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Christmas Wine Guilty Pleasures

Rockliffe Hall's Head Sommelier, Daniel Jonberger, shares his Christmas wine tips.  

It's that time of year again when we forgo our usual evening tipple for the more exuberant drink. The time when we are a little more daring while walking the wine aisles. I know I am!

For a great evening with friends and family, I always start with a white wine to get the conversation started and it is usually best for the first course as well.

My tip this year is:

Hugel, Pinot Gris, Tradition, Alsace, France, 2012

This is a wine to get your taste buds ready for the evening to come. Soft and with ripe notes of Apricot on the nose. The palate indulges in a velvety, almost juicy aromatic dance. It has a long finish when you discover that this wine is actually dry, but in a handsome way. Marvellous!

The first courses are cleared away and the company is relaxing before the main. This is the time when I usually try to surprise my guests with something unusual, but very drinkable:

Consolation, ‘Dog Strangler’ Mouverdre, Coume del Mas Roussillon, France, 2015

I do love this wine, in fact, the whole Vineyard’s production is exceptional.

The Mouverdre grapes are crushed into an open, new oak barrel. During six weeks of Maceration, it is heavily worked. It is big, bold and has amazing tannins that are ferocious, yet very velvety. A small touch of Violet and black pepper lingers with a large bunch of dark berries. Decant for 24hr before serving and this wine becomes more amazing and has a marvellous balance. 

If you can’t find this wine, try any 100% Mouverdre. It is a under stated grape to say the least.

Food is done and some poor soul is overloading the dishwasher while we all gather in the living room. The fire is crackling nicely and the comfortable smiles are everywhere.

Time for ‘conversation’ wine:

Locra, ‘Fantasia’, Cabernet Franc, Vista Flores, Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

This is such a beautiful wine and another grape that is not universally in the limelight. But do it right and you have something like this wine from Mauricio Lorca.

Perfume on the nose that leads to violet fruit and a silky, smooth mouthful. It does have some tannins, but only just. It is hidden within the sweet dark berries and velvet touches. Such a perfect ‘conversation’ wine!

Happy Christmas, and happy drinking!

(Always drink responsibly)