This year we interviewed some fantastic women in the wine trade. To celebrate the festive season we asked them to name three drinks they couldn’t do without this Christmas. Unsurprisingly, there are some real corkers!
Clara Latham, General Manager at Della Vite
Della Vite Prosecco Superiore DOCG
I’ve chosen a Prosecco as my sparking for the festive season, because its light – making it perfect as an aperitif to kick off an evening. Della Vite’s Superiore specifically I find to be less sweet compared with others, really balanced in taste and crisp in texture.
Chenin Blanc – Coulee de Serrant, Loire Valley – Savennieres, 2013
I fell in love with this wine whilst celebrating my partners birthday at the Pig Hotel in Bath – some of the younger vintages are easier to get hold of and are still fantastic. A natural wine with real minerality – always a special treat.
Barolo DOCG Villadoria, Piemonte, 2015
Full bodied, and perfect to accompany cosy dinners with open fires – bang on for delicious wintery moments.
Melanie Jappy, Producer of The Wine Show and founder, TWS
Belsazar Rosé Vermouth with tonic
This is a German vermouth and it’s a lovely light apero that still feels like a drink but doesn’t get you too squiffy while you’re stirring the bread sauce. I’m not a champagne girl (although I can be persuaded if it’s vintage!) so for me a vermouth and tonic is a perfect way to open the festivities.
Quinta da Boa Esperança Syrah 2016
For the last couple of years my life has been dominated by Portugal – filming there, socialising there and certainly making friends there. So I’ll be opening a bottle of Quinta da Boa Esperança Syrah 2016 on Christmas Day. It’s going to be an intimate lunch so I’m cooking a Challans Duck with persimmon and I think it can take the magnificent Syrah they produce which, with candlelight and some gentle music will let me snooze away to dream of those dusty hot summer days in Portugal. The owner of the winery, Artur Gamma has become a great friend and I’m a huge fan of all the wines from the Quinta, but this one leaves me swooning every time.
Grahams 20 year old Tawny
I’ve also fallen back in love with Port unsurprisingly. We’d been on hiatus from each other after an unfortunate encounter at a University Dining Club in the early 1990s. But having found each other again, the relationship has found a solid footing. I adore vintage, but as there won’t be many around the table, I think I’ll go with Grahams 20 year old Tawny which we can enjoy over a few nights. Not only is it a great wine, but it also takes me back to one of my favourite day’s filming ever high above the Douro River when we ate Pizza out of an old fig drying oven and drank chilled Tawny with Charlotte and Rob Symington and Olga Martins and Jorge Moreira. It really was a day I’ll never forget. Everything you hope the wine world will be…full of laughter, friendship and warmth.
Clare Malec, Founder and Director of Island Media
A Bloody Mary with Sapling Vodka and Pickle House Spiced Tomato Mix
The mixture of spiciness and warmth from a really well made bloody mary is the perfect antidote to a bracing walk in the cold at this time of year. Keen to support innovative British businesses I have just discovered the two perfect ingredients – Sapling Vodka produced in London using local ingredients with very green credentials (they plant a tree for every bottle bought). Mix this with Suffolk produced Pickle House Spiced Tomato Mix, generous in its spiciness, and you are already well on the path to feeling the Christmas warmth and cheer.
Ashling Park Cuvée
Christmas is time also time for celebratory fizz and again I will be looking close to home for the right bottle. We have so many incredible wineries on our doorstep wherever we are in this country but one of my favourites is Ashling Park Cuvée from the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex. Their talented team won two of the top awards at this year’s Wine GB Awards and its not difficult to see why.
Anything South African!
Looking further afield 2020 has been the beginning of my love affair with South African wine. I feel I have only just started on my voyage of discovery, so have filled our wine rack with a mixture of reds and whites from a host of different producers. They present amazing value for money and the diversity of styles and flavours means that whatever we are eating, it is not difficult to find something interesting to pair with it.
Collette O’Leary, Winemaker at Henners Vineyard
Henners Brut NV
Of course! I may be biased but this is the perfect fizz for celebrations large and small this season. It’s the wine I will give friends and family, as well as enjoy myself.
Domaine Berthelemot Puligny-Montrachet
A treat for Christmas, ripe fruit, acidity and lovely oak balance gives it a delicious richness to match with food at Christmas.
Domaine Boutinot Le Six
For me this is a perfect all-rounder, soft, velvety Rhone blend, fruit driven and just so appealing.
A little extra…
And an espresso martini….because when is that ever a bad idea?!