What winemakers are drinking this Christmas

By

Dec 12th, 2019

It is that time of year again when it is time to plan which wines you are drinking over the festive period. We thought we would ask some of our favourite winemakers and estates what they are planning to drink, to help give you some inspiration. Special thanks to Charles Philipponnat for his detailed response, he will certainly be enjoying an epic Christmas in true epicurean style. An inspiration to us all!

Charles Phillipponnat – Champagne Philipponnat

Philipponnat is one of the finest cultivators of Pinot Noir in all of Champagne and in possession of probably the most sought-after single vineyard - the famed Clos des Goisses. We spoke to Charles Philipponnat to find out what he is planning for the Christmas table.

“Christmas will be at home this year, with all the children and my wife’s family coming over. I rarely plan the wines I’ll drink, but rather pull them from my cellar to match the food and according to the moment’s inspiration. At any rate, some of the better wines will include the following:

Apéritif with Champagne, obviously! Maybe our 2002 Philipponnat “Grand Blanc” or cuvée “1522” as the aperitif.

There will be oysters. A good 2007 Puligny Montrachet from Montille should do the job, it’s been drinking just right lately. Or a dry Rüdesheimer Riesling Spätlese from the Rheingau (on schist).

Followed by an older Clos des Goisses with Foie Gras, a rich one like 1991. Or one of my last magnums of Dom Pérignon, that my father made – 1962. I may actually keep it for my 60th birthday.

I usually cook capon as the main course for Xmas. All will rely on the sauce. If creamed : a white Burgundy. I may sacrifice my last bottles of Latour Corton Charlemagne 1990. Or 2005 Montée de Tonnerre from Raveneau. If gravy, a red. It could be Burgundy again, pulling from Laurent Ponsot’s Chapelle Chambertin or Clos de la Roche. Or a fresh Northern Rhône (Chapoutier’s single vineyards possibly). Or a ripe, slightly iodic Bordeaux, from Pessac-Léognan: Domaine de Chevalier, or even Haut-Brion if I’m in the mood (and the funds!).  Clos Saint Landelin Pinot Noir from René Muré is also a good option. I’ll keep the Lafite and the Médocs for red meats another time.

Cheese is of utmost importance! Necessarily a white (those who really want red can draw from the previous bottles): Champagne. Pinot noir based. Clos des Goisses again. 1998 or 2002 perhaps. Or a still white. A 2000 Gewurztraminer Furstentum from Domaine Paul Blanck, with ripe Münster on cumin crackers.

Dessert anyone? Yes. A chocolate and caramel “bûche” will call for a Port. Taylor’s 20 years old tawny, or a ripe (but not too ripe) vintage. Possibly 1994.

Aurelien Valance – Chateau Margaux

Aurelien Valance is the deputy managing director at Chateau Margaux and an avid wine collector. Who better to advise on top choices this year?

I will definitely be drinking some Lucien Le Moine White Burgundies as well as a bottle of Chateau Margaux 1919 and some Selosse Champagne. Why those wines in particular? Mounir & Rothem Saouma are great friends of mine and their wines are just fabulous.

I can’t celebrate Christmas without a bottle of Chateau Margaux and what’s better than a 100-year-old one to celebrate it? And obviously Christmas is a moment to celebrate and Champagne Selosse is the perfect way to do so, served with smoked salmon, foie gras and turkey.

Michele Dal Forno – Dal Forno

Michele is an avid hunter and this means he will be shooting his own wild boar to serve at the Christmas table this year! He will definitely be opening a magnum of their own Amarone (probably 2006) because when he gets together with family relatives they don’t often have a chance to taste their own wine.

Gerhard Kracher – Domaine Kracher

Gerhard Kracher, purveyor of some of Austria’s finest sweet wines is also a huge foodie and wine collector. Exactly the sort of person you need to get some tips from.

“For Christmas evening for sure I will start with Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve as an Aperitif. For my whites I will go to Riesling from Germany - Rheingau- Georg Breuer Schlossberg 2015 usually paired with grilled fish from Lake Neusiedlersee (Pike perch). 

