Come on guys, we are finally free (almost). This year we will celebrate! We will go out, we will gather in houses with friends and loved ones, we will travel, we will live it, bro. Festive mood without wine is simply non-doable so this year I chose the 10 most suitable wines to accompany you at this holly jolly season. Let’s see them together!
Festive gatherings without bubbles do not exist, everyone knows that! So, this year, while you are nibbling on the first appetizers or more specifically the first canapés and finger food, put in your glasses Amalia Brut, a sparkling Moschofilero, made with second fermentation in the bottle. Its lemony, floral and biscuit aromas will go perfectly with a canape with cream cheese, dill and salmon or with some prosciutto rolls with arugula and green apple and bruschettas with gratinated chevre.
That Sauvignon from Droumo single vineyard is an absolutely festive wine. It has rich fruit, lemony acidity from the high altitude and complex, oily character from the five-month stay with its fine wine lees. It is a gastronomic wine for Sauvignon lovers, with infinite possibilities for combination with food. It is, for example, the best match for the tarts that we serve at the beginning such as quiche with broccoli and blue cheese, quiche with leek and bacon or mini-tarts with smoked trout and mascarpone.
Is Christmas without Riesling possible? Definitely not. And for this reason, I have chosen one of my favorites and recently arrived, the Wachenheimer Belz! I have said before that Ernie is a very fine gentleman who loves us and ages his Rieslings for us, to get them ready and epic. This is how a Riesling of 2014 vintage arrived in our glasses today, from a top vineyard, to uniquely accompany all the festive evenings. Throw a pork belly in the oven over a bed of apples, oranges and onions and put this top Riesling next to it. You don’t like pork belly? No problem! Roast a pork leg with the skin on until it gets crispy, serve it with a spicy, wholegrain mustard and drive everyone crazy.
Some Chardonnay for the festivities? Off course! And not a simple Chardonnay but Albert Bichot's Pouilly Fuisse. The small percentage of aging in oak barrels (30%, for 8 months) comes and emphasizes the oily, honeyed and nutty character of Chardonnay, while the almost tropical fruit gives another dimension to the set. Pouilly Fuisse Albert Bichot is a very affordable and expressive version of Burgundy, not only in terms of price but also because it is ready to be enjoyed now and several years later, too. If you enjoy it now, during the holidays, pair it with a stuffed turkey with chestnuts, bacon and pine nuts or, why not, with a pork stew with lemon and celeriac puree (the modern version of prasoselino).
Somewhere I see a slow-braised wild boar with plums… Yes, it's wild boar season for so you should make sure you get a bottle of Moschopolis 18, juicy and spicy, with dense fruit and velvety tannins that will take off the dish. Well, if you don’t find some wild boar, I will give you an alternative for this super-wine that cannot be missing from your celebrations (hands down). Take a nice piece of beef, fillet or rib-eye, whole, put it in the oven and make a new age roast beef with red wine and five spices. Epic!
This year let's try something different, let’s say a Negroamaro from Crete, with exuberant black fruit, purple flowers, ink, vanilla, cedar and black pepper. I am very sure that it will go perfectly with many meaty festive dishes because great wines, which have a lot to say, can stand alone or with company, gracefully. Ideally, pair it with herb-crusted rack of lamb and baby potatoes, if you like the most creative dishes, or with a roasted lamb leg, with garlic, butter, lemon and rosemary. Alternatively, I would suggest oven-baked pork glazed with petimezi and dried fruits.
Spicy, complex and rich, this Agiorgitiko is an anthem of the variety. It will go perfectly with rich minced meat pies, lasagna, stuffed pork crown but also with all these cheese and cold cuts that will appear on all the tables. Also, if you like these days to gather for sinful BBQs (we do it all year round, what could possibly stop us from doing it on holidays?) then this wine is perfect for buffalo steaks, Iberico pork sausages, ribs, etc.
You have probably understood by now that your Wine Geek has weaknesses and one of these is Pinot Noir and this one simply rocks as it manages to combine the rich fruit of the new world with the elegance of Burgundy. Ideal for a Wellington beef or simpler beef fillets with mushroom sauce and potato puree.
Every time I try this wine I am impressed. It has a bold Xinomavro personality but it also has a fine character. It is tomatoey but also fruity and floral. If you love lamb but you want to make it more festive then I suggest you make a roll with gruyere, sun-dried tomato and garlic and roast it in the oven. Alternatively, make some veal spareribs with red wine, rosemary and mushrooms accompanied by mashed potatoes with truffles.
And we close sweetly with a semi-sweet and super balanced Torrontes! Torrontes is an intensely aromatic, white variety from Argentina! It combines tropical and stone fruits with florality and high acidity. That's why the Amauta Torrontes Dulce El Porvenir de Cafayate is so balanced and delicious. Pandoro with lemon, lemon tart, orange pie and millefeuille with passion fruit will be simply amazing with this wine.