From warming up your vocal chords for Christmas Eve caroling, to sinking into recovery mode once the dust settles on Christmas Day… the experts at Laithwaite’s have created an around-the-clock festive wine guide.
With its festive red berry flavours and modest 12.5% alcohol, Il Papavero is ideal for mulled wine. Supple, fruity and full of character this Italian favourite offers outstanding value, and pairs excellently with everything from ‘Jingle Bells’ to ‘Silent Night’.
To wow your guests at the Christmas Eve get-together, only French Champagne will do. Comtesse de Bellefleur, half-price from Laithwaite’s this Christmas, originates in the Bauchet family estate at the heart of Champagne. The family monitor every stage of the process, from bud to bottle, ensuring elegant structure and long, lively finish every time.
When it comes to the main event on Christmas day, the cook will require something light and refreshing to sip whilst basting the turkey and peeling the potatoes. Ca’ Bolani Frizzante has been our bestselling Prosecco for five Christmases running and its uplifting fizz, less intense than champagne, is sure to keep Chef content.
When it comes to serving up the turkey, most people go for Rioja or Bordeaux – in fact, these are not a natural fit. Our Buyers recommend a Chateauneuf or a Burgundy. If you want to really get people talking on Christmas Day, though, go Aussie with the spicy black fruit of a McPherson’s Sparkling Red.
If goose is on the menu, stronger and fattier than turkey, choose a red that’s lively with a bit of natural acid to cut through all that richness. Go for a punchy Italian – the cherry scented Villa dei Ladri is our pick.
Deer, too, is becoming an increasingly popular alternative on Christmas Day, and the rich meat does work extremely well with a velvet-smooth Rioja. The UK’s number 1 is Gómez Cruzado, a taste of Rioja perfection discovered by our very own Beth Willard.
Meanwhile, Brussel sprouts contain chemicals which can sometimes make wine taste metallic. We recommend pairing with the grassy fresh, citrusy aromas of a Gooseberry Bush white blend.
When the main course is over, port is the tradition when it comes to Christmas pudding. Really, though, you need something even sweeter, stickier and spicier – end Christmas lunch with a bang by serving the off-the-charts, black-as-night Pedro Ximénez.
When it comes to the Queen’s Speech, it has to be English Sparkling Wine. From a tiny two-hectare estate, the Wyfold Vineyard Sparkling Wine won ‘Best English Sparkling Wine’ last year and was planted by Barbara Laithwaite herself. Sit back and enjoy its fine bubbles and toasty apricot length.
Widely considered to be the best Christmas movie of all time, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, with its saccharine sentiment and snowy scenes, needs an equally sweet icewine. Made from frozen grapes pressed at -10C to extract intensely concentrated juice, the award-winning Canadian Pillitteri Estates Vidal Icewine is the perfect accompaniment to the Jimmy Stewart classic.
For ‘The Great Escape’, a wine with military heritage is the perfect accompaniment. Cabalié, from the South of France, was crafted to recreate the reds that Roman legions of old would have enjoyed. As smooth as Steve McQueen and our most re-ordered red, the deep berry flavour of this wine really is powerful stuff.
And once it’s all over, we recommend sitting back with Italian ‘meditation wine’, La Tirela Amarone Classico. A rich, oak-aged red with hints of almond, cherry jam, spices and tobacco, this wine is perfect to sip by the fireside as you look ahead to the New Year.