Pleasure / December 2018

The Oenophile: Festive Drinks

The festive period and drinking go hand in hand. Christie’s Tim Triptree is here to ensure you imbibe the best.

A traditional Christmas is about classic wines, and it certainly helps to pair correctly with festive food. I was lucky enough to have lunch recently with a legend amongst wine aficionados, Christie’s Senior Consultant and author of Vintage Wine, Michael Broadbent MW, who admitted that even at 91-years-old, he still has Champagne each and every morning! With that in mind, what better start to Christmas morning than a glass of bubbles, perhaps even with a dash of freshly squeezed orange to make a Bucks Fizz (which Michael is very partial to and, he claims, will "ease you in gently" if you have over-indulged on Christmas Eve!), although the Champenois will probably disown me for suggesting adding orange juice to their fizz (but if you must, then choose a Brut Non-Vintage Champagne).

One of my favourite Champagne houses is Louis Roederer due in a large part to their extremely talented winemaker, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon who produces “gastronomic” Champagnes that are ideal with matching with food. I recommend their Louis Roederer Brut from the excellent 2012 vintage, made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, aged on lees for 4 years and with 9g/l dosage (the sugars added when the yeast sediments are removed at disgorgement) combining freshness, elegance and delicate aromas of citrus fruits, brioche and toasted almonds. Ideal food matching would be scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and fresh cracked black pepper -  a perfect start to Christmas morning! For a splurge, their recently released Cristal 2008 would be perfect choice: and please serve in a tulip shaped wine glass rather than flutes. Cristal 2008 is 60% Pinot Noir with 40% Chardonnay, aged for almost 9 years and with a slightly lower dosage of 7.5 g/l. A masterpiece of power yet with precision and elegance.

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Tim Triptree