These Southern Hemisphere Christmases with the sun, swimming pools and surfing Santas still feel strange to me, but I can tell you this – I LOVE 'em! Christmas in the UK is very dark and dreary with too much doom, gloom and commercial crap going on, so I am delighted to escape from all that with some summer sizzlers for everyone to enjoy in the Christmas sunshine instead.
Chill out – with red wine!
Yes, I do mean this. There is nothing wrong at all with sticking a bottle of red wine in an ice bucket – in fact I would strongly recommend it. In this kind of heat, all red wine needs to be brought down to temperature a little in order for it not to be like drinking liquid jam, and some wines positively adore sitting in ice for half an hour or so before being served up in frosted glasses. Try something light and lovely like Kleine Zalze’s Gamay Noir or Ken Forrester’s Petit Pinotage or look for a good fruity Pinot Noir (Two Oceans is amazing value) or an easy-drinking Merlot such as Swallow from Natte Vallei. And all these wines will go really well with a lovely peppered fillet or some juicy ribs too.
Zingy, zippy, zesty
There’s no getting away from it – braaied seafood and crisp, zingy white wines are a seasonal match made in heaven. If my friend gets his act in gear, he hopes to pick up a couple of crayfish and some prawns for a festive braai and I will definitely be glugging down plenty of my new fave easy-drinker, the Glen Carlou Tortoise Hill White with them. If you’re a Sauvignon fan, then try Bouchard Finlayson’s lip-smacking version or Du Preez Estate’s bargain Sauvignon if wallets are feeling a bit thin. And for Chardonnay-lovers you cannot beat Van Loveren’s Wolverine Creek Reserve (if you like well-balanced oak) or the Klein Genot (if you like it wood-free).
Off-dry and delicious
If you like your life to be a little sweeter then I can thoroughly recommend the Altydgedacht Chatelaine, made from a blend of fruity, aromatic grape varieties. And a couple of pleasant pinks to think about include Delheim’s Pinotage Rosé and Arniston Bay Rosé too. Very, very yummy with Double Chocolate Brownie ice cream…..
Oh where do I start here then? If you want to go big, it has to be Bollinger although I did enjoy the new Henri Giraud champagne from Inke Gouws the other day. Staying local, you could try the Steenberg Pinot Noir, the Boschendal Rose, the new boutique fizz, Genevieve or the exceedingly enjoyable Weltevrede range. Good value always comes from Villiera and J.C.Le Roux and I can strongly recommend the Monro from the first and the Le Vallée from the latter.
The Last Word
And now is definitely the time to crack open all those lovely sweet and sticky bottles you’ve been saving all year. I’m going to be enjoying some Jordan Mellifera with my chocolate Nemesis and a glass (or four) of De Krans Vintage Reserve Port with my cheese – bring it on!
What’s going to be gracing your Christmas table this year? Tell us your favourite food and wine combos for Christmas Day.