Add a touch of class to your wine this Christmas
Dec 23 2010 By Clive Platman
Wine expert Clive Platman looks at festive wines available at independent Midland outlets
Part of the festive fun is choosing the perfect set of wines to cover the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
I’ve been visiting Tanners in Shrewsbury, Connollys in Birmingham and Underwoods in Warwick, gauging the best offers for the coming season.
The best way to kick off any festive event is with a glass of bubbly. If expense is no problem, then the classic choice must be Champagne, but from a good producer. There are few better than Pol Roger (Connollys) and its Non-Vintage Reserve is the complete Champagne, intricately combining finesse, power and complexity. Gosset (Underwoods) also fall into the same bracket and its rich and creamy Grande Reserve is perfect for cold winter nights.
Such is the demand for these labels that, alas, they are never discounted. Neither is the bargain Tanners Brut Extra Reserve, but this comes with a more sympathetic sub-£20 price tag.
I’m also gradually being converted to the joys of Prosecco. At its best, it’s just light and frothy and the Fabio Ceschini version (Tanners) fits the bill perfectly. Better still is the Prosecco Zucchetto Puro Fol from Connollys, with delicious lemon flavours.
Crisp dry whites are often ideal as an aperitif on their own, or carrying straight on to a starter dish, be it vegetarian or white fish. At Underwoods, the South African Doolhof Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ticked the right boxes and Connollys impressed with the Turckheim Vieilles Vignes Sylvaner. An unfashionable workhorse grape from Alsace, this had classic flavours of new-mown hay. More versatile is the Gruner Veltliner by Wieninger, with smoky gunflint flavours.
With enough weight to combine superbly with turkey or pork, there’s no substitute for chardonnay, or more specifically, white Burgundy. At Tanners, one is spoilt for choice, so my recommendations are the Guillenot-Michel 2007 Macon-Villages, the Laurent Borgeot Santenay 2007, the Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru 2006, and the Moret-Nominee 2005 Meursault 1er Cru. Over at Underwoods, the Laforge Auxey-Duresses 2007 also caught my eye.