Most people think the turkey is the main event at Christmas, but who is really going to remember the hours you spent sieving gravy and cooking a large bird?
Take our advice and focus on getting in some great wines and cheeses, which your family and guests will remember for years to come..."remember the year Dad served that great magnum of red" or "remember when Aunty Jen turned up with a hamper of delicious cheese and treats" if this is the sort of Christmas feedback you are looking for read on.
With Christmas wines it's best not to over complicate things and choose some great drinking wines that all your guests can enjoy without having to open a different bottle for each person.
For us this is where magnums come in - there is something deliciously special about treating your nearest and dearest to a magnum - it says 'we've pushed the boat out and you our guests are worth it'. To suit all price palettes we are recommending three, choose one, unless you are feeling especially generous. Firstly a magnum of Barons de Rothschild champagne, the only wine partnership the various wine branches of the Rothschild family have ever collaborated on. 100% Chardonnay grapes and aged for 40 months on the lees, this is the house pour at The Ritz at a reassuringly expensive price of £119 per magnum...if "putting on the..." doesn't quite stretch that far in your household we also stock this champagne in single bottles for £49 each. Or alternatively try a Harrow & Hope sparkling English wine, and one of the top rated in the country....errr made in Marlow! Local and lovely and just £32 per bottle. Or if you've got a crowd in our Celene Cremant (french sparkling wine made outside of the Champagne region) is a very refreshing £15.95 per bottle. Unlike Prosecco which is made in a stainless steel vat, Cremant is made like champagne and gets its fizz from the time the wine spends in bottles during the second stage of production.
Anyway back to the magnums. Ignore Christmas myths, there is absolutely no reason to serve white wine with turkey - instead go bold on a red. We are delighted to have secured the Reserve Speciale Medoc from none other than DBR (Domaine Baron Rothschild) Lafite in magnums. Now before you think "Lafite doesn't that cost upwards of £750 per bottle?" this is a snip at just £49 (!) per magnum. Yes you read that price correctly - Medoc wine, or old school claret as we like to think of it. in a magnum made by DBR Lafite - hell this is a magnum for a party. Take one and impress your hosts, or impress your own guests. This is a wine to sip through lunch and mellow into the cheese course with. Pairs perfectly with a Sparkenhoe Red Leicester or a large wedge of Montgomery's Cheddar.
Our second red magnum recommendation is the 40th anniversary Chateau Clarke, which comes in a stunning black etched magnum bottle nestling in its own wooden box. This wine celebrates 40 years since the replanting of the Chateau Clarke estate post-acquisition by the Rothschild family and recently scored 94/100 by Jane Anson, which makes it the highest scoring vintage Chateau Clarke have ever made. Unlike the special reserve Medoc, this is new school claret making with layers of fruit and toasty notes in the tasting. This unpasteurised wine needs decanting at least one hour before serving - like a good cheese it needs resting time on the side before serving. Don't rush this wine. Priced at £120 per magnum - it makes for a special Christmas lunch or why not take it to your in-laws (mother, father, son, daughter) - if you need to impress this wine will ensure you remain firmly on the good guest list.
Moving on if you are celebrating Christmas à deux or perhaps just four or five round the table and you fancy drinking different wines with different course, our two special Christmas single reds could hit the spot. Gevrey Chambertin needs little introduction and the Gevrey Chambertin 'les Evocelles' hails from one of the most celebrated villages in the Burgundy region. Only 10 barrels (3000 bottles) were made and this is a great wine to pair with game, including duck. At £75 per bottle this refined wine is ready for drinking or can age effortlessly for up to a decade....but it's way too early to be thinking about Christmas 2032! Our second single red recommendation is super special and we are proud to be the only retailer able to secure a limited supply for Christmas 2022. Anseillan Pauillac by Lafite is the very first release, the first vintage ever made from grapes which used to go to the main Lafite production, but are now being bottled in its own vineyard. This wine has spent 18 months in new French oak barrels, which when combined with the quality of the grapes, creates a supremely elegant, multi-layered and classically styled Pauillac, which is basically Lafite in a glass but an affordable £95 per bottle (well affordable for a Lafite!). The bottle styling is also rather special and we cannot stress how extremely rare this wine is. But only the best for Gershon & Sons customers.
What about the whites, you cry! Three wonderful whites in our Christmas collection to choose from. First up the divine Rimapere Sauvignon Blanc 'plot 101' crowned this Autumn with a platinum medal from Decanter magazine (basically meaning it beat over 1,500 other Australasian sauvignon blancs). Rimapere is Maori for five arrows. Unlike Cloudy Bay made on the Marlborough coast, Rimapere plot 101 is the furthest inland estate and the furthest inland plot on the estate, with a warmer micro-climate. Delicate caramelisation from new French oak barrels this is a single vineyard, small production (from just 2.6 hectares of vines) and only the second vintage ever produced. Crisp, complex and intensely aromatic and only mild acidity - this beguiling beauty is available for £33 per bottle.
From the new world to the old world, you cannot find a more classic old world white than a Chablis. And this isn't any old Chablis - it's a premier cru Beauty 2019 with classic mineral notes and a great vintage year for Chablis. Chablis 1er Cru Beauty 2019 is produced from old vines in a traditional manner without the use of French oak. Pairs perfectly with a ripe Brie de Meaux.
Our third and final Christmas white 'R' de Rieussec is produced by DBR Lafite with only 500 cases made. 'R' pronounced 'air' de Rieussec was originally made in Sauternes for exclusive consumption by the Rothschild family (yes their personal noel vin blanc so to speak) so we were lucky to be allowed to offer it to you, our lovely customers. It's a white wine that is both curious and delicious and works super well with high cream content cheeses like Ballylisk triple cream, Bix (locally made at the Nettlebed Creamery near Henley) and more. A very quaffable £32 per bottle.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without some port.
We are delighted to be working with our favourite port house, Fonseca to bring you their crusted port. Put simply in years which are either non-vintage years or only a few port houses bring out a vintage there are plenty of spare grapes. In these years the surplus glut of grapes is used to make non-vintage ports like LBV and Crusted port. Always decant this port, crusting is both by name and by nature. Crusted port is made in an identical way to vintage port, thus vintage port style without the vintage port price tag. At £22 per bottle you can afford to pass the port!