My December selection for the BBC’s Bill Buckley
If you’re tuned in to Bill Buckley’s BBC Berkshire show, for my December selection, then here are the essential details you need.
First up, what’s almost certainly my favourite ‘Grand Marque’ Champagne (though that term doesn’t really mean anything at all), Taittinger Brut Reserve NV (£36 at Tesco). From one of the last great, family-owned Champagne houses, this beautiful non-vintage cuvée is class in a glass. There are cheaper alternatives, for sure, but I think the ratio of quality to price makes this almost unbeatable, making it perfect for your festive aperitif.
Next, a rosé for Christmas. Yes, you heard me correctly. Provence rosé is a great celebration wine and that extends well beyond the summer months. I love a glass of ‘snowsé’ for lunch when I’m skiing and it’s also such a wonderful food pairing wine. Try it with smoked salmon and horseradish creme fraiche for your festive starter and you won’t be disappointed. Chateau Léoube (£18.99 at Daylesford branches or online) is from a beautiful stretch of the Côte d’Azur, near Le Lavandou, and it’s consistently one of my favourite Provence rosés. A blend of the classic Provence rosé grapes, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Syrah, there are wafts of summer berries around a cool, fresh mineral core.
At this time of the year, I’m often asked what to pair with a Christmas lunch and there’s no definitive answer, but I always advise that you can’t go wrong with a good white Burgundy. High demand makes such wines quite expensive these days, so it’s great to find Edouard Delaunay ‘Septembre’ Chardonnay 2020, Burgundy (£12.99 on a Mix Six at Majestic) at a competitive price point. There’s bright, creamy citrus and well judged nutty oak, dialled up to just the right level to keep everyone happy. This would be lovely with roast turkey and the trimmings.
If you prefer red with your festive lunch, then I normally recommend a Rhône red at Christmas, but my recommendation comes with a twist as these are Rhône grapes from Australia. Grant Burgeons, the Holy Trinity (£25 at Laithwaites’s online or from its branches in Reading, Bracknell or Windsor) a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre from the Barossa Valley knocked my socks off with its smooth, velvety blackberry charm. Perfect for roast turkey, it would also be wonderful with roast beef, if that’s your festive choice.
Have a great Christmas!