Waitrose and Partners Weekend Issue 579

25 NOVEMB ER 2021 35 FOOD&DRINK Festive favourites Five top seasonal tipples from Master of Wine Pierpaolo Petrassi GRAHAM’S 10 YEAR OLD TAWNY PORT £20.49/75cl We always have a bottle of tawny port in the fridge at home as it’s a delicious apéritif. With Christmas pudding, however, it’s truly sublime. This is a blend of ports – the youngest has to be at least 10 years old and many will be much older. Ageing the wine in casks turns it from a bright ruby colour to a deep, glowing, tawny. It provides toasted nuts and dried ägs on the nose, followed by a mellow caramel-toffee richness in the mouth. DE GRENDEL SAUVIGNON BLANC £11.99/75cl A great party white that will work well with änger foods, this is among South Africa’s most exciting Sauvignon Blancs, and is made by one of the country’s top winemakers. The grapes are grown in a cool microclimate on slopes overlooking Table Mountain, and the result is a vibrant, zesty wine with lovely åavours of passion fruit, peach and fresh äg. It’s also suitable for vegans. CAVE DE TURCKHEIM CRÉMANT D’ALSACE £13.49/75cl Fizz always makes a party feel special, and crémant is a great choice. It’s made in several French wine regions by the same méthode traditionnelle as Champagne, but is often more affordable. Hailing from the French/German border region of Alsace, this one is crafted from Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris grapes. It’s aromatic, with hints of pink grapefruit and lychee. The palate is rich yet vibrant, with äne bubbles and a pleasingly crisp änish. H&H 10 YEAR OLD SERCIAL MADEIRA £19.99/50cl (selected stores) The volcanic soils of Madeira create unique åavours in the grapes, which are heightened by extended ageing. Look for notes of exotic spices alongside woodsmoke, roasted nuts, citrus peel, apricots and vanilla. A fabulous wine with an extraordinarily long änish – wonderful with a Christmas cheeseboard. NO.1 DON GASPAR DRY AMONTILLADO LUSTAU £11.99/75cl Long ageing in oak casks gives this sherry a full, nutty åavour, but it still retains a tang that makes it brilliant with food. In a dry amontillado style, it’s ideal chilled as an apéritif but can be enjoyed with hard cheeses, Boxing Day cold cuts or Christmas lunch leftovers. For more brilliant festive tipples, including cocktails and suggested pairings, visit waitrose.com/christmasdrinks. You’ll also änd the full range of drinks, great offers and advice at waitrosecellar.com. Use the Click & Collect service – free for orders over £100. This week, I’ve selected some of the best festive wines to take you through the holidays – from pre- Christmas parties and Boxing Day lunch to a quiet evening by the äre when the big day’s over. The Sauvingnon Blanc and crémant are party-ready, deliberately chosen to be fun and friendly. When you’ve got a broad mix of people, you want crowd-pleasing wines at a price point that means you can be generous – there’s nothing worse than running out of wine, or having to be mean with it. The other three are all fortiäed wines, often the forgotten gems of the wine world. Port, Madeira and sherry are part of a tradition that goes back a very long way – when Shakespeare mentions ‘sack’, he’s talking about sherry. It somehow feels very Christmassy to be drinking something that people have enjoyed for centuries. They’re all lovely with Christmas pud on the big day, but also a treat to sip on those in-between evenings, with a slice of Christmas cake, perhaps, or (in the case of Madeira and port) a good cheeseboard. ‘It feels very Christmassy to be drinking something that people have enjoyed for centuries’ Photography: Con Poulos Pros Styling : Wei Tang