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Home News > December 2017 > SWA’s wine picks for Christmas

Each year the festive season provides the perfect illustration of the inspiring top quality wines that win SWA medals. So what SWA Winners will the team be choosing for their courses this year?

Christmas Eve dinner by Micaela Martins Ferreira, deputy competition director

A traditional Christmas Eve in Portugal has to have bacalhau (salty cod fish) with new potatoes, loads of vegetables and a boiled egg on the side and this is exactly what I’m going to have surrounded by my entire family this year. I normally drink a good red with it but this Christmas Eve I’m going to choose La Scolca, d'Antan, Gavi dei Gavi, 2005 (Eurowines) as it was one of the most debated wines during SWA 2017, described as a super-stylish mid-palate with purity and class, and a long finish with tertiary flavours - will definitely bring our dish to a higher level.

Later on after Church service we will be eating one of my favourite dishes – Chanfana a typical Portuguese dish made with roasted goat meat and red wine, disregarding the late hours I will go for Quinta do Vallado, Touriga Nacional, 2012 (Bibendum) you can get it wrong with that! After that I will make my last move – fireplace and Port!

Christmas breakfast by Amy Seabrook, marketing manager

This year I am in charge of making Christmas breakfast for my family and that means we will start as we mean to go on – starting the day with fizz. We will have smoked salmon and scrambled eggs which will go perfectly with the Gold winning English sparkling Lyme Bay, Classic Cuvée, 2013, which could be mistaken for Champagne – it was one of my favourites from the competition and impressed SWA judges with its bright freshness and elegant finish. I can’t think of a better way to start the day!

Christmas Lunch by Christine Parkinson, head of judging

After experimenting with goose, sirloin, and baked gammon, I’ve now come back to turkey as my Christmas lunch of choice. This usually leads me straight to Pinot Noir. I particularly liked the Ocean Eight 2013 from Mornington Peninsula at SWA this year. It had lovely bright fruit with plenty of spice and a good savoury core: not too tannic for turkey, but classy and full of flavour.

A nicely chilled white wine is also called for. Something weighty and fairly rich is best. Burgundy is the classic, of course, but I reckon the Garganega grape often does a better job with all the lavish trimmings. Soave, La Rocca, Pieropan 2014 will certainly cope with the cranberry sauce, not to mention chestnuts, chipolatas and stuffing, whilst being fresh enough not to send me to sleep!

Christmas Pudding by Chris Losh, competition director

Christmas pudding is the ONE time of year when I find a use for Pedro Ximenez. It’s not my favourite style of sherry, but it nails it with Christmas pud. In fact, if you put the dessert in a kettle for a bit, it’d probably taste similar. This Valdespino has won gold for the last two years, and it’s fabulous. Very sweet, of course, but there’s a herbal, minty lift to it as well, which you don’t get with many PXs. (£15.05, Liberty)

I’m going to add in a second match, too: the Kopke 1981 Colheita. It’s a spectacularly good wine and is probably better for the cheese courses, but I reckon it could be savoured with everything from cheddar to pud to mince pies. Sure, it’s an indulgence but my god it’s worth it and what the hell… as the great sage Noddy Holder said ‘It’s Christmas!’ (£48.35, Hayward Bros)

Christmas Supper by Ed Warr, events producer

When tackling leftovers from Christmas lunch I am generally battling the glutton within... Do I go for the a full re-run and have everything - a perfect reflection of my gargantuan lunch - or do I go for exactly the same but disguised between large wedges of fluffy white bread, giving the impression of a smaller meal. I opt for the latter and with my sandwich I will be having a wine that sits well in its coaster next to me and with the coveted gamier leg meat of the turkey and lashings of tart yet sweet Cranberry sauce. The Seghesio, Zinfandel 2015, Sonoma County (Liberty Wines) springs to mind with its ripe wild berry notes and eager acidity keeping things fresh (and me awake for another hour or two!)

Boxing Day leftovers by Sonja van Praag, publishing and events director

I sometimes suspect that I enjoy Boxing Day leftovers even more than the actual Christmas lunch… I think it’s the gravy. God I love gravy. So I’m looking at the ultimate roast beef and GRAVY sandwich with possibly a sly sausage tucked in for good luck. Since I feel like Sicily has dominated my drinking days this past year I think it would be only right to finish the year with one, so I’d go with this gorgeous wine from Planeta - the Santa Cecilia, Nero d'Avola, 2011 (Enotria&Coe) one of many SWA gold wins for this fabulous producer. Plenty of ripe tannins to this wine - and the strong expression of plump, red fruits will certainly match my behemoth of a sandwich... and possible Christmas hangover!

New Year’s Eve by Hannah Ware, event coordinator

As we look back at all we have accomplished in the past year and look forward to the next, there’s one thing a successful NYE cannot go without – bubbles! To celebrate a whirlwind of a year, I can’t wait to sip on an elegant glass of Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs, 2006. I will pair this beautifully fruity Taittinger with a selection of delicious canapés, perhaps my favourite salty cheese with truffle, accompanied by one or more indulgent mini lobster rolls. Bubbles and canapés combined, what a superb start to 2018… Happy New Year’s!