What to drink: Best fortified wine for Christmas tipples
Drinks to keep that cosy winter feeling through Christmas to the new year - and pair deliciously with cheeses, puddings and nuts.
THE EXPERT: Rupert Pritchett at Taurus Wines, Bramley
Barbadillo Manzanilla Pasada En Rama De La Pastora Sherry
A mouthful of a name – a mouthful in the glass! This sherry is intense yellow in colour with golden glints, that lead on to a fragrant aroma. A bone dry sherry with some almonds is a great palate sharpener to whet the appetite ahead of the Christmas feast. Traditionally it would be paired with cured meat.
Blandy’s 10 Year Old Malmsey Madeira
Medium rich Madeira with a gentle sweetness and plenty of refreshing acidity. Sweet with marmalade, dried fig and caramel notes. A lovely accompaniment to spiced puddings, sponge cake or hard, nutty cheeses.
Dow’s Quinta Do Bomfim Vintage Port 2010
Supple and elegant, showing layered flavours of cherries, raspberries and dark chocolate, alongside Dow’s characteristic peppery tannins. Decant for a few hours before serving alongside chocolate desserts or blue cheeses.
Chambers Rosewood Old Vine Muscat
Tawny red in colour, with aromas of rose petals, raisins and dried fruit which give way to a rich texture and a hint of wood spice. It’s a concentrated wine with a clean, fresh finish which comes from a small winery – now run by the sixth generation of the same family – in Victoria, Australia.
Colheita 1999, Feuerheerd’s
Colheita 1999 has been carefully selected and matured in seasoned oak casks to produce a rich mellowness with finest balance and elegance of old tawnies. This wine is aged in barrel and has tawny red hues and concentrated sweet, spiced fruit flavours, balanced by gentle acidity in the mouth.
10 years old Tawny, Feuerheerd’s
This port has a deep colour with purple hues and reveals a fine and complex nose. On the palate, it has great vibrancy with ripe fruit flavours, black chocolate and black pepper combined harmoniously with well integrated tannins and a velvety texture. It pairs well with blue cheese, Christmas deserts, nuts and caramel.
THE EXPERT: Nik Darlington at Pip of Manor Farm, Seale
Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Ruby Port
It’s a cut above your regular Ruby Port from our favourite house, Sandeman. A silver medallist at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards, it’s an intense ruby red in colour, the nose bursting with aromas of ripe and juicy fruit. Sweetness and grippy tannins are balanced by refreshing acidity.
Mar 7 Manzanilla Pasada
Young sherry producer María José Romero inherited a love of her region’s most famous wine from her father, a pharmacist by profession but winemaker by devotion. Her sherries are made from vineyards dating back to the 1820s and see no additions during production in the traditional solera systems of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This striking Manzanilla Pasada is bone dry, vibrant with that distinctively salty flavour, while the Pasada style means it is aged for a longer period of time to create a nuttier, more structured wine. It’s intensely aromatic, with camomile tea, the comforting aroma of a bakery, fresh almonds and an undercurrent of roasted nuts.
Mar 7 PX
Quite simply the finest PX we’ve ever drunk. María’s is intensely sweet of course, but balanced with a refreshing aroma and flavour profile that many a PX can lack, delivering a long, tasty finish that invites you back for more. It’s such a treat at the end of the meal! PX is made from Pedro Ximénez grapes, which are dried in the sun to concentrate the sugars, then fortified, resulting in an unctuous dark nectar of a wine, one of the sweetest and most delectable in the world!