Hosting events over Christmas is both fun and daunting. I love the planning stage, deciding what to serve and how to decorate but choosing that to drink can be tricky so I thought I'd create this post with some help from my wine club The Red Herring
'm unashamedly a huge fan of bubbly. I'm not a snob about it, I love cava, champagne, prosecco, sparkling wine, and as long as it's good quality I will drink it. Often champagne is wildy expensive just because they can put the word 'champagne' on the bottle (meaning it is made in Champagne, France) but actually the soil variety and conditions in parts of the UK are now very similar so you can get some delicious English sparkling wines made with the same grapes and same method for much better value. Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2015 from Appledore, Kent, makes an excellent aperitif and is made in the same way as Champagne and from the same classic vines of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Perfect with smoked salmon and delicious. It also makes a great gift as comes in a special box, perfect for if you are invited to a party at someone's house and don't want to appear empty handed.
For a white wine that stands up to Christmas party food, try a rich and buttery chardonnay like Rustenberg Chardonnay 2018 from Stellenbosch, South Africa which is perfect and at £10.99 a bottle is also a real steal! Expect attractive apricot and orange-peel aromas, supported by striking mineral notes and excellent oak integration.
Then onto red.
Aglianico del Vulture from the noted producer Cantine del Notaio is my new favourite. It is a bit more expensive but you’ll be the best host around and it’s also a very good price considering the quality, simply because the producer isn’t very well known. Made on the slopes of the extinct Vulture mountain in Basilica in southern Italy, this delicious wine is good with meat and cheese, so could be an option for Christmas day itself. Slightly harder to get hold of, but worth it if you can.
Then if you're like me you’ll try and end all meals over the festive season with an enormous cheese platter and the perfect accompaniment is a vintage port. Fonseca vintage Port 1985 is almost 35 years old so around the same age as me and I like to think I’m aging this well.
I hope this helps in those moments of panic, not an exhaustive list but just a few tried and tested tipples that I know will be great festive options. Enjoy!