Home News > December 2018 > SWA's Christmas Menu 2018

Each year the Christmas festivities provide the perfect platform for team Imbibe to showcase the SWA medal-winner wines. So what SWA Winners will our team be choosing for their meals this year?

Christmas Eve dinner by Fabiana Gust, event coordinator

Christmas Eve is a time of great excitement around the house. Being in a multicultural home means roast duck with potatoes, Brussels sprouts and plum sauce! The Mâcon-Verzé 2016 by Domaine de la Jobeline cuts through the fattiness of the duck while echoing nicely the fruitiness of the plum and keeping the warm feeling of the evening alive. Afterwards it’s time for a small glass of Kopke Colheita Port 1998 (Hayward Bros) with the must-have madeira cake and hot chocolate sauce, by the fireplace, as we sneak glances at the Christmas tree to try to guess what Santa may have brought.

Christmas breakfast by Jacopo Mazzeo, news editor

I’ve got lots of wine lined up for Christmas day, so for breakfast I’m picking something that isn’t going to knock everyone out before the fun even begins. My choice is the gold-winning Contero Brachetto d’Acqui 2017 (Liberty Wines), whose 5.5% abv is the ideal strength to kick off the day. Its succulent fruit complexity, lively mousse and crunchy palate sound to me like the perfect replacement for a frothy cappuccino and marmalade on toast.

For those who really mean to end up asleep before lunch, I’m going to put on ice Bisol’s rich and powerful Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Cartizze 2016 (Bibendum). Cin cin!

Christmas Lunch by Chris Losh, competition director

Christmas lunch adverts get it spectacularly wrong. It’s not about the turkey and all the trimmings. In fact, it’s not about the food at all. It’s about the wine – of course it is! The food, after all, tastes pretty much the same every year unless, due to a shopping/flight/train malfunction you end up with emergency fishfingers or a Chinese takeaway.

We’ve tried goose (good but filled the kitchen with eye-watering smoke) and turkey (boring but requested by elderly relatives with non-functioning teeth) chez Losh of late. But this year we are heading back to our usual comfort zone of rib of beef. So if you want great white wine recommendations, look elsewhere. Though for sheer reasons of class alone I have to pick out the Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Chardonnay 2015, from Sonoma Coast (Berkmann). It won’t work with beef, but it’s a bloody good wine, and would be good if you’re having goose, turkey et al or have red-phobic guests.

No, for me, I’m heading towards two sweet spots from this year’s competition: Italy and South Africa. Chianti had a good performance in SWA 2018, with the Uggiano Fagiano Chianti Riserva 2013 (Boutinot) an absolute star. It won a Food Match and a Critic’s Choice Trophy as well as walking off with our overall Wine of the Year Trophy. Yep. You read it right. This is pretty much the best wine in the WHOLE COMPETITION and it costs well under a tenner. Serve it to relatives and tell them it’s a £25 bottle – they’ll never know, and it’ll make them feel guilty for getting you a crap present.

If you want to move upmarket, elsewhere in Tuscany there was some great stuff from Brunello, with the Frescobaldi 2012 (Hallgarten) starting to drink really nicely now. Serve it to whoever’s in charge of deciding your inheritance to prove how much you love them.

For real age, I’m looking at South Africa and the Morgenster Estate Red 2001 from Stellenbosch (Enotria&Coe). It has a lovely mix of old ripe fruit, secondary aromas and a touch of underlying leather and cedarwood. Seriously good – and should set you up for cheese and dessert nicely.

Christmas Pudding by Ed Warr, events producer

I am inevitably stuffed from the main event and needing a walk and then snooze…. No such luck, the Christmas pudding is released from its time in exile to be ritually set alight and presented to a crowd who all want the booze rather than the pud itself! And when you are giving them Justino’s Colheita Madeira 1996 (Liberty Wines) who can blame them. The walnut, figs and sweet dried fruits that come through on the palate help lift the richness of the Christmas pud and the wines’ touch of toffee will add to the overall indulgence of the day.

Christmas Supper by Christine Parkinson, head of judging

Christmas supper in my family isn’t exactly a meal, more of a slow evolution. Leftovers (aka ‘another helping’), always turn up, served cold with some pickle or chutney. As the wines from lunchtime are long gone, we usually revert to some nice, cold bubbles to freshen our appetites.  Henners Reserve 2010 (Boutinot) was one of many stand-out English sparklers at SWA this year and will have plenty of richness and complexity to drink nicely with the remains of the roast.

The real star on Christmas evening is a fully-loaded cheeseboard, and this is the ideal opportunity to bring out some dry sherry. Amontillado never fails, and the Fernando de Castilla Antique Amontillado (Boutinot) will be perfect. Its savoury, salty and nutty flavours and huge complexity will keep us all happy throughout an evening of nibbling, and even when hot mince pies finally make their appearance!

Boxing Day leftovers by Mady Lawes, marketing executive

My family’s Boxing Day leftovers don’t usually get eaten until late lunchtime. If we’re a little peckish, there are usually a few leftover sausage rolls from the previous morning to snack on. Sometimes we have enough turkey dinner leftovers, which I always gladly use to make a large pie. The main ingredients being turkey (obviously), stuffing, gravy, a few veg, a tin of cooked chestnuts, fresh leek and a homemade peppery white sauce. Bung it all in a deep pie dish with a puff pastry top and cook. It’s the most comforting Christmas leftovers you’ll ever have. And the wine? I’d pair Jeanjean, Mas Neuf, Sauvage 2017, a classic southern French rosé.

New Year’s Eve by Micaela Martins Ferreira, deputy competition director

Personally, 2018 was a very challenging year; as in life ‘we get what we plant,’ I'm very grateful for all the goals I achieved this year! To celebrate accordingly I will kick off my New Year's Eve with Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 2004 (Liberty Wines), with its green apple notes, and delicately nutty and creamy palate will definitely be a good match with some grilled king prawns!

As New Year's Eve goes on I'll switch to something slightly stronger to keep me going, Alves de Sousa, Quinta da Gaivosa Late Bottled Vintage 2013 (Atlantico UK, Top Selection) will certainly warm me up through the night with its mint and spicy cherry character. Happy 2019 everyone!