Great wine regions cover the length and breadth of France, so when it comes to picking a few bottles for the holiday season, the choice can be overwhelming. However, we believe you don’t need to overcomplicate things. In Burgundy and Bordeaux, you have the riches of two of the best wine regions in the world at your fingertips. We’ve assembled a small selection of the five best French wines for the holidays, three reds, one white, and one sparkling wine! We have also composed an article exploring the best pairings with Christmas food to make your life over the holidays as easy as possible.
We’re starting things off with a classic taste of Bordeaux. This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, three grapes that provide a bounty of Christmas flavours. You’ll discover notes of blackberry and plum, a distinctive smokiness, and underlying flavours of baking spice and dried herbs. Bordeaux red blends always bring a certain weight and sense of importance to an occasion. They are a great choice for the holiday season, whether you bring them out for Christmas, Hanukkah or a New Year’s party.
If there’s one constant at the Christmas dinner table, it’s the presence of rich red meats, cinnamon spice and earthy herbs like rosemary and thyme. This wine shares a lot of those characteristics and will be a gorgeous pairing for meaty dishes such as roast beef with a side of herby potatoes.
Chateau La Nerthe is one of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s oldest estates and brings a long tradition of excellence to all of its wines. This is an archetypal wine of the famous appellation, a red blend dominated by the soft and spicy Grenache grape. Ample amounts of Syrah and Mourvedre finish the blend and bring some serious meat and structure to the wine.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape will keep everybody happy at Christmas time. It’s versatile enough to pair with bold red meats or a vegetarian nut roast and has a background of dried herbs that will complement savoury side dishes. It is also fantastic value for money – Chateau La Nerthe is almost unbeatable in quality. This wine has received numerous 90+ ratings from critics and will make a superb addition to your dinner table, no matter the winter occasion you are celebrating.
Around Christmas time, we’re all looking for that perfect wine pairing to match the turkey. We have another contender for you to think about. This is a 100% Pinot Noir wine, bearing all the hallmarks of a Burgundy classic. It’s packed with complex red fruits, earth and dried herbs, an ideal choice for a winter evening spent indoors.
Pinot Noir is particularly good with turkey because of its soft tannins and high acidity. Turkey has a subtle flavour, so it can easily get overpowered by tannic wines. The crisp acidity of this wine will also bring out the succulent side of the bird, and cleanse the palate, making each bite seem fresh. Even if you don’t crack this open at dinnertime, it’s a delightful drink for sipping and chatting with friends and family.
Another stellar offering from Burgundy, but this time it’s a white wine from the Meursault appellation. Cuvee Saint-Vincent is made from 100% Chardonnay, which was aged on lees in oak barrels for 10 months. For that reason, it brings a lot more body than you would usually expect from white wine. It still manages to maintain a refreshing edge, with mouth-watering flavours of peach, citrus and delicate mineral notes.
Chardonnay is one of life’s great crowd-pleasers! Try to share this one. It will be utterly fantastic with a roast chicken, but really, you can enjoy it at any point over your holidays.
To inject some fizz into the holidays, we highly recommend this Crémant from Burgundy. It’s composed of Chardonnay and the lesser known Aligoté grape, which adds some herbaceousness and racy acidity to the blend. On the palate, you’ll discover strong citrus flavours, lovely notes of tropical fruit, and hints of French pastries.
“Perle d’Ivoire” is a perfect drink for celebrations, and will serve you equally well as an aperitif, or as a companion for fish and veggie dishes over the holidays.
If these don’t sate your appetite for French wine, take a look at our entire selection.
Lead photo credit : Photo by Inga Seliverstova: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-silver-v-neck-long-sleeved-dress-3394310/
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