The weather outside is frightful, but the wine is so delightful…It’s Christmas Time – that means copious amounts of eating and drinking, which in my world equates to numerous bottles of wine, good Christmas wine! The race is on. Christmas is not Christmas without a number of bottles of Christmas red wines.
In the past few months, I’ve taken my wine tasting to a whole new level (all in the name of research, I swear), and I’ve come across some real beauties when it comes to smooth red wines, which is by far my preferred wine type at any time of the year, but it’s particularly pertinent in cooler climes and at Christmas time.
Wine brings family together. Instead of worrying about family Christmas arguments, crack open a good bottle of red wine for Christmas and compare your tasting notes.
All I want from Santa this year is some exquisite Christmas wine! It’s not too late to get yours! Here are my top Christmas red wine picks!
California – in many ways it reminds me of home. A warm sunny Christmas with plenty of delicious Christmas red wine – it’s an image that evokes sweet memories of a New Zealand Christmas on the beach!
California Cabernet is particularly well known, and it’s the perfect red wine for Christmas, as it can stand up to the richest of foods, which tend to appear before you at Christmas time. These include, but aren’t limited to, strong hard cheeses, beef, goose and venison.
The great thing about Cabernet from California is it can be drunk young, which means you won’t have to break the bank looking for older more expensive vintages. Although, if possible, a little extra time left in the cellar will always reveal more distinctive elements of a wine’s character. And with your Christmas red wine, it’s also a good idea to look for a red wine where the tannins have had a bit of time to soften – this way they won’t overpower your meal.
Hess Select North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon
Vibrant red fruit with subtle cherry and raspberry aromas and flavours, this 2012 vintage has a hint of black pepper spice with anise, making it the perfect festive drink. Medium bodied, this soft red California wine is the perfect Christmas red wine.
Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs
All things spice, Ridge Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon nose of ripe blackberries, licorice, pepper and vanilla, arouses the senses and conjures up memorable pictures of Christmas dinner. Subtle tannins with notes of ripe fig and fragrant herbs, this Cabernet Sauvignon hailing from Lytton Springs, California is the perfect red wine for the Christmas table.
Bordeaux wine and Christmas are like a match made in wine-food heaven. Contrary to popular belief, Bordeaux wine prices aren’t always sky-high, which means that this eminent French wine has a lot o offer the Christmas dinner table.
Christmas food is typically fat heavy. Red meat, gravy and cheese that are characteristically served on Christmas Day help counteract the astringent nature of Bordeaux’s tannins. With noteworthy savoury flavours, Bordeaux wine can also help complement the variety of flavours on your plate. Bordeaux wine makes for the perfect Christmas red wine, as it’s got the right amount of richness not to be overpowered by any strong tasting foods on the Christmas dinner table.
Oak barrels are typically used when producing Bordeaux, which also lends the wine to appositely festive aromas – bring on the fruitcake and Christmas pudding!
Unlike the Christmas Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Bordeaux wines are better aged to avoid a too tannic tasting wine.
Chateau Cissac Haut-Medoc
This deep ruby red wine from Vialard tells an interesting story through its austere tannins. Masculine in its character, the Chateau Cissac Haut-Medoc has notes of dark ripened berries and plums, making this Bordeaux favourite a classic Christmas day wine.
Clos des Menuts Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
When it comes to Christmas wine from Bordeaux, Clos des Menut Saint-Emilion Grand Cru won’t disappoint from its classic gold and red wine bottle to the old mellow flavours with obvious hints of spicy fruits. A complex old wine with the vibrancy of a newer variety, there’s no denying that this Christmas vino will pair beautifully with your festive banquet.
Pinot Noir for Christmas Dinner
Pinot Noir is by far one of my favourite wine varieties, so I don’t need much of an excuse to indulge, but the fact that its sensuous fruity character is the perfect partner for succulent red meats and rich tasting sides is just an extra added bonus.
New World Pinot Noir matches beef beautifully, and low-medium tannin wines complement low-fat beef cuts like fillet.
Salmon is also a popular main course on the Christmas dinner table these days, and again it calls for a softer wine, making Pinot Noir the ideal wine match for Christmas dinner. This is especially true if the salmon is served with a creamy buttery sauce.
Christmas dinner for vegetarians can often be a nightmare, but wherever you dine, you’re bound to come across a Christmas nut roast. The nuttiness of the meal blends perfectly with the fruitiness of Pinot Noir, highlighting the cherry and plum undertones of the wine.
Archangel Pinot Noir
A beautiful tasting wine with an equivalently beautiful romantic story! Made with love and dedication, the team at Archangel Wines has discovered the perfect poise that defines this New Zealand Pinot Noir from Otago, New Zealand. The distinct aromas from ripened plums with notes of violet, spice and cedar oak are a fusion of complex touches and silky tannins – a Christmas Pinot Noir from New Zealand not to be missed!
Alana Estate Lumiere Pinot Noir
Plum, cherry, and cloves are the notes that make this youthful Pinot Noir wine so appealing. Beautifully balanced and silky, Alana Estate Lumiere Pinot Noir is a wine that delivers the right amount of fruitiness, making it a must-try Pinot for Christmas – you’ll adulate the oxymoronic subtle complexity of it.
Merry Christmas from Couture & Vines
PS. Don’t forget to try some of those deliciously festive wine cocktails as well! Eat, drink and be merry, very merry!