

As third-generation owner of Quinta de la Rosa in Portugal, Sophia Bergqvist is no stranger to tradition. Here, she looks back at her family’s history for a favourite bottle of wine 

“The wine that would be at the top of my list is the 1927 Quinta de la Rosa Vintage Port that my great-grandfather Albert made. I’ve been very fortunate to taste three bottles of it in my lifetime, and my father said there were another couple of bottles in the cellar. Just after he died, I found one of them – unfortunately, the cork had disintegrated so much that the liquid had completely dried out, so there was nothing in the bottle. So, anyone out there – if you have any 1927 Quinta de La Rosa Vintage Port, that would be my wine of choice.” 

Mark Pardoe MW, Wine Director, Berry Bros. & Rudd 

Mark has been lucky enough to try a multitude of wonderful bottles over the years. This Christmas, he’s turning to England, as well as his much-loved Burgundy, for his festive choices  

“It would be an unusual Christmas for me if celebratory fizz and red Burgundy didn’t make an appearance. This Christmas, I’ll be enjoying the Hambledon Vineyard Première Cuvée. This English wine is not to be thought of as a Champagne substitute, but as a brilliant, world-class wine in its own right. This is mostly Chardonnay, grown on deep chalk soils in southern Hampshire, not far from where I live. Superb quality, and low food miles! 

Another dream bottle would be any Burgundy from a vigneron with magic in their fingers – like Marc-Olivier Buffet, Virgile Lignier-Michelot or Arnaud Mortet. Burgundy has a reputation for priciness, but actually, although these can be hard to find, they are not necessarily the most expensive. All are capable of capturing the real magic of Pinot Noir.”  

Dean Hewitson, Founder and Winemaker, Hewitson 

Dean has only one answer when asked about his wishlist wine

“I think I’d have to choose a 1945 Latour!” 

Barbara Drew MW, Content Officer, Berry Bros. & Rudd 

Chardonnay is a fantastic choice for Christmas, says Barbara Drew MW, thanks to its food-friendliness. Her pick is from Ramey Wine Cellars, one of California’s most-praised wineries  

“I’m a big fan of a rich Chardonnay at Christmas. It is incredibly versatile alongside all the foods of the season, from poultry to oozy cheeses, and also works really nicely as a refreshing palate cleanser for the Chef. Whilst our Own Selection Sonoma County Chardonnay deliciously fulfils all these functions, and more, for a real treat I’m dreaming of the 2015 Westside Farms Vineyard Chardonnay

David Ramey makes wines which feel and taste indulgent, but balanced. They have the smoothness you’d expect of a Californian Chardonnay, with bright acidity and a fresh fruit character. This one from the cooler Russian River Valley region has plenty of honeyed, nutty flavours from ageing, and will be a true delight with a handful (OK, two – fine, three) of salted mixed nuts.”  

Geordie Willis, Brand Experiences & Creative Director, Berry Bros. & Rudd 

Amongst the many hats he wears, Geordie oversees our events and experiences team, and so has a different approach to his wine of choice – believing the glass itself, rather than the liquid, takes priority. Here, he highlights a personal favourite from our Wine Merchant’s range  

“Any wine tastes better when drunk from the best glasses. I am a particular fan of our Wine Merchant’s Burgundy glasses, which also work wonderfully for Barolo. Their wide bowl really brings out the aromas of the wine, while the rim is slightly fluted outwards – directing the flow of liquid to the palate, where its natural richness is emphasised.”  

Eva Fricke, Owner & Winemaker, Weingut Eva Fricke 

A rising star of the Rheingau, Eva Fricke keeps it short and simple with an all-time favourite 

“Oh, a red Burgundy from Frederic Mugnier. These are my absolute favourite wines!”