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