christmas wine
Features 16 December 2021

Which Christmas wines are the experts opening?

We all deserve to celebrate this Christmas with a bottle of something special. We asked wine experts, buyers, and sommeliers to name the festive wines they're lining up for the big day

Words by Louella Berryman

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The festive period has truly arrived and with it, plenty of occasions to crack open a bottle of something special. Raising a glass with loved ones feels like something we all need this Christmas. With this in mind, we asked eight wine experts to pluck out one wine that’s set to impress guests.

We’ve gathered recommendations from sommeliers, wine buyers, restaurant and shop owners, wine writers and IWSC judges for wines to pour out and share on the big day. In our list you’ll find the perfect Pinot Noir to pair with your turkey, great value Burgundy, luxurious fizz and even an extra-special bottle of Madeira for cheese and mince pies.

christmas wines
Set your Christmas table with a Pinot Noir perfectly-paired with the turkey centrepiece

Whether you’re planning a small soirée or a big family bash, these top wines are fit for the season and are to be enjoyed with plenty of festive cheer.

Eight festive wines to crack open this Christmas

DOMAINE SYLVAIN PATAILLE-BOURGOGNE ROUGE 2018

Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Bourgogne Rouge 2018

  • £17.50, The Wine Society
  • Freddy Bulmer, IWSC judge and buyer at The Wine Society

‘This will be one of my Christmas reds because it is one of the best value red Burgundies out there. It has bright, vibrant red-fruit character and mouth-watering freshness, making it perfect for Christmas lunch. The red fruit pairs perfectly with pigs in blankets and cranberry sauce, and the vibrant seam of acidity means it will cut through the turkey and roasties with no problem at all. I might even have two bottles…’

il borghetto montedesassi

Montedasassi, Il Borghetto 2016

  • £29, Peckham Cellars
  • Ben McVeigh, co-founder and sommelier at Peckham Cellars, London

‘This Christmas, I will be drinking this Montedasassi from Il Borghetto. It’s a single-vineyard Sangiovese from the Chianti Classico region. It is floral, elegant and very sophisticated, but with enough structure and weight to stand up to the many flavours of a roast dinner on Christmas Day. Perfectly balanced and delicious – we’ve got it on the wine list in the restaurant and bottle shop, and will be recommending it to anybody looking to try a new festive tipple.’

 

christmas wine jean marc sélèque solessence

Jean-Marc Sélèque, Solessence, Extra Brut NV

  • £36, Bubbleshop
  • Sandia Chang, sommelier and owner of Bubbleshop, London

‘Jean Marc is a rising star in the world of grower Champagnes, and this wine would be my top pick for Christmas. It’s the perfect Champagne to pair with festive food because it has just enough ripe fruit and is balanced with acidity – it’s like fresh snowdrops. It’s also a great wine to share with friends because it’s approachable yet surprising.’

christmas wine daylight upon magic chardonnay 2020 gutter and stars

Daylight Upon Magic Chardonnay, Gutter & Stars 2020

  • £27, Gutter & Stars
  • Roger Jones, retired Michelin Star Chef, wine writer and IWSC judge

‘I will be treating my family to a very special English still wine: Daylight Upon Magic Chardonnay 2020 from Gutter & Stars. This profound Chablis-like Chardonnay has the precision to go with the Pembroke lobster we will have as a starter. Made by Chris Wilson, with grapes sourced from the Missing Gate Vineyard in Essex’s sun-kissed Crouch Valley from young vines planted in 2018, this is an exceptional wine.’

christmas wine amorotti cerasulo d abruzzo

Amorotti Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2018

  • £25, Our Glass
  • Alexandra Price, general manager and sommelier at Bar Crispin, London

‘With all the indulgence that surrounds Christmas, I often find myself reaching for something a bit racier, with less tannins and most importantly, less alcohol. To pair with my Christmas lunch, I’ll be drinking Amorotti Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, which we currently have on the wine list at Bar Crispin, imported by Sager+Wine. It’s a slightly darker, more structured rosé, that is full of smoky, earthy, aromas, plus citrus and tons of red-berry fruit. There’s minerality and the perfect amount of zingy acidity. It’s a wine that would complement all aspects of your Christmas lunch without overpowering the food – and at only 12.5%…without overpowering oneself!’

d oliveiras malvazia 2000

D’Oliveiras Colheita Malvazia 2000

  • £72, Turville Valley Wines
  • Alistair Cooper MW, IWSC judge, wine educator, consultant and writer

‘I am partial to a mince pie or two, and one of my highlights is also the cheeseboard, at which I am often found grazing over the Christmas period. A wine that goes with both options (and is one of my favourite wines of all time) is Madeira. This Christmas I will be opening the beautiful d’Oliveiras Colheita Malvazia 2000. The nutty, toffee- and clove-infused aromas just scream ‘Christmas’ for me. The sweetness and acidity of the wine is the perfect foil for salty cheese and sweet mince pies, cleansing your palate and leaving an extraordinarily long finish with dried fruits and walnut richness. I can’t wait to dig in.’

Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes de Montgueux BdB Champagne

Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes de Montgueux Blanc de Blancs NV

  • £51.25, The Whisky Exchange
  • Mark Gurney, co-owner and director of Salon, Levan and Larry’s, London, and Holm, Somerset

If you’re looking for fizz, this is the one I’ll be cracking open. This Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes de Montgueux is an entry-level grower Champagne from a blend of 2017, 2016 and 2015 vintages, giving the wine a great energy and complexity. It’s really just an excellent fine wine with bubbles, complexity and a nice textural quality. This bottle pairs well with food, too – an important factor on a food-focused day.’

hattingley valley still pinot noir 2020

Hattingley Valley Pinot Noir 2020

‘This year, I will be sharing a very special red wine of which only 2000 bottles were made. Hattingley’s first ever still Pinot Noir is a perfect, turkey-with-all-the-trimmings wine. Light enough to keep you from falling asleep by the cheese course, it’s an elegant, beautifully balanced Pinot with notes of blackcurrant and cherry spice. Made in such a tricky year for the world, but with all that glorious lockdown sunshine, it feels fitting to choose this while toasting to better times.’

 

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