December 2019 – “Wines for Christmas” with Heather Dougherty

This year, all our wines for Christmas were supplied by Laithwaites and the super helpful team at the Surbiton store. Heather Dougherty returned to tell us all about the wines selected to accompany our delicious Christmas courses and the tasting menu looked like this:

Welcome! 
Our welcome drink this year was Roche Lacour Crémant de Limoux (12.5%, 2017), a mostly Chardonnay blend with a minor proportion of Mauzac. Heather explained that Limoux has a long history of sparkling wine production, which began with the monks circa. 1531 and actually pre-dates that of Champagne. 

Starter: Smoked salmon pâté.
Albariño  has become more ‘trendy’ in recent times and this wine, with its crisp acidity, paired beautifully with Ruth’s salmon pâté . Heredad Chavarri Albariño (13.5%, 2018) hails from the home of the Albariño  grape in the north, or “Green Spain” where the coastal climate provides for a freshness and tangy, salty taste.

Main course: Coq au Vin with seasonal vegetables.
Dave Squires and his team from the Barbeque Chefs prepared a delicious hot main for us this year and we enjoyed a white and a red wine with this French classic. La Voûte Chardonnay (14%, 2018) has been fermented and aged in oak and went extremely well with the chicken. Chapoutier La Croix des Grives Côtes du Rhône (14.5%, 2018) is a blend of Grenache and Syrah. Although it enjoys a little bit of spice and soft tannins, Heather recommends drinking this wine young.

Cheese course: a selection of cheeses with celery and grapes.
Heather enjoys a red wine with cheese and Rioja is her preference for this course. Cantos de Valpiedra Rioja (13%, 2014) is a full-bodied red with a good dose of vanilla oak following a year in barriques.

Dessert: trio of mince pies, Christmas cake and Florentines.
This year dessert was accompanied by the wonderfully sweet  Château  Doisy-Vendrines Grand Cru Sauternes (13.5%, 2016). This was a light but full-flavoured dessert wine with a barley sugar aroma. Grapes are hand-picked in successive waves (up to 6-8 times per year) and aged for 18 months in oak barrels, 40-60% of which are new oak. With only 40,000 bottles produced per year, production is expensive but the final product is very much a treat.