Chriiiistmas time, mistletoe and WINE
Christmas wine pairing: what do three South West wine buffs suggest we uncork on Christmas day?
Wine merchants Averys of Bristol has been plying its trade (and over 1,000 wines) from cellars that tunnel under Park Street for 225 years, with Mimi Avery, the fifth generation of Averys now running the show with a warmth, enthusiasm and knowledge you won’t find in an off-licence.
The brainchild of award-winning wine journo Ben Franks and Hungarian wine importer Gyorgy Zsiga, Bath-based Novel Wines showcases unique and wonderful new wines, from small producers and community co-operatives from around the world (often from places not previously known for their wine).
With over 30 years in the wine trade, Paddy Magill, owner of Vine Wine, deep in the Somerset countryside near Taunton, knows his onions, or rather, his grapes. His philosophy? Good honest wines at good honest prices and a constantly updated wine list.
So what do these wine buffs suggest we uncork this Christmas?
Mimi Avery of Averys of Bristol: Averys Special Cuvee Brut Champagne – if you can’t splash out at Christmas when can you? It’s even down from £28.99 to £22.99.
Ben Franks of Novel Wines: Aldwick Jubilate Blanc de Noirs 2015, a dry sparkling pinot noir white wine, with creamy mousse and hints of brioche, from Somerset’s largest vineyard. £26.99
Paddy Magill of Vine Wine: NV Blanquette de Limoux ‘Le Moulin’, Domaine J Laurens, France, made using the same ‘methode champenoise’ as Champagne (and said to date back even earlier). £14.85
WITH SMOKED SALMON
Mimi: Averys Selection Alsace 2017 – the delicate floral, citrus and white peach, with a hint of sweetness, complements the richness of the smoked salmon. £11.99
Ben: Double Gold award-winning Painted Wolf Paarl Roussanne 2014 from Paarl, South Africa. Refreshing with citrus, white peach and cream. £15.99
Paddy: Picpoul de Pinet, Baron de Badassiere, Languedoc, France. 100% Picpoul is the grape and in French it literally means ‘lip stinger’, but this wine is far from that. A beautifully structured wine with excellent upfront fruit and great length. £9.75
Mimi: Averys Fine Red Burgundy 2016 – a lovely soft juicy burgundy with raspberry notes and savoury hints will balance well with the dark meat and savoury trimmings; Averys Fine White Burgundy 2015– an elegant delicate chardonnay, imperceptible oak – a delicious classy white, brilliant for white meat and the sweeter condiments. £17.99
Ben: A dry white, Bolney Estate Lychgate White 2017 from Sussex, England. A fruit salad of mouth-watering grapefruit, lime, lychee and elderflower over a body of green pepper, orchard apple and fresh apricot notes pairs perfectly with a roasted bird. £15.49
Paddy: Sauvignon de Touriane 2017, Domaine Joel Delaunay, Loire, France. Sauvignon is in vogue at the moment and this wine shows you why. The upfront fruit is classic Sauvignon but in a restrained manner – ideal with turkey and all the trimmings. £10.50
Mimi: Averys Fine Claret 2015 – lovely creamy oak enveloping a lovely Cassis and cherry-flavoured wine that will complement the beef and its rich jus. £10.99
Ben: Budureasca Premium Feteasca Neagra 2015, Dealu Mare, Romania. Full-bodied and deep red with a mixture of dark berries and spice flavours, and velvety finish. £12.99 down to £11.69
Paddy: Malbec, Showdown ‘The Bird’ 2017, California, USA. Malbec is normally associated with Argentina but this comes from the US and is a perfect partner for beef in any form. Luscious on the palate, with extraordinary breadth and length. £8.50
WITH VEGGIE DISHES
Mimi: Castaño wines from Spain, the whole range is vegan and two are organic wines – the Ecologico. From £8.99
Ben: Sabar Rhein Riesling Leszner 2017, Badacsony, Hungary. Mediterranean citrus (think orange, grapefruit and lime), peach and rosemary. Powerfully mouth-watering and fulfilling with plenty of body and a long finish. £14.99
Paddy: From the home of Barolo in Piendmont in North-West Italy, this Gavi , ‘La Battistina’ 2017 is made from the Cortese grape. The taste is bang in-between Sauvignon and Chardonnay with a subtle ‘honeyed’ twist at the back of the palate. Suitable for all vegetarians and vegans. £11
Mimi: Chateau Du Hayot half-bottle 2012 – a lovely Luscious Sauternes sweet wine with lovely grapey notes perfect for fruit and treacle tarts. You might want something richer if you are having brandy butter and Christmas pud. £11.99
Ben: Nveo Kardos Tundermese ‘Fairytale’ Tokaji 2017, Tokaj, Hungary. Everyone’s favourite dessert wine. Fresh acidity, honey, melon, quince and pear flavours create a sweet wine that’s luscious but never cloying. Match made in heaven with crème brulee. £14.99
Paddy : ‘Le Muscat’ 2017, Domaine L’Ermitage, Costieres de Nimes, Rhone, France. A gorgeous way to end Christmas lunch or dinner. With a 100% Muscat grape it’s not too cloying but still has the sweetness. £10.25
HOW TO BUY
Averys of Bristol
9 Culver Street, Bristol BS1 5LD. Tel: Bristol cellars: 0117 921 4146; Customer Services: 03330 148208; Wine advisors: 03330 148210. You can order online or pop into their store in central Bristol (there’s parking right outside).
Bath-based Novel Wines is online only. Tel: 01225 667311.
You can see the full wine list online and at email@example.com or call on 07768 795 904.