Christmas is now almost two weeks away! Buckle up, it’s time for our fully loaded Christmas Drinks Guide 2017 – featuring beautiful wines, sparkling wines and spirits! For the blockbusting dinner table drinks, drinks for toasting or just drinks to enjoy, all you need is here. Merry Christmas!
Hattingley Valley 2011 Blanc De Blancs
Hattingley Valley Sparkling Wine is a superb example of an English sparkling wine with elegance, refinement and class. In fact, in 2017, they won gold at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine championships for their Blanc de Blancs. But that’s not all, Hattingley Valley is also the sparkling wine of choice for Aqua’s afternoon teas at The Shard. These superb sparkling wines stand up to most Champagnes and Prosecco very well indeed.
The 2011 vintage is created from the very best parcels of Chardonnay and is an emphatic example of how beautiful English sparkling wine can be. This particular vintage was helped by record breaking temperatures in October (harvest season), which leant the fruit a stunning ripeness. Vibrant, with a perfectly balanced sugar to acidity ratio, you can see why it has been lavished with awards. We also loved the hint of oak too, giving this sparkling wine a really unique twist.
Find out more about this superb offering here.
Bullards Norwich Dry Gin (31Dover.com, £37.95)
Bullards Norwich Dry Gin was voted the ‘Best London Dry Gin in the World’ by the World Gin Awards 2017, and for very good reason. Clean, beautifully balanced and crisp, this is how gins should be made. One element that separates it from the contenders is the subtle aroma of Tonka beans, which works in tandem with the other nine botanicals for a truly unique flavour. As big fans of Tonka beans, the mellow vanilla and marzipan it adds to the London Dry gin style is inspired. For us, as it’s such a splendid gin, this has to be enjoyed as a G & T or over ice, no frills – just beautiful flavours. Try an orange peel to garnish, which in turn should pin point the citrus that runs throughout.
Did you know? Bullards Gin is distilled and bottled in the heart of Norwich, Bullards Norwich Dry Gin is currently the only Gin Distillery to be found within the county of Norfolk.
Buy yours from 31Dover today.
Kopke Colheita Port 1999
If you are a port fan, then this is the ticket for you – you will not be disappointed. Kopke Colheita Port 1999 coincides with a very special year for Portugal; it was they year the country and 10 other EU countries adopted the Euro. But that’s not all of the history here, the wine-making process is also one crafted over time and each drop oozes traditional port flavour. The process includes the halting of fermentation by adding the grape brandy, the blending of different wines and the ageing of the resulting wine. This process is designed to accrue the correct amount of sweetness (baumé) and the ageing process then adds another element, oakiness.
Did you know? A Colheita wine matures in oak barrels for periods of time that can vary, but never less than 7 years.
A deep, vivid, rich red colour, with a fruity aroma full of red fruit notes. There is also a hint of nuttiness and caramel. Smooth, well balanced and with an intense finish, this is a superb example of the finest port. Ideal for sweet desserts and best served between 12 and 14°C.
Available from Waitrose.
Kopke Colheita Port 2003
The second of our Kopke Colheitas in the guide, the 2003 is deep red with a tawny coloured rim. Each grape is picked at the optimum time, destemmed, crushed and converted into wine by careful maceration. The colour, tannings and aromas are all then enhanced by a detailed fermentation process between 28-30°C. With the 2003 there is a pleasant spiciness and bouquet of dried fruits, giving a slightly different character to the 1999.
It is recommended that this is served slightly chilled to accompany caramel desserts or cheese.
Available from Majestic.
Corney & Barrow Own Label selection wines
Corney & Barrow’s Own Label selection of wines makes picking the perfect Christmas wine a doddle this year. Crafted and created in collaboration with some of the world’s premier wine makers, the range aims to provide superb wines to represent each style or region, yet at a reasonable price. That’s not to say these wines are anything less than luxurious, in fact, the trio we tried each showed exemplary finesse and premium quality.
C&B Pomerol Ets J-P Moueix 2014 (£19.95)
A Christmas treat, the Moueix family have unrivaled Pomerol knowledge and they know exactly how to create a complex, well-balanced and rich Merlot blend.
