76. WINES FOR CHRISTMAS
The Christmas holiday this year is longer than usual, with the result that many families will have to cope with more meals. That means more drinks. If you are having a drink before a meal, or if friends or relations drop in for a drink, please think of sherry. You can open the bottle, and it doesn't matter if you don't finish it. You can put it in the fridge and continue drinking it later. Good sherry is one of the most underrated wines in the world. At Fingal-Rock you will find a range which includes three really outstanding dry sherries of varying richness: a Manzanilla, called Alegria, very light and dry, fresh as a daisy; a Fino Perdido, an aged Fino, still pale in colour, but nutty and broad in flavour – a thrilling drink; and a dry Oloroso, Don José Maria – this is deeper and darker in colour, and richer and fuller in flavour, but still lively enough to drink as an aperitif.
Or, if you like bubbles in your aperitif, the Fingal-Rock buying team has been hard at work, and come up with a delicious, off-dry, pink sparkling wine, called appropriately Irrésistible – because it is! It comes from the Domaine des Marrans, based in the Beaujolais.
For the main course I recommend a red burgunday, such as Gachot-Monot's lovely Côte de Nuits Villages "Les Chaillots" 2011. Or, if you prefer a more full-bodied wine, I recommend the remarkably succulent, spicy Musar Jeune from Château Musar in the Lebanon, made from young vines on the estate, and wonderful value at less than half the price of their Grand Vin.
For the pudding: sherry can also provide a wine to go with this course - Pedro Ximenez, El Candado, which comes with a padlock and key (which work!) – El Candado means "the padlocked one"; this is dark and rich and sweet – a glorious dessert wine. Or, once again the Fingal-Rock buying team has unearthed one of the best bargains it has ever found – a Sauternes from Château Filhot, from the 1998 vintage, fully mature, but not in any way tiring, still wonderfully fresh – the château has labelled this as its second wine, Sauternes Gold Reserve, but it is in reality the Grand Vin, Château Filhot. The price is £12.50. Just for reference, the current vintage of Château Filhot is priced at £27.50.
I wish you all Happy Drinking and a Happy Christmas.