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Celebration wine

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What will you be drinking with your Christmas dinner or to bring in the New Year?

I don't understand the obsession with Champagne - it's too fizzy for me, and makes it difficult to digest the meal which follows if it is served as an apero.  Call me a heathen if you will, but whatever we eat, it will be red wine that we drink, whether with fish or white meat or red meat.    I can drink a dry white if it is served with a meal, but don't like it as a drinking drink.

I'm not sure how much you have to pay to guarantee a good wine.  I have a mixed selection of red wine at home at the moment - some bought in France and some bought with Tesco points.  Some, I like.  Some has become vin chaud or has been slopped in with dinner.  A few weeks ago we had a very nice Beaumes de Venise at a very low price, so I've bought a few bottles of that for Christmas.  The problem for me is only being in France for holidays and never being in one place for more than a week and using different supermarkets due to visiting a wide area.  So, I'm never in a position to drink enough wine in one region to select a wine that is consistent.  I really like some cheap wines, but then you go back and buy the same the following year it is foul.  On the other hand, French friends have recommended more expensive wines, and I've not liked it. I usually pay between 3 and 5 euros a bottle (less if being supervised) but have paid more if invited to the home of French friends.  But I've never paid more than £10 for a bottle.   Mind you, I've always preferred it to Champagne.

I don't drink dessert wine with dessert either.  Sweet food needs red wine or coffee to counteract the sweetness.  On the other hand I love sweet apero such as pineau or pommeau with nibbles.

On the old fashioned side - I like a glass of Bristol Cream on Christmas morning and at midnight at New Year.!

Anyway, what is your celebration wine?

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Frenchie, I agree; each to his own. 

Bubbles make me feel instantly happy so, Veuve Clicquot with brunch. Then, much later, red wine with the chestnut roast, maybe chateauneuf-du-pape, (10€ in Aldi). Prosecco (Lidl) with dessert and Armagnac with coffee.

Jill, no price can guarantee a good red wine, there is always the chance of a duff case. That aside, it is a matter of personal taste as to what constitutes 'good'. Bristol Cream - the thought makes me wince, as much as my first taste did! I've failed to aquire the taste for sherry.

Season's greetings and may you relish the things that please you.

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Strickly speaking, I think champagne should be drunk after the main courses to 'clear the palate' before dessert. However, we will be drinking champagne with our traditional ham and poached eggs for Christmas morning breakfast. Usually Gosset as thats what we like best.

Christmas dinner will probably involve a few bottles of 'Revelation' because SWMBO decided it was the best red she had ever tasted and bought a case.

Perhaps a glass of sherry before, but it wont be Bristol cream, but a pale fine Croft Original. A glass of Madeira after dinner would be nice but I dont think we have any.

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[quote]What will you be drinking with your Christmas dinner or to bring in the New Year?[/quote]

Hadn't begun to think about it but first thoughts are ...

apero: Champagne - 100% Chardonnay (I love most Blanc de Noir but they're not really apero wines) - probably Drappier.


foie gras: maybe a dry-ish Jurançon - 2003 Cuvée Marie  from Charles Hours perhaps - the over-ripe grapes (year of canicule) give the wine some of the elements of a normal Jurançon without the actual sweetness (sweet Jurançon or Sauternes is lovely with foie gras but I now prefer to leave that until dessert - just a bit too much for my palate prior to something like goose).

goose: maybe a Cahors, ca. 2000-2002, I've got a couple of bottles of Le Cèdre which would do the job admirably.

cheese: depends on exactly which cheeses we end up with but back to a white (reds really don't marry very well with most cheeses), quite possibly finish off the Cuvée Marie - ideal with brébis and tomme.

dessert: don't know what we're eating yet - if bûche de noël, probably Moscato d'Asti (a million miles from "Asti Spumante"); if chocolatey, one of the last two bottles of 1997 Rivesaltes Ambré from René Sahonet (the 1998 is excellent but the 1997 was absolutely exceptional); if fruity, probably another Jurançon - Domaine Cauhapé, their Quintessence du Petit Manseng (Henri Ramonteu, the vigneron, perhaps goes slightly over the top when he says of this wine "A déguster  seuls pour essayer de percer le mystère du temps en début ou fin de  repas").
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So, Frenchie and Ame - any particular red wines you are likely to buy. 

It's always difficult when travelling around to get through enough bottles to be able to choose specific ones for bringing back.  Have you any recommendations for any red wine (including label) which has been particularly good, which you've bought in a supermarket in France?

As you say, each to his own - I never said people were wrong to drink Champagne, I just said I don't understand the obsession, I don't understand why it warrants such high expenditure, because as much as I like red wine, I wouldn't want to pay champagne prices for it, and although red wine is a matter of taste, it is useful to know when people have found some wine particularly good.  For example, I've not yet had a bad St Chinian, Tautavel or Faugeres, but we had some diabolical Beaujolais a few weeks ago and the only time I've had Cahors it was very acidic, so I've not bought it again.


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There are so many red wines...

This year I fancy a Gigondas, my mum's favourite red wine, and I must admit I like it a lot too.

I saw some Gigondas in Lidl recently , it was 15 euros / bottle. ( a bit expensive )

I really like Chinon too ( vin de Loire).


My mum is CRAZY about champagne, I'm not so much, I told her I would have a khyr royal for apéritif ( champagne + liqueur de cassis) ; I like that very much.


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I'd heard Gigondas was good, but it is expensive, as you say.  Probably I'll have to sneak one into the shopping trolley when no one is looking.  Yes, I like Chinon too, but hadn't even realised that you could get red wine from the Loire Valley until we rented a flat in Saumur at Easter this year.  The owner of the flat left a selection of wines for us, which he had bought from local vinyards and bottled himself.  That was a good opportunity for us to discover Loire reds.  I liked the Saumur Champigny, but the Nicholas de Bourgueuil was not so good.  You don't see much Loire wine out of the Loire valley though.  The range of wines varies a lot in supermarkets.  Some have very limited ranges.  I was in an Intermarche a few weeks ago and found they had a much better range in small quantities (and at better prices) than the local huge Leclerc. 


I'd like to be able to go to vinyards and taste wines to bring back to bottle myself, as the visit to the Loire valley as well as wine a friend in Annemasse used to serve to us was proof you can get good wine that way.  However, having had an unpleasant experience at a Foie Gras degustation where the owner virtually barred our way out, demanding why we were not buying anything, we haven't got the guts to go to degustations any more.  At that time, we had never had Foie Gras and on tasting on that occasion, we didn't think it was anything special.  But, since then, I have had it in restaurants and now I love it.  It doesn't mean I would want to buy Fois Gras at degustation prices though - although I have bought it when there has been degustations on camp sites.  We also bought some wine from a degustation at a campsite near Carcassonne this summer.   I just don't really want to go to a vinyard and find the wines aren't to our tastes, and then the owners turn nasty if we choose not to buy anything!  We stayed in the Chalonnais a few years ago and didn't take to the wine in that area at all.  We'd had a bottle of the local stuff from the campsite, not liked it and decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and went to the local co-operative to taste the wines (safer from bullying hopefully), but having tested the various wines there, we decided not to buy - tasted like grass. 

Have others amongst you had unpleasant experiences with owners of vinyards or other degustation places turning nasty?

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