For Christmas gift ideas or corporate needs, contact Colin Bridger, our wine expert, at Die Bergkelder in Stellenbosch. He recommends the following for Christmas Day:
For drinks before the meal, taking into account our warm South African climate over Christmas, a cold glass of Fleur du Cap Natural Light or the recently released Rose would be ideal. A light style white or rose wine with a 9% alcohol and 9 grams of sugar per litre makes this option a perfect pre meal drink. It is predominantly Chenin Blanc with a dash of Sauvignon Blanc giving it a lovely upfront fruity bouquet on the nose and a crisp long lasting tropical fruit palate. It’s a bargain at R45 per bottle.
Another option is a rewarding J.C. Le Roux Brut NV for the lovers of Méthode Cap Classique wines. This wine is made from predominantly Pinot Noir and a small percentage of Chardonnay grapes and has been matured on the lees for 12 months. With its light yeasty tones and powerful Pinot Noir flavour, accompanied by its elegance and hints of youthfulness. This stylish MCC at R85 per bottle complements any occasion.
For those who enjoy an off-dry sparkling wine, my recommendation is the J.C. Le Roux La Vallée Rosé. This Demi Sec Méthode Cap Classique is a fresher and lighter style of MCC and is made from bubbly will suite all palates with its salmon blush, light yeasty tones and fruity flavours. A great pre-meal palate cleanser for R90 per bottle
For something different I recommend you trying a whisky cocktail made with our South African Three Ships Whisky. Launched in 1977, the Select is a three year old blended whisky matured in specially selected oak casks. This mixes very well with ginger ale, a few blocks of ice, a slice of orange and a few mint leaves – very refreshing at R132 per bottle.
The Main Event….
Moving onto the Christmas meal itself and what to pair with what traditional dishes, I have a few recommendations or pointers that you might use.
For those lovers of traditional turkey with stuffing, a Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Shiraz 2012 (R115) is recommended, when the sweeter trimmings like Cranberry sauce or jelly is served. This is a beautifully balanced, well integrated wine with hints of pepper on the palate and backed by sweet spices and dark fruits.
The old favourite roasted chicken is always a winner on many a Christmas table and for those whose preference is for white wine at lunch the Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chardonnay 2014, at R108 per bottle, is a perfect match. On the nose it is packed with peaches, blossom and dried fruit notes. This full-bodied wine is complex with beautifully integrated fruit and vanilla oak flavours in perfect balance.
For the Gammon lovers, of which there are many, especially when prepared in the classic way and garnished with pineapple rings and glacé cherries, the Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Riesling 2014 (R56) is an ideal pairing. On the nose you will find it to be floral and fruity with pineapple and spice whilst off dry, crisp and fresh with hints of pineapple and lime with a lively finish on the palate.
If you prefer the Gammon to be served hot, then a light, fruity, soft red such as a Pinot Noir will pair happily without any confusion. The Lomond 2012 Pinot Noir (R145) has a good fruit expression on the nose showing cherries and ripe strawberries, rose petals and a hint of cinnamon spice. The palate has silky smooth tannins that ensure a well-rounded finish with a medium-long aftertaste.
With roast lamb served with traditional gravy, roast potatoes and vegetables, it’s hard to beat a Cabernet Sauvignon. The classic pairing of a fine, young or old star quality Cabernet with roast lamb is considered to be one of the most exact gastronomic matches. Cabernet also stretches to new heights in the presence of two herbs, rosemary and thyme. For these reasons I have chosen an unusual Jacobsdal Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 to pair with the roast lamb. The farm uses an old traditional method of natural fermentation in open concrete tanks. The cap is punched down regularly for maximum extraction of colour, flavour and tannins. On the nose the wine has black current and soft vanilla oak, while the palate is full bodied, concentrated fruit with a good tannic structure. I am confident that you will enjoy this wine at R110 per bottle.
No Christmas meal is complete without the traditional Christmas pudding. A clever choice to pair with the pudding is a well-chilled Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest, whose good acidity works well when served with cream or custard. On the nose one picks up attractive aromas of raisins and marmalade while on the palate it shows apricot, peaches and a touch of citrus. A sweet success at R135 per bottle.
And finally to end…
A few of my suggestions for drinks when relaxing after the Christmas meal would be from a selection of our handcrafted, award winning Pot Still Brandies. Klipdrift Gold is an excellent value for money purchase at R305, this is a multi-faceted or multi layered brandy. It has tones of fruit, spices, nuts and chocolate. It’s a 9 vintage super premium brandy with 12, 15 and 21 year old components making up the blend. Another premium, award winning brandy to really spoil your guests with is the Van Ryn’s 15year old. This brandy has won numerous awards internationally and locally. It has a remarkable mix of a citrus/honey character with fragrant tones of cigar box on the nose and an unforgettable full, complex finish of chocolate liqueur on the palate.
At R1 090 per bottle it is worth every tot to enjoy.
These wines and brandies are all available at the Bergkelder Fine Wine & Spirits Centre
You are always welcome to contact me for any assistance regarding your wine selection or if you have any questions.