Riviera Reporter
Riviera Reporter

Wines for Christmas for cheer delight

Christmas wine

The season is upon us! Sun seeking bathers have abandoned the beaches to storm chasing surfers. The loungers are swapped for extra layers and ski kit. Gourmet salads are now just sides for more hearty fare and the obligatory glass of rosé stays in its bottle leaving the stage to the rest of the wine rainbow.

From a wine drinker's perspective, the lid is definitely off the tin of Quality Streets and all flavours are on the menu! Time to share, celebrate and just enjoy a year well spent, not to mention getting ready to kick off the next one in style.

At L’Emporium du Vin we’ve put together a few thoughts to help you get the most out of this wonderful time of year.

Top of the list of essentials is a good bottle of bubbly. Especially at this time of year, when your fizz can handle a bit more complexity and weight, nothing competes with Champagne. Hopefully your favourite house is one of ours and included in our festive offers. For value that’s hard to beat try something less well known, our house Fizz, Champagne Fourtin, has a bit of history. It’s blended for us by the team that made the own label Champagne for me when I was the Wine Buyer at Harvey Nichols. The blend is dominated by Pinot Meunier, about 60%, which brings a soft creamy character and red berry fruit. A judicious addition of Chardonnay adds nuttiness and a steely edge. Pinot Noir brings more berries and fuller flavour. The Meunier matures more quickly than both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, adding more complexity to a wine that still has beautifully fresh, clean creaminess to it too. It goes down very well.

What would the season be without far too much to eat? And this is when we work hardest finding wines to match – it’s a challenge we relish. I’ve highlighted a couple of crisp Sauvignon Blancs, particularly good with the plethora of oysters and other delights in shells that abound.

Pezat is a stylish twist on the traditional. From vines grown just outside the boundaries of St Emilion, it is a new offering from Jonathan Maltus, the brains behind the world-conquering Le Dome and the rest of the global Château Teyssier stable. Vinified to produce an immediately recognisable and appealing style, pull the cork and enjoy the crisp Sauvignon character.

From the other side of the globe we’ve rekindled relations with another old friend – Kevin Judd of Greywacke Vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand. Kevin was the winemaker that put Cloudy Bay on the map and quite simply his Greywacke is the best New Zealand Sauvignon I have ever tasted. The wine marries the expected spectrum of fruit with some impressive minerality, terroir indeed! The signature is incredible purity, length of focus and perfect balance. We like it.

For a pair of reds, I’ve pulled our favourite local and a comparable import. The Triennes estate just by Brignoles was revamped by two great men of Burgundy, Jacques Seysses and Aubert de Villaine of Domaine Dujac and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti respectively. They have lent their considerable talents to developing the vineyards and tweaking the winemaking. The Cuvée St Auguste is their top red and blended from the best vats of Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot. Oak aged in barrels seasoned at Domaine Dujac, the wine is an intense expression of the power and subtlety that can be found in our local vineyards. We’ve been lucky enough to secure a stock of 2009 in magnums, wonderfully aged and in the perfect sized bottle, does it get better?

Clonakilla was established in the hills just outside Canberra by a wine-loving Irish scientist, John Kirk. Their Hilltops Shiraz comes from fruit grown near Young. Rich deep black fruit thrive but perhaps from a more restrained, refined side of winemaking Down Under.

And all that is just to get the ball rolling, we have sweet wines for foie gras, Roquefort and puddings, ports for your Stilton, Bourgogne for your boeuf, Claret for your lamb, Puligny for your veal, salmon or lobster and many, many more which we would be happy to share.

Contact us on 04 93 49 27 01 or visit www.emporiumduvin.com. We look forward to helping make this your favourite time of year too.

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