A few suggestions for holiday wines

  • Paired up: Nicolas Feuillatte, the most asked-for champagne in French wine stores, supermarkets and restaurants, is available at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Able to accompany everything, it’s the perfect Christmas drink

    Paired up: Nicolas Feuillatte, the most asked-for champagne in French wine stores, supermarkets and restaurants, is available at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Able to accompany everything, it’s the perfect Christmas drink

I am thinking party time as well as roast turkey and so would like to make a few suggestions that you may not have considered but first, let’s go for the obvious — champagne.

It can be wonderful as an aperitif.

Because of its acidity and tiny bubbles it cleanses the palate in a way that truly allows it to accompany everything from fruit to nuts. Or should I say soup to dessert?

Nicolas Feuillatte (foy-yaht) has managed to achieve something that is rarely done.

Not only is it the most asked-for champagne in wine stores and supermarkets in France, but it is also the No 1 seller in French restaurants.

The firm only started in 1976 and has worked its way up to third place overall in the world.

It is a co-operative, with over 5,000 growers from more than 300 villages suppling the grapes for the ten million bottles that they put their name on every year.

Robert Parker gives the brut reserve non vintage a very respectful 91/100 describing it as “one of the finest values in the non-vintage category”.

The brut reserve takes its strength from its exceptional soil.

It is made from the three typical vines of champagne: the chardonnay for the finesse, the pinot noir for the structure and the pinot meunier for the fruity aromas.

It offers a unique freshness and balance and will be perfect during a whole dinner. $46.45.

Even more interesting to pronounce than Feuillatte is viognier.

I would like to assist here as the grape is always highly recommended to accompany roast turkey.

The worst that I have heard is “wog-ner”, but if you say “vee-ohn-yea”, we can show you a couple of examples of a grape that was down to a few acres and about 250 cases worldwide when I joined the wine trade.

As the guests arrive, you might like to pour a glass of Chapoutier 2016 Mirabel Viognier.

Michel Chapoutier is the pioneer of biodynamic vineyards in the Rhône Valley and he is considered one of France’s most respected winemakers.

The Viognier Domaine des Granges de Mirabel is grown organically and vinification takes place in stainless-steel vats. The colour of the wine is a pretty, intense yellow with a green hint. The smell is of delicate apricot, peach and marmalade aromas.

The taste combines roundness and freshness, which are so characteristic of viognier grown in volcanic soil. $24.55.

If you would like to step it up for the main meal then we have Chapoutier 2016 Invitare condrieu.

It garners 93/100 from Wine Enthusiast magazine, which has this to say: “Zesty mineral tones and fresh acidic balance lend an invigorating tone to this aromatic dry white.

“Honeysuckle and apricot flavours are pristine and crisp. It’s a freshly fruited but elegant condrieu to enjoy now through 2023.”

The only grapes allowed in the small 420-acre appellation of Condrieu is viognier. $57.60.

I have never celebrated Christmas in England, but I suspect that many a turkey dinner there will be enjoyed with a well-aged and mature “claret”, as they like to call their bordeaux reds.

They know that the tannins in a young wine do not have anything to grab onto with this relatively low-fat bird.

Last week, I tasted our Château Cambon la Pelouse 2006 with a group and this cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot blend from the Haut-Médoc region of Bordeaux is just on such a high plateau at this time. It really does prove my belief that wine improves with age and, OK I have to say it, “the older I get the better it tastes”.

But seriously, this wine aptly shows what cabernet sauvignon can become as it journeys through the fourth dimension. $34.45.

When Huw and Dale Morris left Bermuda a few years ago ,they settled in Paso Robles, that is now one of the fastest growing wine areas in California.

The wines that they make exclusively for our island are called Wild Hogge.

We had their pinot noir for Thanksgiving and it was just so delicious — with or without turkey.

Looking back at a Wine Enthusiast magazine review of the Wild Hogge 2011 pinot noir, they awarded it 94/100 and said, “unfortunately only available in Bermuda”.

We presently have their 2012 and, showing how even and excellent the quality is, I will show you what the same publication said about the 2012: “93/100. Sichuan pepper and sultry mulberry aromas meet with seaweed and iodine aromas on the nose of this bottling. Deep strawberry fruit melds with black sage, liquorice, mint, and slate-like minerality on the palate.”

With the label of wild hogs on our South Shore — painted by Winslow Homer in the 1800s — it is a beautiful gift. Or drink it yourself. The foil cap is even embossed with our hog penny. $43.85.

Other Wild Hogge wines like Tree Frog and Moongate show our heritage.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm

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Published Dec 13, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 13, 2019 at 8:31 am)

A few suggestions for holiday wines

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