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Christmas dinner drinking

Philip Hamer takes a tour of the independent wine merchants to find the best of the seasonal tipples

Published on November 25th 2009.


Christmas dinner drinking

Wine drinkers should always seek out something a little different to accompany the Christmas festivities. It’s an annual opportunity to revive the jaded palate with the unusual, and by straying from familiar territory, you can find some great bottles.

Five very different wines have been selected and they can, of course, accompany the feast itself. Once again I have scoured the region’s independent wine retailers to make my choice.

Jacquesson Cuvee 732 Champagne
My recommendation for the initiator of the festivities eschews the famous (and sometimes poor value) champagne producers in favour of a small, lesser known producer which has recently made particularly stunning wines. Its non vintage cuvees such as this are especially exquisite. You could drink your way into the New Year on this choice alone. Price £30.
Available from Reserve, Burton Road, Didsbury. 0161 438 0101.

Jacquesson Cuvee 732 Champagne

Ramos Pinto Quinta de Ervamoira 10-Year-Old Tawny Port

Poligono 10 Rueda
I make no apologies for choosing two Spanish wines, red and white. The white made in Rueda, Castile, from verdejo grapes is a fruity, zesty mouthful and should finally put to rest the tired myth that the Spanish cannot make superb white wines. Ever so slightly sparkling, it will revive you to tackle a Boxing Day buffet. Price £8.
Available from Evuna, 277/279 Deansgate. 0161 819 2712.

Torre de Barreda 2007 Vino de la Tierra de Castile
This is a truly revelatory red made from 40-year-old tempranillo vines near Toledo. A dense, deeply flavoured wine reminiscent of blackberries and ripe plums, it will perfectly accompany whatever meat dish you’ve chosen for Christmas day. It is also sensational with cheese. Price £10.
Available from Hanging Ditch Wine Merchants, next to Manchester Cathedral. 0161 832 8222.

Peter Lehmann’s The Princess Moscato (50cl size)
Peter Lehmann is considered to be one of the finest winemakers in Australia’s Barossa Valley. His Stonewall Shiraz is legendary and rare. This sweet pink muscat is amazing, whether you have it with your Christmas pudding or on its own. New to the UK wine market, this is a real discovery. Price £10.50.
Available from The Vineyard, Ramsbottom. 01706 822 213.

Ramos Pinto Quinta de Ervamoira 10-Year-Old Tawny Port
The festive season seems incomplete without a lovely port and this offering from a dynamic producer is truly outstanding. The virtue of tawny port is that it can be poured straight from the bottle, so you don’t have to face the hazards of decanting. Price £18.95.
Available from Winos, Oldham. 0161 652 9396.

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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

salfordmikeNovember 25th 2009.

Good article, but it would be nice to get a reply to my numerous requests to fine the supplier for the Pedro Ximinez sherry served with the confidentail xams dinner at the oxford LAST DECEMBER !!!!!

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

Get your info about Port wine correct please. Thanks

GordoNovember 25th 2009.

Yup, 19 years old round at the daughter's mothers house. Her Father was the chairman of the Solicitors wine society at the time, Michael Hague, great bloke GRHS. Christmas eve dinner and he got a Taylors Vintage Port out; can't remember the year, but I do remember it was older than me. We also had a Delamain cognac, 1943, which had a stamp across the label 'reserved for the Wehrmacht', which has stayed with me a long time. Sorry I was a bit quiet last night, bit knackered to be honest. I owe you a drink I remember....

LynnNovember 25th 2009.

Smithfield Wine is in a warehouse on Longacre Street, just off Great Ancoats Street. GMPTE are defying you to get there at the moment as they are putting in the new tram line but they are still open for business but you can check out the list before you go by going online to http://www.smithfieldwine.com

Pedro1874November 25th 2009.

Outside the city try D. Byrne's in Clitheroe: http://www.dbyrne-finewines.co.uk/about.htm or in Horwich: "Tommy" T. Wright Fine wine merchants Horwich Bolton BL6 5QE Tel: 01204 674140. Best value, variety and quality online - The Wine Society http://www.thewinesociety.com/ The Australian Wine Centre http://www.australianwinecentre.co.uk/ and Everywine (Booths): http://www.everywine.co.uk/

Names have been changed to protect the innocentNovember 25th 2009.

A good wine, something classic. Try and avoid anything too cheesy

JamesNovember 25th 2009.

Lynn, where is Smithfield wine?

AnonymousNovember 25th 2009.

please can someone advise me on wine to drink with celery and stilton soup

johnthebriefNovember 25th 2009.

Gordo, thirty four years of port drinking? That's a surprisingly exact period of time - is there a compelling memory to go with your first experience that helps you date it so precisely...?

LynnNovember 25th 2009.

Obviously not a very extensive 'tour' of independant wine merchants as you missed one that is in central Manchester and offers a wide range of 'different' wines for that jaded palate you are trying to revive! Try Smithfield Wine next time.

Pedro1874November 25th 2009.

According to Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, there are 19,000 grape growers in Champagne , of whom about 5,000 sell Champagne under their own name. There are, the encyclopedia claims, more than 12,500 Champagne brands. Why are British wine merchants and restaurants so lazy in not providing us with more different labels. In my experience of 4 trips to Champagne, staying in Vertus and Epernay, there are so many independant winemakers producing superior quality Champagne at a fraction of the cost of the Grand Marques.

Jonathan Schofield - editorNovember 25th 2009.

Lynn, we'll come and review it soon. Phil, Ray K, Neil S, want to do one for me? We'll sort it out one way or another.

rosieNovember 25th 2009.

@ salfordmike, I'm fairly sure that the sherry came from the fab Hanging Ditch wines. If not, I'm sure that Gordo or Mark M can correct me.........

GordoNovember 25th 2009.

@ anon, I have been drinking port for thirty four years, all the way back to the first decade of the last century, as well as having been up the Duoro thee or four times. Illuminate me as to the problem here?

JeremyNovember 25th 2009.

Any port in a storm eh? But yes what is the problem with this paragraph dear as usual anonymous.

SimonNovember 25th 2009.

Maybe it's cos it should be Quinta DA Ervamoira? Or maybe that it can't actually be poured straight from the bottle - you have to take the cork out first... OK, tawnies that have been bottled years ago may have some sludge, but certainly not worth a hissy fit from Anonymous.

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