Most of us are creatures of habit when it comes to wine, and have a few favourites that we always pick up. Let's face it, even those with the best of intentions of expanding their palate can be overwhelmed by the wine aisle, and revert to the familiar few.
But you can sidestep the wine rut this Christmas with a little help from Lynne Coyle MW, wine director at O’Briens Wine; Lynne has been working in the food and drink industry for over thirty years and she is one of fewer than 400 Masters of Wine in the world today. Here, she offers us her expert advice on the wines to sample this festive season.
The Grand Entrance: Beaumont des Crayères Grande Réserve
Starting as all good parties should, Lynne begins with bubbles. She recommends this award-winning Champagne that comes from a family-owned vineyard. “This one is perfect on its own or with nibbles,” says Lynne. “It’s made from black grapes, which gives it a vigour and intensity of flavour that balances beautifully with its refreshing acidity.” Lynne recommends pairing it with seafood, goat's cheese or paté.
For starter and mains: Domaine des Grandes Perrières Sancerre
If you are a stickler for a traditional Christmas then Sancerre is the perfect choice with turkey and all the trimmings. “We found Domaine des Grandes Perrières Sancerre after scouring the Loire Valley on a wine-tasting trip,” Lynne recalls. “It’s delightfully aromatic with a great depth of gooseberry and lemon and a hint of minerality.”
For mains and cheese: Chanson Fleurie
A seasonal classic, Fleurie is a popular choice with turkey and other game birds. “The Gamay grape of the Fleurie is lighter in tannins than other red grapes, making it impeccably smooth,” says Lynne. She’ll be sipping on this Chanson Fleurie come December 25th, as it’s loaded with cherry and raspberry flavours, which make for a refreshing finish.
For cheese and dessert: Carmes de Rieussec Sauternes
Christmas is the perfect time of year to enjoy a bottle of Sauternes, “it’s a more flexible bottle of wine than you might imagine, as it works with pâté, blue cheese and desserts, it is lusciously sweet with notes of apricots, honey and saffron” explains Lynne. “It has notes of apricots, honey and saffron giving it a unique sweetness.”
The digestif: Smith Woodhouse LBV Port
If you’re considering investing in a perfect port, this late bottled vintage one from Smith Woodhouse has everything you could ask, explains Lynne. “Smith Woodhouse is a small port house renowned for their traditional LBV.” Like a vintage port, LBV port is chosen specifically for its quality. Matured in a cask and released to market once it’s ready to drink, this one can be sipped now, or will happily sit in your drinks cabinet to mature for another ten years.
Prices are correct at time of publication but are subject to change. For the most up-to-date pricing see any O’Briens store or www.obrienswine.ie