The red will be Via Tondonia - Lopez de Heredia 2005, served with roasted wild duck, hunted by my uncle. A sweet finish, not Kracher this time, but Yquem 2005 served with Austrian pancakes with apricot jam. Might be followed by a Gin and Tonic together with my wife after the kids are in bed. ;-)

Roberto Voerzio - Azienda Agricola Roberto Voerzio

Legendary Barolo producer Roberto Voerzio will be enjoying an amazing selection of his own wines from the cellar served with lots of white truffle. However he will start the festivities with  Champagne 2002 Salon as an aperitif.

Wines with the food are vintages from their cellar that belong to special moments of the winery. For example the 2003 Case Nere was the first vintage they made as  Riserva and aged in bottle for 10 years prior to release. Barbera Pozzo dell’Annunziata 2008 from magnum with Agnolotti with ragu (typical stuffed pasta with slow cooked ragu), Barolo 2012 Cerequio with Tajarin with white truffle, Barolo 2003 Fossati Case Nere served with carne cruda battuta al coltello (hand chopped tartare) with white truffle and Barolo 1997 La Serra served with Fonduta (cheese fondue) with white truffle.

Hubert de Bouard & Stephanie de Bouard – Chateau Angelus

Hubert and Stephanie's wine choices for the Christmas table are always from wineries which they have a close relation to. Winemakers they knows as friends and respect.

Hubert’s menu is as follows: Chablis Grand Cru - Les Preuses, Domaine Dauvissat served with seared scallops and caviar. Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru 2007 by Domaine Rousseau  served with chicken suprême and morels. Beaucastel Hommage à Jacques Perrin 2001 served with veal and crunchy vegetables. Angelus 1990 from magnum with Cheese from Bernard Antony. Finally, Vin de Constance served with caramelized apple pie

Stephanie de Bouard is clearly a fan of truffles and has paired every dish with them bar the oysters ! Her menu is as follows:

Krug 2002 as an appetizer and served with truffled foie gras, Clos Rougeard Brézé 2011 served with oysters. Montrachet 2007 Domaine Comtes Lafon served with scallop carpaccio with truffles. Angélus 1989 served with turkey, mashed potato and truffles. Rayas 2005 served with truffle risotto from Périgord.

Daniel de Polo – Darioush

For Dan, at Christmas time, Champagne goes with everything - from breakfast to nightcap, and he's happy to drink it all day if necessary.

"When I need something that comes across a bit warmer, I find Chateauneuf du Pape, Cornas or Hermitage always seem to have that great, warm, celebratory, holiday vibe with roasts or game.  Along those lines, we at Darioush have been enjoying the 2008-2009-2010 vintages of our Oak Knoll Shiraz, which always hit their sweet spot with a decade of age."

Dimitri Mesnard Master Sommelier - Jackson Family Wines

This year Dimitri is after precision, purity and emotion in his wines for Christmas. His white wine choice will be a Meursault 1er Cru Charmes by Germain & Fils, 2010. "An emotional wine, classic style of Meursault showing a great balance between the purity of fruits and the minerality that drives the wine. I found the 2010 vintage for white Burgundy high class and showing well at the moment. I've always been in love with the precision of the wines from this estate. It is a very good value pleasure & quality. I will serve the wine with Native Lobster, roasted heritage carrots, buttermilk puree.

For the red it will be - Vérité Le Desir, Sonoma, California, 2007. " I am originally from Loire Valley and always had an affection for Cabernet Franc that you can find in this area. This cuvee is a high class Bordeaux-blend from Sonoma, in California and made mainly with Cabernet Franc. The wine shows a different palate of aromas in a warmer climate than the Loire Valley and really takes the essence of terroir, due to the exceptional fruit sourcing in some of the best terroirs of Sonoma. The 2007 vintage was outstanding and the wine has more than 12 years of age now. It is bright, juicy, has great complexity and depth with delicate savoury notes. This is a classy, winter season wine! I will serve it with Breast of Quail, pea puree, pancetta and marjoram jus.

Maya Dalla Valle - Dalla Valle Vineyards

Working in red wine production, Christmas seems the perfect opportunity to enjoy some white wine for Maya and her family. They are celebrating Christmas in Hawaii so looking for the perfect match with fish.

"We will be drinking mainly White Burgundy, particularly Chablis: Vincent Dauvissat's Le Fôret, Raveneau's Butteaux and Roulot's Charmes served with seafood but also firm cheeses like Comte.  Also we will be drinking an older vintage of our Cabernet which can pair well with a firm white fish, we will bring the 1990 vintage with us."

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