At this time of year I get asked a lot by colleagues and friends for my wine recommendations to stock up on ahead of the December festivities. For us wine enthusiasts, that means stocking up on the big reds and lovely dessert wines.
One of our values at Chameleon Works is ‘sharing experiences’ and winter is a great time of year to gather together your team and share one another’s stories of the year that was 2017. Its challenges, its achievements; the funny stories and the celebrations. So many of my clients relish this important time to reflect.
It may be that you gather over a team lunch, at an away day, or during the infamous office party. Whichever one, it’s likely that some good food and festive tipples will be involved.
We love running our Personality of Wine events at this time of year. It’s a fun way to bring to life the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) through wine tasting, and the event will definitely help facilitate the annual storytelling amongst your team. We cater for those who steer away from alcohol too so no one misses the party! Our focus at these events is Learning about our personality type, learning about wine and learning about each other.
So now we’re thinking festivities and sharing experiences – let’s meet some winter wines that will pair perfectly with those upcoming events/dinner parties and get the conversation flowing. These are also some of the wines to look forward to tasting at our upcoming festive MBTI & wine events.
Sherry or Sparkling?
Sherry is much more than your Grandmother’s bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream. In fact, I think we’ve been denying the man in the red suit a decent drink for all these years, and others agree – the Oxford Wine company blog suggest it’s the world’s most underrated wine.
A delicious Fino or Manzanilla Sherry will act as a perfect aperitif alongside your canapes. It’s a light, dry, fortified white wine from Southern Spain which tastes nutty, and even a little salty – perfect with olives, almonds or some cured meats. I recommend Fernando de Castilla Antique Pedro Ximenez.
Or perhaps a glass of fizz is more to your taste. This year, look no further than an excellent English sparkling wine. Yes, our wines are actually really good and even winning awards against our neighbours over in the Champagne region. Support a local producer by adding Nyetimber Demi Sec to your menu.
Main course – Red or White?
For Red: There are many options to choose from and it comes down to what you’re cooking and personal preference. Let’s start with two reds.
Pinot Noir is a light-bodied fruity red that goes excellently with a traditional roast turkey. When you choose a Pinot Noir with a little more age you’ll also pick up on some earthy flavours that will enhance your root veggie sides. Oregon is my new region of exploration and I love their Pinot Noirs, particularly Domaine Drouhin.
For something similar to a Pinot Noir but with punchier flavours why not try a Zinfandel – you’ll notice jammy black damson fruits and winter spices in this one. A great option is Californian Burlesque.
For White: Chardonnay comes into its own during the colder months. It’s a versatile grape that presents itself in many different styles depending on how it’s made.
If you’ve got a cooked ham to be eaten then an oaked Chardonnay with a buttery finish will work really well. You’ll get lots of the fresh fruity flavours, like green apple, but with other rich characteristics like vanilla. Our friends and partners Jordan in South Africa have a lovely oaked Chardonnay which we get great feedback from on at our Personality of Wine events.
Port or Madeira?
Port is perfect for the cheese board, although you may be torn between the styles. A Vintage Port has been aged to perfection to match a strong blue cheese like Stilton – it’s rich, fruity, sweet and complex. A Tawny Port on the other hand has had oxidative aging resulting in sweet, nutty deliciousness that goes really well with a cave-aged cheddar. Our friend Sophia Bergqvist at Quinta de la Rosa 10 year old Tawny always gets an order from us at Christmas.
Many of us will be tucking into a Christmas pudding, or some other dried fruit dessert. If that’s true for you then look no further than a Madeira made from the grape Malmsey. Another delicious sweet wine, this time made with white grapes that have been caramelized in the tropical heat. The best news is Madeira keeps for months once opened so you can still enjoy a glass as we see winter transform into Spring. That’s if you haven’t finished the bottle already. Henriques & Henriques 3 Year Old Special Dry Madeira is very reasonably priced.
Our supplier for all our MBTI & Wine tasting events is The Oxford Wine Company.
Right, my mouth is watering – bring on the festivities!