At this time of year, I’m asked for my Christmas wine recommendations. There are two ways to approach choosing wine for Christmas day.
Stick to the tried and traditional, or else, do your own riff from the standard hymn sheet.
My favourite Christmas is when we tear up the hymn sheet altogether.
One year, we drank mostly old vintages of German Riesling and had a great time searching for old bottles around town. (If you are in the UK, you can read it in this year’s Waitrose’s Food and Drink Christmas catalogue).
This rather nerdy level of drinking is easy when there are only two of you. But if you have a big gathering with varying degrees of wine-geek-tolerance then you want a case of something that everyone will “get”. Not too precious, then again, it must have enough sense of occasion.
With this in mind, and painfully aware of my tendency to go a bit over-the-top, when Wine Trust asked if I would like to pick my Christmas wine recommendations from their website, I chose a classic Oregon Pinot Noir and a sweet Italian sparkling.
The 2013 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir Willamette Valley could work for nearly everyone around the table. It is a classic Pinot Noir made by Domaine Drouhin, a Burgundian family, who realised Oregon’s potential back in 1960s and who became one of the pioneers of the style. It has good structure, good depth of red fruit but not too demanding, either. It is Burgundian in style but it doesn’t have the high highs of Burgundy, but neither does it have the low lows – in taste and cost. That’s a good thing for a big group.
The other wine is not a traditional Christmas wine, but it should be: 2015 G.D. Vajra Moscato d’Asti. It’s a gentle frizzante style of sweet wine with low alcohol (5.5% alc). Rose petals, stone fruits and icing sugar lightness. It’s not as woozy as Champagne and the sweetness makes it feel like a bit of a treat. In its home in Piedmont, it is traditionally served with fresh fruit but it could also be great with Christmas biscuits, gingerbread or, to continue the Italian theme, with a slice of panetonne.
As far as what I will do this year, I haven’t yet decided. But half the fun is in the choosing. And then, finally, to put the feet up and relax.
Christmas wine recommendations from Wine Trust 100
2013 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
Variety: Pinot Noir
Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Retailer: Wine Trust
Image Kolomon Moser