What Winemakers are Drinking this Christmas

Last week we shared our Christmas wine recommendations, but who knows best what to serve at the Christmas table, than those working on-the-ground in the vineyards, wineries and Chateaux? We spoke to some of our winemaking friends from around the world about what they will be drinking this festive season…

 

Victor Charcan – Bodegas Roda (Rioja, Spain)

I am the wine supplier for my family (I guess it goes with the job), and family is understood in a broad sense, so a lot of wines to open:

  • Champagne Pol Roger and Cava Gramona Imperial (I love the freshness and fruit of Pol Roger and I also find that Gramona makes some of the most outstanding, long living and complex sparkling wines in Spain);
  • Louro 2017, because I love the complexity, length, minerality and freshness of Valdeorras and Enate 234 Chardonnay on the White side (great Chardonnay from Spain);
  • Corimbo 2013 (3 Litre), I love big bottles for big family/friends meetings and the 2013 (despite not having an amazing reputation in Ribera del Duero) is fresh, young and persistent;
  • Cirsion 1999, the year of the frost, because I want to drink it with my father;
  • Roda 2002, terrible vintage, amazing wine;
  • Ridge Montebello and Bergström, because I love the purity and freshness of these two (the US can deliver amazing quality).

 

Odilon de Varine – Champagne Gosset (Champagne, France)

Christmas is a special moment with family and friends. Being fortunate enough to have a large family, I take the opportunity to open magnums, which are just the right size.

  • Apéritif with Gosset Blanc de Blancs Magnums,
  • Gosset Grand Rosé Magnum with shellfish
  • And then an old vintage on the main course, either 1998 or 2002.
  • Probably a Magnum of Meursault Genevrières 1979 Domaine Ballot-Millot with the cheese
  • For the dessert – Cognac Frapin 1991 if chocolate, just a natural pairing or Porto Quinta do Tedo 1994 if pudding or pie with fruits”

 

 

Emeline Borie – Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste (Pauillac, Bordeaux, France)

A very classic selection at Grand Puy Lacoste’s Christmas table this year:

  • Champagne Dom Ruinart 1998
  • Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 2003
  • Château Mouton Rothschild 2001
  • Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste 1978 (first vintage of my father at GPL! To celebrate the 40th anniversary!)
  • Château d’Yquem 1991

 

Olivier Bailly – Domaine Billaud Simon (Chablis, France)

A true Burgundian’s choice with not a Bordeaux in sight in Chablis this year:

  • Palmer Blanc de Blanc Champagne as the aperitf
  • Vin de Paille, Domaine Désiré Petit (Jura) with the foie gras.
  • Chablis 2017 Billaud Simon with the oysters.
  • Chablis Grand Cru Preuses 2010 Domaine Billaud Simon with the Walnut St Jacques.
  • Meursault 1er cru Charmes 2009 Domaine Faiveley with Chapon (rooster).
  • Gevrey 1er cru Lavaux St Jacques 2013 Faiveley and Savigny 1 er cru 1990 Bouchard Pere et fils with the cheeses.

 

Antoine Gimbert – Chateau Leoville Las Cases (St Julien, Bordeaux, France)

The celebrations start early on the evening of Christmas Eve. For me, Christmas is always a gathering at several distinct stages, and each one will correspond to a certain flight of bottles.

On the 24th in the evening it’s “All Bubbly Night”: a selection of various sparkling wines so my family can taste various styles:

  • Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2008
  • Dom Perignon 1995
  • Roederer Brut Premier NV (in Magnum)
  • Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée NV (in Magnum)
  • Besserat de Bellefon Cuvée des Moines Blanc de Blancs NV (in magnum)
  • Franciacorta Contadi Castaldi Saten 2011
  • Franciacorta Freccianera Brut 2011

For Christmas Day lunch time: with some champagne to clear our voices (one or two listed above, I don’t know which ones yet), followed by:

  • Ch Léoville Las Cases 1989
  • Clos du Marquis 2005
  • Chateau Simone 2011 (Palette)
  • Chateau Lynch Bages 2004
  • Chateau Nénin 2005
  • Louis Latour Chateau Corton Grancey 2010
  • Brunello di Montalcino Poggio Antico Altero 2008
  • Ambassadeur de Diego Mathier Pinot Noir 2005 (Valais)
  • Château de la Salade « Aguirre » 2015 (Pic St Loup)
  • Chateau de Meursault – Meursault Clos des Grands Charrons 2014
  • Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile 2009
  • Quinta do Castelinho Vintage Port 1997 (the perfect match with minced pies I have to admit!)

This selection is what I am going to prepare, though it may take us a full day to taste them all and Boxing Day to finish them. It all depends on what we are eating but the main goal is to enjoy and have fun.

 

Benoit Tarlant – Champagne Tarlant (Champagne, France)

Michel Chevré Clos de l’Ecotard 2016 Saumur (served with the oysters)

So basically, I’m a “people’s” drinker, which means, for the fun and pleasure, I will often drink wines from friends or good people I know. Clos de l’Ecotard is a new one for me, I only met the father and the son few times in Loire Valley. The father used to be the Chef de Culture from Thierry Germain. They asked me to do a grower exchange, which means we swap cases, so I’ll have fresh stuff directly from the winery.

Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rangen 2005, Alsace (served with the foie gras)

Here, I could have gone for German or Alsace Riesling, anything with a bit of residual sugar, but as I did replant Fromenteau (Pinot Gris) this year in my own vineyards, I wanted to get the Pinot Gris for its richness. Also I have many friends in Alsace, so I pick this one with confidence.

Clos Jaugueyron 2009 Margaux (served with the capon – rooster)

This is a kind of Bordeaux I like, very human, natural way, nicely made. No exhuberance, no bling. They are a great couple of winegrowers. I had one already some years ago, excited to try it again and to enjoy the evolution.

Tarlant Cuvée Louis 1990 House Champagne (served with the cheese)

Just because I like it! With an old Comté, or parmegiano, or truffled one!

That’s why we do a have a Reserve Familiale. :-))

Domaine Lesuffleur Pyrrhus 2016 (dessert and kids)

This is an apple fermentation, a super Cider, from 3 generations of Cider Makers. It has a wonderful purity, sweetness, without feeling sweet.

 

Jeroen Erens – Domäne Wachau (Dürnstein, Austria)

Aperitif: Elisabetta Abrami, Franciacorta D.O.C.G. Millesimato Blanc De Noir Extra Brut 2010
100% Pinot Noir, 50 months on the lees.

I really love Franciacorta, because it gives you some great value for money if you search hard enough. Also I love that the wines are so racy and full of character. This wine will have a lovely floral note with touches of fresh baked brioche but being a blanc de noir it will also have a lovely bouquet of red cherry’s and have a little bit more body. A great way to start the evening.

White wine: Domäne Wachau, Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Ried Achleiten 2016
Grüner Veltliner from one of the Wachau’s steepest and most distinguished single vineyards. Margaret Rand, just published a book “101 Wines to try before you die” and she recommended Achleiten as one of them. Achleiten will always show great minerality, and has some notes of dried herbs and tobacco on the nose with lingering citrus and peach in the background. It’s always concentrated and shows its true charm after a couple years in the bottle. It’s a great pairing with seafood, even from the grill.

Red wine: Ridge Vineyards, York Creek Petite Sirah 2000
We all have a wine that ignited the spark, that started the love of wine. For me this was a Ridge Montebello 1990, the one bottle that made me fall in love with wine. In my opinion Ridge is one of the top Terroir producers in the United States. Little wines from across the pond are so delicately made and or such a good reflection of the vineyards they grow in. I am a big fan of the Petite Sirah they make in Sonoma, an explosion of black berry’s, Dark cherry and a subtle hint of crushed black pepper. If you have the patience to wait more than 10 years these wines will richly reward you. They are the ideal companion to all the game dishes on your Christmas menu.

Sweet: Famille Laplace, Maydie 2014 (Madiran AOP Vin de Liqueur) 100% Tannat
This wine was a clever invention from François Laplace himself, being a fan of port wines he imagined that Tannat could be a real rival of the Portuguese Touriga Nacional grape. If you taste it blind you maybe think it’s a young vintage port, but every time I am stunned that this elegancy can be achieved with Tannat. Blackberry jam, a touch of dark chocolate and even some roasted walnuts. A strong wine who never tires or gives you an alcoholic feel. For me this is the ideal wine for everything chocolate but I can also give a stilton a run for it’s money.

 

Simon Batarseh – Domaine August Kessler (Rheingau, Germany)

Number one: A lot of Champagne (Agrapart & Fils) will be poured.

As our/my passion is Pinot Noir I will have some red Burgundy (Marquis d’Angerville/ Château Fuissé/ Méo-Camuzet) especialy for food pairing!

Christmas time is also perfect to open some rare sweet wines and not only for dessert (Rheingau/Mosel & Saar Auslesen/BA´s and TBA´s).

Also I will have friends coming over, also working in the wine industry, so I very excited to get surprised with some fantastic bottle of wines I am pretty sure!

 

Betrand Verduzier – Champagne Gosset (Champagne, France)

Apéritif with Gosset Grand Blanc de Blancs, clean and mineral, to prepare the palate; potentially with oysters

Château Bélingard Monbazillac with the foie gras

Chateau Cos d’Estournel 1992 & Château Angélus 1992 on the mains, a year that just tastes fine now.

Cognac Frapin, probably Millésime 1990 27 ans

Patrice Piveteau – Maitre de Chais Cognac Frapin

 

Florence Hereszytn Mazzini – Domaine Hereszytn Mazzini (Gevrey Chambertin, Burgundy, France)

We will do Christmas in Champagne, as my husband is from Champagne. We will drink Champagne for before/beginning of the meal. The family of my husband likes to taste different Champagnes (producers like Champagne Ponson, Champagne Yann Alexandre, Champagne Bergeronneau and famous grandes maisons).

Certainly, a white wine from Chablis (We like very much Domaine Nathalie and Gilles Fevre) or a white Burgundian wine from Domaine Michel Prunier at Auxey-Duresses.

For red wines, different options, wines from our Domaine or from Bordeaux or red wine from Domaine Gérard Thomas & Fille at Saint-Aubin.