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Sommelier’s Picks: A Handy Holiday Wine Guide

Needless to say, 2020 has been a strange year for everyone. With a rollercoaster ride of restrictions, quarantine and stay-at-home orders, there’s something about upholding holiday traditions that brings about a certain sense of comfort and reassurance. And for us, that’s uncorking a good bottle or two. This year, we’ve tapped our sommelier team for their top wine picks to stock your home holiday bar. Whether you’re having a few friends over or sipping solo, we can all agree that a toast is in order to say so long to 2020, and ring in a brand new year.


Best wines to pair with Christmas dinner

Johann Kwon | Crown Super Deluxe
If you are lucky enough to be celebrating this Christmas with extended family, I’d highly recommend a bottle of Marziano Abbona ‘Papa Celso’ Dogliani DOCG, from Piedmont in Italy—an easy-going and approachable wine that the whole family can enjoy. The wine is made from the Dolcetto grape variety, one of the most widely cultivated in the Piedmont region. Fruit-driven and juicy, and very smooth in texture, the wine is a beautiful complement to the traditional Christmas dinner, pairing well with poultries, meats, and even raw tomatoes. This family-friendly bottle will add a definite sparkle to your Christmas table.

Carla Lourtioux | Carbone
Personally, Christmas dinner is the most exciting night of the year, with lots of food, wine, gifts, and precious family time. The best wine to serve with Christmas dinner would have to be a bottle from my home, the region of Loire Valley. More precisely, Fiefs Vendeens Cuvee Reflets from Domaine Saint-Nicolas. A bottle which both young and old can appreciate, the wine is very approachable with a base of Pinot Noir blended with Negrette, Gamay and Cabernet Franc. This nectar is crunchy on the palate, with red berries and peppery aromas. The balance between fruits and spices matches perfectly with the traditional roast turkey, and the cranberry sauce which my mum loves to cook for Christmas Eve.

Jean-Baptise Copot | Buenos Aires Polo Club
The best wine to serve with Christmas dinner has to be a wine that reminds me of home. Let me take you to the magnificent Rhône Valley, where you can find one of the most iconic Syrah, the E. Guigal ‘La Mouline’ Côte-Rôtie 2014. A young bottle, but already showcasing the many flavours of blueberry, cured meat and black pepper. It’s the perfect wine to pair with dishes of a rich nature, from foie gras to truffle.

Best wines for gift-giving

Wingate Ng | Osteria Marzia
The Dr. Loosen, Riesling Eiswein has never let me down. With notes of honey, dried apricot, and peach, the sweetness is balanced out with the lively acidity of orange peel. It’s a guaranteed way to sweeten up someone’s holiday!

Jean-Baptise Copot | Buenos Aires Polo Club
Fortified wines are some of the best wine gifts out there, because you can easily find the vintage matching the birth year of the person you are gifting to. For example, take the iconic Vintage Port 1985 of Warres: Just imagine the look on your friend’s face when they open a bottle that has been harvested the very year they were born. It’s a memorable moment to treasure, and also the perfect pairing with the traditional Christmas pudding.

Constanza Cabello | Associazione Chianti
I am someone who believes that champagne is good for every occasion, and so I will follow Napoleon Bonaparte’s advice and recommend a bottle of bubbly. Since moving to Hong Kong I’ve developed a huge obsession with champagne: not only to drink, but also to study, understand the history, and meet the producers behind each and every bottle. In 2019, I was lucky enough to travel around Champagne and meet Anselme Selosse to visit his vineyard and cellar, and taste some of his wines. I was impressed by his determination and connection to his work. So for me, the best wine to gift would have to be what I consider as Anselme Selosse’s masterpiece: Jacques Selosse Substance Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Avize.

Best bubbles to ring in the new year

Constanza Cabello | Associazione Chianti
To toast, I would have to recommend a bottle by Cédric Bouchard, a young producer in the south area of Champagne, the Aube. Roses de Jeanne Le Haute Lemblé Blanc de Blancs is produced in Celles-Sur-Ource, a very small vineyard where approximately only 500 bottles are organically farmed and made every year. Definitely a very unique champagne to say goodbye to this very unique year.

Wingate Ng | Osteria Marzia
Maison Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Cuvée Sainte-Anne is a very good (non-vintage) champagne. The champagne develops a crystalline texture and elegance, with a balance of vigorous bubbles and wine. It’s the best way to toast to 2021.

Kevin Lu | BELON
Krug 1979. It’s a good champagne year! Even though it loses some bubbles, it demonstrates so much nutty flavour while accentuating details of candied fruit and dried flowers. This kind of champagne is exactly what is needed to welcome 2021 during this trying period.

Best bubbles to buy in bulk (if hosting NYE!)

Kevin Lu | BELON
I’d recommend Anna de Codorniu NV, a beautiful cava from Penedès, Catalonia, Spain. The cava has a fruity character and subtle toasty notes, as it is made following the same method as champagne. It’s the perfect choice for something similar to champagne, but at a better price point.

Carla Lourtioux | Carbone
Why not enjoy a sparkling wine from Loire Valley? I’d recommend the Jo Landron Brut ‘Atmospheres’. A wine blending Folle Blanche, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay using the Traditional Method, the attack is a crisp, incisive wine with a citrus character, lemon zest, and green apple. The wine opens up your appetite, and is perfect for helping you continue dancing and singing your way into 2021 after a big dinner.

Johann Kwon | Crown Super Deluxe
We drink water every day. Why? The answer is this—we never get tired of it! It’s simple and fresh, the same philosophy I stick to when shopping for bubbles in bulk. This season, I’d recommend stocking your fridge with Freixenet Prosecco NV: Floral, citrusy, crisp and fizzy, it’s (almost) a replacement for water! For me, this simplicity is the ultimate sophistication when it comes to entertaining.

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