At first glance, this verges on the offensive. To celebrate the decadent and rarefied with fine wines may seem wholly inappropriate, considering that we’re not out of the woods yet. Shouldn’t this holiday period be a subdued affair, a solemn reflection of the trials and tribulations that 2020 has thrown at communities and families across the UK?
Not a chance! You deserve a day or two off. If Christmas and New Year is about one thing, it is about enjoying time with the people you love – this can only be enhanced by a glass of delectable wine. To that end, James Lawrence has curated an exclusive list of exceptional red and white wines for CALIBRE, covering both the affordable and the reassuringly expensive.
Above all, they represent the dreams of 2021, a return to what we love, the ultimate prestigious celebration – guaranteed to put a smile on your you and your partners face. Don’t let us down, 2021…
Bodegas Roda Reserva Rioja 2013
Please don’t let the fact that Roda isn’t top Bordeaux bias you – this is a blockbuster, and make no mistake. One of Rioja’s finest producers, Roda is a combination of old bush vines and exceptional skill in the cellar.
The 2013 Reserva is another standout example: expect an intense nose of black fruits, plum and spice, with ripe blackcurrant, blackberry and mocha on the palate.
Remarkable, as the vintage was far from easy.
What: Bodegas Roda Reserva Rioja 2013
Where: Roberts & Speight Wine Merchants & Delicatessen
How much: £27
Chateau de Tracy Pouilly-Fume 2018
Is this France’s finest sauvignon blanc? It is certainly a close contender – Chateau de Tracy’s terroir is legendary, resulting in a creamy, highly aromatic expression of sauvignon blanc that invokes the best white wines of Bordeaux.
The 2018 is very open and complex, with citrus peel, flowers, grapefruit, orange and honeysuckle streaming across the mid-palate.
From there you’ll enjoy the freshness, energy, creamy textures and vibrancy from the yellow citrus fruits.
What: Chateau de Tracy Pouilly-Fume 2018
Where: Corking Wines
How much: £25
Chateau Haut Gleon Corbieres Cuvee Notre Dame 2012
This gorgeous estate represents the very best of Languedoc winemaking. It’s an intense, rich and velvety Rhone blend (syrah, grenache), sublimely crafted by top dog Foncalieu.
It will more than stand up to a richly flavoured piece of British beef, the perfect antidote to roast turkey on Christmas day.
It offers intense red berry, blueberry and vanilla aromas, the palate is similarly complex and would stand to age for a few years.
But if I was you, I couldn’t bear to wait.
What: Chateau Haut Gleon Corbieres Cuvee Notre Dame 2012
Where: Drinks & Co
How much: £25
Domaine Jean-Louis Chavy Puligny-Montrachet 2018
While the fine wine world is undoubtedly predominately obsessed with the colour red, the chardonnay vineyards of Puligny Montrachet are in massive demand.
This is white wine on another level – perfumed, refined, buttery and utterly moreish.
What: Domaine Jean-Louis Chavy Puligny-Montrachet 2018
How much: £45
Abbotts & Delaunay Cumulo Nimbus Minervois 2017
Another exceptional Languedoc wine from the extremely talented Burgundian entrepreneur Laurent Delaunay.
A marvel of Minervois terroir, this Syrah-dominant wine is exquisite, offering a complex smoky nose full of black fruit, spices and incense. The palate is exceptionally refined, the finish long.
Like all great wines this will age and improve in bottle – but who could wait?
What: Abbotts & Delaunay Cumulo Nimbus Minervois 2017
Where: The Real Wine Company
How much: £23
Passopisciaro Franchetti 2018
This could well be Sicily’s finest red!
Created by Tuscan superstar Andrea Franchetti – a product of a South Carolina textile fortune on his mother’s side and good breeding – Franchetti has been a passionate investor into the unique vineyards of Sicily.
The wine is a blend of petit verdot and the local grape Cesanese d’Affile. What unwinds in the glass is an astonishingly complex and elegant wine, that effortlessly merges force and finesse.
What: Passopisciaro Franchetti 2018
How much: £97
Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Gelblack Trocken 2019
Much hype is (justifiably) levied at Burgundy’s whites, but the Riesling wines from Germany can be equally as spectacular.
The 2019 vintage in Germany was excellent across the board; Schloss Johannisberg makes one of the best white wines in any vintage.
Force and finesse merge in perfect harmony in this exceptional wine.
What: Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Gelblack Trocken 2019
How much: £20
Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir 2017
Wine connoisseurs and collectors have long adored pinot noir’s brilliant transparency of flavour and silky texture. Here we have a textbook example from Australian producer Moorooduc Estate.
Pinor noir is the ultimate Christmas cliché, but the red fruit and spicy undertone will undeniably pair well with roast duck and game.
This wine is fantastic value, offering all the power and weight you’d expect from an elite producer of the grape.
What: Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir 2017
Where: Hennings Wine
How much: £28