There is no greater pleasure at Christmas than getting together with family and friends and indulging in some traditional seasonal fare and other culinary delights. Liebherr Master Sommelier Frank Kämmer reveals which wines he will be opening this year.
Rosé Champagne – The Fantastic All-Rounder
Oh, champagne, a premium sparkling wine from a region to the north-east of Paris!
In countries like Germany, it is savoured at New Year’s Eve parties. In other places such as England, champagne is frequently reached for to toast Christmas itself. Be it to set the mood on Christmas Eve, to get things rolling for a Christmas Day brunch, or as an aperitif before Christmas dinner with our families, a bottle of champagne adds wonderful sparkle to every occasion.
Rosé champagne is always popular and well suited for Christmas. The pretty colour and slightly fruitier taste perhaps reflect the festive spirit a little more than white champagne. And never underestimate the virtues of rosé champagne as an accompaniment to food at your seasonal dinner parties. It is easy to get stuck in the rut of only enjoying it as a pre-meal aperitif, yet the slightly more full-bodied rosé varieties deliciously compliment a wide range of dishes. Amazingly versatile and well balanced, rosé champagne works fabulously with almost any dish (except for sweet desserts)!
Burgundy For Goose
For some of us, it is only when the wondrous aroma of a crispy goose wafts out of the kitchen on a cold and (hopefully) snowy Christmas Day that our holiday is truly perfected. Well, for wine lovers, this pleasure is only fully complete when a perfect wine has been selected to be enjoyed with the goose. Although you might instinctively opt for a particularly fine red wine for the Christmas table, a wine with more rural heartiness actually goes better with a sumptuous, well-seasoned, winter goose.
For instance, the slightly fruitier, more rustic Pinot Noirs from the Burgundy region are an ideal choice. Typical examples would be a wine from Santenay or Maranges. These winegrowing communities are in the south of the Côte de Beaune and are famous for their succulent, medium-full bodied red wines with a delicately aromatic rural character. Fans of Italian wine will find similar traits in a Barbera d’Alba from Piemont. Do note that these types of red wine are ideally served at 16-17°C, slightly cooler than the usual room temperature.
Port And Mince Pies
Enjoying a glass of port with your mince pies or Christmas biscuits is one of the best traditions of the year. However, few people realise the true diversity and quality of this variety of wine. Whereas cheaper ports have a simple, sweet and alcoholic flavour, higher quality ports can offer a fascinating blend of fruitiness, complexity, and rich character. The finest ports available are the Vintage Ports (VP), which are only produced in particularly good vintage years and can easily reach the same price and quality as fine Bordeaux wines.
However, a brief word of advice: Late Bottled Vintage Port (often abbreviated to LBV Port) is the well-kept secret of connoisseurs. Regarded as the ‘little brother’ of genuine Vintage Ports, it can also offer remarkable fruitiness and finesse. And as it is far cheaper than VP, it represents great value for money. Stylishly decanted into a carafe and served in little, tulip-shaped glasses, there can be few better drinks to enjoy with mince pies, biscuits, stollen and the like as you unwind on Christmas Eve!
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