Richard’s Christmas Article 2021

Edinburgh is looking very busy in the centre of town this year. Glasgow has cancelled its Christmas market and this could be a factor as to why Edinburgh is so busy. The “scaled back” Edinburgh Christmas market is alarmingly crowded. It is not for me I’m afraid. Somewhat overpriced mulled wine is not my favourite.

There is definitely a sense of anticipation about domestic Christmases this year. I have a feeling there is some cause for optimism from a social point of view. I don’t think I’m alone in the optimism either, judging by the number of “magnums” of wine we have sold.

The shortage of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc this winter has been a blessing for other producers. Chile and South Africa have stepped in for the less adventurous Sauvignon drinker, whereas Pecorino and Picpoul have increased sales as alternatives. To be honest, there are thousands of alternatives to Sauvignon and we are happy to recommend them to you!

Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t really go well with food anyway. This might be a slightly controversial statement but it is just the acidity in the wine that is the “food friendly” bit of it. The fruit in the wine gets muted by food flavours and, that being its primary merit, the wine is worse off by serving it with food.

You really need a white wine with more texture to match against food. I’m doing a “Facebook Live” video tasting on Christmas Day at 2pm with 3 wines which I recommend for Christmas Day. They are not definitive choices, there are plenty of other options out there, but these are just my choices for this year.

I will be starting with the lively Champagne Gobillard. It is a very decent Champagne and is a great palate cleanser after having consumed my ritual half block of Toblerone from my stocking. I will then be moving onto a lovely light white Burgundy (Macon-Solutre-Pouilly by Denis Vervier of Domaine Romanin). It is an unoaked, clean, crisp Chardonnay but has sufficient weight to step up after the Champagne, it is also superb turkey-washer-downer if you happen to have one of those. I will then move onto a South African Pinot Noir from Elgin by Cathy Marshall. Again, if you have a mouthful of turkey to hand this wouldn’t go wrong. I like to pick Pinot because it is lighter in style and just so ridiculously drinkable with or without food.

If you then want to move onto PX (Pedro Ximines) Sherry for afters then I think you will have a memorable day. PX is made from dried, raisined grapes fermented and fortified with brandy. The wine is then left in a “Solera” ageing system for years and years to mellow and develop its characteristic “Christmas pudding” flavours. It is the ultimate treat to drink against your actual Christmas pud, or try a table spoonful over vanilla ice cream (or indeed, both).

Just as a final piece of advice, if you haven’t tried red wine with chocolate you haven’t lived. White wine with chocolate is OK too but really doesn’t quite hit it off like a glass of red does. It is just one of these weird but fabulous matches in life. Other recommendations are available by calling or dropping into the warehouse or shop. We love to give recommendations and share our considerable experience. Cheers!