Try before you buy

18 Hildreth Street, Balham, London, SW12 9RQ · t:020 8616 8658

18 Hildreth Street

Let the search for the perfect X-Mas wines begin!

I'm officially researching Christmas wines! My brother and sister-in-law host Christmas Dinner for the 15 strong clan every year and I'm in charge of the wine this time and keen to wow everyone! Trouble is there's a very wide range of palettes - from my mother-in-law who drinks almost exclusively Sauvignon Blanc, my nieces who aren't really sure they like wine yet, my father-in-law and brother-in-law who only drink Rioja and just about everything in between! I'd love to tell you that there is one fail safe wine to suit an entire family of tastes but that just isn't true so I'll be taking a specially selected mixed case.
I made my second ever Sunday roast chicken last week to help me imagine which white wines will suit the turkey and three winners emerged!
My personal favourite is the Domaine Jaume Cotes du Rhone Villages (£16.50). Less than 5% of the wine made in the Rhone valley is white and this one is made of equal parts of the 5 most important grapes - Marsanne, Roussane, Clairette, Viognier & Grenache - to say this wine is complex is a real understatement. It's a food wine so I won't open it until we've all sat down at the table but the potent mix of floral, nutty and stone fruit characters is a real winner and there's a lovely salinity on the finish with crisp acidity. Gorgeous!
For my nieces I've chosen Chateau de Gaure (£20.00). It may seem odd to spend the most on the least experienced palates but this is a very special wine (100yr old vines, traditional vinification and the most artistic label in the shop) and I'm confident that it may spark an interest in them. The blend is Chardonnay, Chenin & Mauzac - the latter offers a delicious and welcoming sweetness, like stewed apples which will make this wine really accessible for them. It will serve as a great aperitif for me as well!!!
And for my mother-in-law: nothing says Christmas like Sancerre! And we only stock one so you know it's a corker! Paul Prieur Sancerre (£16.90). Classic gooseberry and citrus with a lovely smoky flintiness - stunning!
I'm taking a break from Christmas food this weekend - I'll be playing sous-chef to my friend Bruno who's not only a great Sommelier but a great chef as well so look out for my next installement!
Then back to work and exploring what else Spain has to offer outside of Rioja!
Happy drinking!