Rejoice, the festive season is upon us. Yet while images of Santa Claus and his reindeer gladden the heart, Christmas can be stressful. Never mind the dinner planning: what do you buy for the person who has everything? Or the family member who cannot abide Cliff Richard? Do you risk their ire with “another pair of bloody socks”? Cue gritted teeth and perfidious smile.
How about a potboiler? An accessory that is destined to fast fall out of fashion? No, the answer lies in the world of fine wine and spirits. Legendary vintages from the world’s most exalted vineyards are increasingly in short supply, guaranteeing the lucky recipient major bragging rights. A happy Christmas is assured. Thus, we’ve cobbled together a few suggestions for a unique and delicious Christmas gift. Unlike the latest gadget, these wonderful items are meant to be shared. Rejoice!
For the Champagne lover
Good Champagne has it all: lightness and depth, creaminess with sparkle, complexity and precision. It can be enjoyed on any occasion with relish – just ask Lily Bollinger, who once famously said: “I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am.” This venerable house continues to produce one of Champagne’s top rosés, which offers a cornucopia of strawberries, yellow plum, vanilla, and brioche on the palate.
But what are the other names to look out for? Laurent-Perrier markets a delectable rosé Champagne that is as famous for the unique bottle shape as it is for the (delicious) wine inside. Meanwhile Louis Roederer’s Collection 243 is a multi-vintage Champagne of great elegance and personality. A special gift for a loved one.
Nuts about Bordeaux
You cannot clone First Growth Bordeaux. These exquisite wines are unrivalled in their depth and complexity, from the hauntingly beautiful perfume of Chateau Margaux to the awesome concentration of Latour. Yet this deluxe end of the market, although glorious, represents a tiny fraction of Bordeaux’s annual output. The best of the Haut-Medoc, Saint-Emilion and Lalande-de-Pomerol offer the unique Bordeaux flavour at fair prices. Chateau Laroque (Saint-Emilion) dazzles with its multi-layered and enticing bouquet which leads to a beautifully rich palate and an exceptionally lengthy finish. On the left bank, it’s hard to fault the 2017 vintage of Chateau Cissac: ripe, expressive and oh so suave. And at under £25, it’s irresistibly priced – a great stocking filler.
Mine’s a gin
Who wouldn’t love a bottle of craft gin this Christmas? This unbelievably trendy spirit has stolen the hearts of consumers; the UK now boasts over 560 distilleries, and a wealth of artisan brands and niche producers. Moreover, gin is now available in many guises: pink and flavoured versions of this diverse spirit maintain our interest and excite our palate. Made in Kent, Pleasant Land White Cliffs Gin is one of Britain’s most exciting white spirits, with lovely aromatics of juniper, citrus, thyme, and sweet spices. But there is always competition in this buoyant market – Monkey 47 Gin can boast over 45 botanicals, including almonds, cloves, English hawthorn, sage and Lingonberries. An astounding gin from a veteran distillery.
A wee dram
Whisky is far more adept at food matching than one might think. Indeed, the fats in cheese, for example, react more comfortably to whisky than they do with wine or port. This iconic spirit is remarkably flexible when it comes to accompanying food; scallops, foie gras and bread-and-butter pudding all triumph alongside a single malt. Nc’Nean’s Organic Single Malt Scotch Whisky is one such perfect gift – it can be enjoyed during or after the festive feast. Meanwhile, the subtle and sophisticated flavours of Miyagikyo Japanese Single Malt Whisky shine alongside a milder cheddar. Another perfect gift for the discerning connoisseur.
For the stubborn oenophile
We all have our preferences, in wine as in everything else. But a mixed case can really push oenophiles out of their comfort zone, which is no bad thing. After all, you never know what potential new favourite you’re missing if you never try it. Our Christmas Cracker mixed case includes two delicious Champagnes, two whites and two reds from our Christmas offer – a guaranteed success!