For winelovers, Christmas is a time when we look forward to drinking – and even sharing – a special bottle or two. This might be a classic wine with traditional fare or just something different we’ve wanted to try for a while. I asked some wine loving friends what they were looking forward to and they have kindly agreed to write a blog post for me.
Joe Coyle is Head of Sales for Liberty Wines Ireland, a wine importer with an impressive portfolio with great coverage of Italy, NZ and Australia in particular.
At Christmas I like to serve a mix of tried-and-tested favourites alongside new wines that have excited me through the year.
A firm favourite that I always go back to is the dangerously drinkable Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve. Charles Heidsieck is one of the most awarded Champagne houses, and it’s not hard to see why. With at least five years on the lees and 40% reserve wines in the blend, their flagship Brut Réserve is rich and complex.
The nose is characterised by complex pastry aromas, with an opulent combination of ripe apricot, mango and greengages, dried fruits, pistachio and almond. The palate begins with a silky-smooth sensation, developing into ripe fleshy apricot, melon and enticing plum pastry notes and delicate spice.
There is perfect balance of freshness and generosity. Plus, the story of Charles Heidsieck, the original Champagne Charlie, includes Atlantic crossings, American high society, Mississippi swamp jails, political intrigue and financial windfalls. It never fails to entertain!
This year, my most exciting discoveries have come from Portugal. Like Liberty Wines’ traditional stronghold in Italy, Portugal has dozens of native grape varieties to explore, from Alvarinho and Loureira in Vinho Verde through the Touriga Nacional based wines in the Douro and Dao to the intriguingly minerally white wines made from Enruzado in Dão.
The flavour profiles of these native grapes varieties are as diverse and exciting in Portugal as they are in Italy. Perhaps it is this affinity, or just a search for originality and diversity, that drew us to Portugal. I’ll be serving Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Douro Tinto 2015 with dinner this year, its juicy red berry notes and subtle vanilla making it the perfect match with Christmas turkey.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV: available at around €65 at O’Briens and independent wine merchants.
Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Douro Tinto 2015: available at around €19.99 at J.J. O’Driscoll Cork, Clontarf Wines. Wine Online
The full series of Wines at Xmas:
- Wines at Xmas #1 – Moscato d’Asti – Sam Logan of WinesDirect
- Wines at Xmas #2 – Champagne Pierre Moncuit – Jérémy Delannoy of SIYPS
- Wines at Xmas #3 – Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir – Carol Smaul of Gin & Griddle
- Wines at Xmas #4 – Ch Phelan Segur 2010 – Phil Green of Phil My Glass
- Wines at Xmas #5 – Charles Heidsieck & Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Douro Tinto – Joe Coyle of Liberty Wines
- Wines at Xmas #6 – Bellavista Franciacorta – Jean Smullen of Movies + Booze
- Wines at Xmas #7 – Antoniolo Gattarina & Pfalz Riesling – Jim Dunlop
- Wines at Xmas #8 – Maison Róisín Curley & Le Grappin – Mick O’Connell MW
- Wines at Xmas #9 – Finca Allende Rioja & Weingut Winter Rheinhessen ‘Kloppberg’ Riesling – Colly Murray of RetroVino
- Wines at Xmas #10 – Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva Rioja & Warre’s Otima 10 Tawny Port – Kerri Judge of Febvre Wines
- Wines at Xmas #11 – Elio Perrone Moscato d’Asti – James Hubbard
- Wines at Xmas #12 – Furlan Rose & Ca’Salina Giorgia -Julia Phillips of Just Perfect Wines
- Wines at Xmas #13 – Mas Coutelou – Alan March of A March in the Vines
- Wines at Xmas #14 – Gere Kopar 2002 – Richie Magnier of A Motley Cru
- Wines at Xmas #15 – Moment of Silence 2015 Blank Bottle & Emilien Château le Puy 2014 – Barbara Boyle MW of WineMason
- Wines at Xmas #16 – Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Saering 2014 & Castello di Fonterutoli Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2013 – Effi Tsournava of Maisons Marques et Domaines & effidrinkswine.com
- Wines at Xmas #17 – Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Pianrosso Brunello di Montalcino – Sorcha Holloway of Away With Wine