I can hardly believe it - not only is December upon us but the Big Day is almost here. If you're still looking for inspiration for a gift, or yourself, here (and back by popular demand) are our VG team picks.
So here we go – Christmas lists from some of the VG team, Jake, Rox & John and this year, we're even name dropping our favourite festive tunes. Sit back and enjoy and maybe get a little inspiration for what you’d like to be drinking over the next week or so. Maybe Santa will be reading too (or may even call into the shop or visit us online on your behalf)…
My second pick is something to go with the cheese board so Fonseca Guimereans Port is my choice, a perfect match for the blue and mature cheese.
Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) by The Darkness. Why? Because it's a real catchy rocker from a Suffolk band!
Look, I’m a fan of port all year round, but only really sell any of it throughout the festive period. So, this is my way of joining the festivities…
Fonseca Quinta Do Panascal is proof that vintage port is properly under-priced. From one of my favourite producers, in a great (under the radar) vintage, this is this cracker perfect for after your Christmas dinner. Despite its age, there are lovely soft fruits of cherries and plum, all backed up by a medley of Christmas spices, black tea, espresso and fig. A delicious, heady dessert itself, but superb with cheese. Stilton, obviously.
On Boxing Day, I will likely see quite a lot of family who will unquestionably expect me to have sorted the fizz for the occasion. I love my family, but I’ll be buggered if they’re mixing good champagne with orange juice. So, a perfect posh alternative is this Maison Jaffelin Crémant De Bourgogne from a little further south – a Blanc de Blancs style made of cracking chardonnay from the Macon. It has the class and complexity of champers, but at a more quaffable, non-heart attack inducing budget (assuming I made it past the cheese course without cardiac distress the day before, of course).
What's on your Christmas playlist Jake?
(Note from Rox - Jake won't tell me but I caught him playing Walking In The Air recently - not for him the Aled Jones version though, his version is by Smerin's Anti-Social Club.)
My first drink on Christmas Day is always a glass of fizz and I make no apology whatsoever for mentioning Devaux again. If you don't know it, it's a fabulous grower champagne house which had three generations of Devaux women (The Champagne Widows) at the helm for many years from the mid 1800’s until the 1950’s. We stock several of their delicious range but my pick is Devaux Cuvée D. Made solely from chardonnay and pinot noir (pinot meunier, the third grape often used in champagne, isn’t grown at Devaux due to its location), the Cuvee D is aged for at least five years. It’s non-vintage so 40% of the blend comes from reserve wines and a quarter of that comes from two soleras which have been going since 1995 and 2002. The result is a really delicious champagne that’s right up my street.
I 100% second Jake's crémant as a brilliiant and cheaper alternative though and it's what I'd pour for any group celebration.
Finally, and just in case anyone is worried that I've lost my love for Rathfinny (I most definitely haven't) - a glass or two of Rathfinny Classic Cuvée is bound to bring you joy any time over the festive period and is a great pick for New Years Eve.
What's on your Christmas playlist Rox?
I'm currently loving Hannah Waddingham's version of The Man With The Bag or for something a bit more traditional it would have to be Gregory Porter's Little Drummer Boy, pa-rum-pum-pum-pum...
A small disclaimer – we’re lucky enough to taste some amazing wines in the course of choosinng new juice for the shop so those on our list are some of our favourites right now and which we think lend themselves particularly well to the festivities. Some of what we’ve picked is undoubtedly at the more indulgent end of the scale, it is Christmas after all. We’ve all got plenty of favourites at the lower end of the £ spend though if you'd like other options.