Pudding wine and Port


As one comes to the end of the turkey or beef… or whatever it is that has got the taste buds so excited on the BIG day… just as you are thinking “I can’t take any more food” (that’s food only, of course)… one enters the realm of the pud, a great big Christmas pudding and to accompany it one of the most exciting of wines, the sweet wines.

I have always been a fan. I try and buy a case of half bottles of Sauternes when it is a good vintage so I can enjoy it on precisely this sort of occasion. It doesn’t really matter what Chateau one goes for as long as it is good (!).. Everyone has their favourites; mine are Coutet, Rieussec and Chateau La Tour Blanche. I can’t recommend enough cracking a half bottle to perk oneself up after the battering of red wine that has just ensued. The sweetness, the acidity, the fresh and lively fruit of a young Sauternes is something to behold. I recommend Ch Coutet, 1er Cru 2005 or if you are after something more quirky then we have a fantastic Austrian sweet wine, Velich Beerenauslese 2006. Deeper in colour, more orange peel and candied almonds, it is a true delight. Oh and it does come in very smart tall, elegant half bottles.

This is a lot of talk about sweet wine. You might hate sweet wine. Well, fear not I say because Port is on the horizon and it is beaming down through a multitude of stinking cheeses… If you are after a classic, youthful Late Bottle Vintage Port then I would recommend Ramos Pinto LBV 2004. Having been out to the Douro recently and tasted all their wines of Ramos Pinto, I can safely say they are delicious in a forward, fruity style, a perfect accompaniment to fine cheeses after a heavy and decadent Christmas lunch…however, if vintage port hails, aim for something really good, no tightening the money belt on Christmas day, aim for a ’63, ’77, ’83, ’85 from one of the top port houses.

Our man in the Douro
Our man in the Douro

I should mention, for those people who don’t finish lunch on Christmas day until 8pm, having started at 1pm….that we can source almost any vintage of fine Cognac/Armagnac from the eminent Baron de Signonac & Baron de Lustrac, so if there is an important birthday being celebrated around Christmas we will do our best to find something truly spectacular.