Did you know? This Pomerol is a blend of some second wines from the top properties in the region, most of which are on the famous clay/ gravel plateau. To this dramatic base are added more modest but very accessible, generous base wines. The result is a supple and beautifully balanced red, at its best with food.
C&B Claret Maison Sichel 2012 (Halves, £5.85)
A delicious half bottle, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this claret combines all of the delights of Bordeaux. We found this to be a perfect match for venison!
C&B Sauternes, Maison Sichel 2012 Halves (£13.25)
Supremely sweet, this is a treat to conclude the finest Christmas feasts of the season. Golden in colour, this offering is indulgent, to say the least. Sauternes is crafted from Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes, that have been exposed to “noble rot”, known scientifically as Botrytis cinerea. The noble rot concentrates the sweet flavours, giving us the delicious Sauternes we know and love. This is the ideal end to any meal, with the sweet, almost honey flavours, work with an underlying acidity for freshness.
Take the headache out of this year’s festive season by stocking up on the Corney & Barrow 12 Wines Of Christmas (available individually or as a mixed case). Find out more here.
Edinburgh Cannonball (70cl, 57.2%, £39.45)
A perfect gin for the Christmas season, Edinburgh Gin Cannonball Navy Strength gin will tickle the taste buds and warm the cockles too. Created with a punch, Edinburgh Cannonball gin is 57.2% ABV, giving it a little extra oomph.
Inspired by Edinburgh’s naval heritage, in particular the world-famous One O’clock Gun, this gin might just blow your socks off, but with superb style. However, thanks to an exciting range of botanicals, including double juniper, lemon peel and Szechuan pepper, this is also an adventure for the palate too. Surprisingly smooth and aromatic, this is a gin to get people talking (and dancing) around the Christmas tree. The juniper is intense, which we adored and it worked wonderfully well with the spiciness of the Szechuan too. Thanks to the lemon peel and orange, the balance is brought to the party by a citrusy profile. We loved this as a Gin & Tonic, but Edinburgh Gin’s website provides some classic cocktails, if you are looking for something with a little more glamour.
Visit the Edinburgh Gin website to find out more and to read about their superb range.
Ombra Di Pantera (£28)
Ombra Di Pantera, Prosecco Superiore Brut Millesimato DOCG, embodies all of the beautiful things that has made Prosecco one of the world’s biggest sparkling wines. Luxurious, vibrant, light and aromatic, Ombra Di Pantera is the height of Italian opulence.
Did you know? The origins of Ombra Di Pantera come from ‘Ombra de Vin’, meaning ‘Wine’s Shadow’, which is a term that originates from antiquity when traders who served wine in Venice’s Piazza San Marco would follow the shadow of the Campanile to prevent their wine from getting warm. Pantera, the spirit of the panther, embodies the seductive style and understated elegance of Italian luxury.
The vineyard for this stunning Prosecco is in the idyllican Conegliano and is crafted from the finest Glera grapes. The result is a vibrant Prosecco with a fruity aroma and great balance. Pure, elegant and refined… You have to try this for yourself.
Ombra Di Pantera can be purchased at £28 per bottle at http://www.ombradipantera.com/and is available at some of London’s most high-end venues including Caviar & Prunier, Novikov and Jak’s.
Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur (70cl, 40%, £29.95)
From Lesley Gracie, the create of Hendrick’s Gin, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur offers a taste of Sicilian sunshine this Christmas.
The liqueur has been produced from the very finest, hand-picked Sanguinello blood oranges hand-picked from orchards in Sicily. In fact, Solerno is made exclusively on the island from the ripest blood oranges grown on Mt. Etna. Once picked, the oranges are then taken to the Agrumeria Corleone family, who have been extracting the key natural oils since the mid 1800s.
The blood orange gives the liqueur a fruity depth of flavour that hits you with a cosy, comforting kiss. Plus, all of the freshness from the orchards has been kept intact and captured in every drop. Enjoyable on its own or mixed with sparkling wine, this is a very welcome addition to anyone’s Christmas drinks cabinet.
Available from the MasterOfMalt.
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