The most ‘wine-derful’ time of the year…

Blinis with AB Valley Azal
Smoked salmon blinis with AB Valley Azal
Mince Pies
Mince Pies with Mira la Mar Moscatel
Pear Tart
Pear tart with chocolate sauce & Mira la Mar Moscatel
Vola Volé Montepuciano
Vola Volé Montepuciano with Holly's vegan m'hanncha
Sausage Rolls with apple & lemon
Maria's Sausage Rolls with apple & lemon with Dr.Burklin-Wolf Riesling Trocken

We are soon approaching the most ‘wine-derful’ time of the year and with that in mind, we want to share with you what our team will be drinking over the festive season. Do you have any specials you’d like to share with us? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

Blanquette de Limoux from Domaine Rosier is a firm favourite with the team this year. Richard and Chris tell us it’s the perfect all-day drinking fizz, and well, we agree with them!

This sparkling wine from Languedoc is made by the traditional method, which means a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This creates a fine natural mousse and the rich brioche flavours we all know and love. Pale lemon in colour, with classic apple notes on the nose. The palate has elegant notes of apple peel, white peach, pear and white blossom. It’s fresh with a zesty acidity and a long floral note on the finish. 

Julia will be cracking open a bottle of this, whilst the rest of her family decide what to drink with the cheese course. She also recommends the Pauletts Trillians Red Sparkling with Wensleydale. Sparkling wine and cheese? Who knew? Julia, we like your style.

Maria, our designer, is also a keen baker and her homemade sausage rolls flavoured with grated apple and lemon zest sound a delight. “Nothing beats a sausage roll fresh out of the oven. We have stopped trying to ‘save them’ for Christmas tea, and instead just gorge on them as soon as they are cool enough to handle. They would be even more delicious with one of my favourite grape varieties – Riesling. This year I will try them with Dr.Burklin-Wolf Riesling Trocken Pfalz 2018”.

Our Vinho Verde’s from AB Valley are another popular choice this year. 

AB Valley Wines was formed in 2016 by renowned winemaker Antonio Sousa and vigneron Bernardo Lencastre. Their idea was to make wines which showcase the indigenous grape varieties of the region with the terroir of the sub region of Amarante. The terroir is ideal for grape growing; Amarante is protected from the influence of the Atlantic, has a high average altitude, higher temperatures than the regional average and the hottest summers overall. These conditions favour the development of late-maturing varieties such as Azal and Avesso.

Rich H, will be enjoying a pre-lunch smoked salmon blini or two with a glass of the Azal. Whilst Chris will be tucking into a classic prawn ring alongside this zesty white. It would also pair well with the retro prawn cocktail – a firm favourite during the festive season. 

For the main event, Chris will be opening a bottle of Musita Syrah, “great with roast beef but not so heavy to send you to sleep before Her Majesty’s speech!” Richard’s choice with turkey is the Lorgeril Cabernet Franc – “it has bright cherry fruit and soft tannins to balance and is full enough to take any food you throw at it – it could even be chilled a little bit”.

William will be enjoying the Ca Nova Corvina Veronese 2015, Agricola Gorgo. “We had this at home a few weeks ago and it was absolutely fab! Bursting full of notes of red fruit with a fresh and fruity nose. The palate is smooth and balanced, with a savory character and good structure. Perfect.”

Holly is experimenting with vegan choices, so is going to have a go at making a vegan m'hanncha (A filo pastry snake filled with lots of Moroccan spiced veggies and grains). She loves the Orsogna Vola Volé wines so will serve this alongside the Montepulciano

Orsogna’s Vola Vole wines are dedicated to the protection of bees. They are committed to safeguarding the vineyards’ ecosystem so that bees are safe and far from pesticides and herbicides. They have been certified organic for 25 years and adhere to the ‘Biodiversity Friend’ project. The finished wines are also heavily influenced by bees - the yeasts required to start fermentation are carefully selected from the pollen the bees collect from the natural wildlife surrounding the vineyards.

For Boxing Day leftovers, Richard proposes the Pauletts Riesling ‘Aged Release’. Neil Paulett holds back a small parcel of Riesling from the most successful vintages for an extended maturation in the winery’s cellar. After 5 years this dry Riesling has blossomed into an expressive golden wine. “This is absolutely essential for recovery with cold ham and turkey slices with Branston”. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend Boxing Day, that’s for sure.

The season is full of indulgence, so here we are with our favourite sweet pairings. 

Stir-up Sunday has just passed, and Rupert and family mixed up their Christmas cake, not forgetting to make a wish. “I find that the dried fruit in a Christmas cake or pudding match brilliantly with the reciprocating flavours in a good aged Tawny Port like ‘Taylors 20-Year-Old Tawny’. The warmth and richness of the Port transports you to the comfort of Rowley Birkin’s leather armchair but you can liven things up a bit by adding a dram of Scotch and a twist of orange if you want to bring it more up to date!”

Our dessert aficionado, Charlie shared with the team a gorgeous pear tart (courtesy of the team at Banks Bar Bistro) with a luxurious chocolate sauce (rustled up by Charlie’s wife Jill). This winter combination would match perfectly with our Mira la Mar Moscatel. Heavenly! 

Chris also recommends the Mira la Mar Moscatel with some blue cheese – the sweet and salty combination is a real winner. Also great with mince pies, and if you’re feeling really indulgent this season, splash into some thick and creamy porridge!

Rich H will be serving up his flaming Christmas pudding with our Tokaji 5 Puttunyos. “The only combo that ever shut my whole family up around the dinner table”. A real winner in our eyes!

Paul C champions the Familia Shroeder Deseado Sparkling Torrontés with the classic Eton Mess. For a winter twist on this summer dessert, swap the strawberries for some frozen mixed berries, and add some cassis and a pinch of cinnamon. 

This sweet sparkling from Patagonia, Argentina is from our friends at Familia Schroeder. Made from 100% Torontes, it is lemon in colour with green tinges. Fresh and fruity on the nose, with a delicate floral aroma. On the palate there are notes of ripe peach and apricot. Three months aged on the lees, adds body and depth of flavour to this wine. The natural sweetness is complemented by the zesty and refreshing acidity. 

Another killer combo from Paul C is an almond and fig tart, paired perfectly with a good Tawny Port. Both of these, Paul has assured us he has tasted. After all, the proof is in the pudding, but more importantly, the eating!

Tiramisu is Maria’s Christmas Day tradition. “We eat it only on this day, and the recipe is courtesy of Delia Smith! Creamy and delicious mascarpone filling, layered with amaretto and coffee-soaked sponges, finished off with shavings of dark chocolate. My mum loves sweet wine, so this year I will be bringing a bottle of the Chateau les Mingets Sauternes to the table. I cannot wait!”

Let us know if you try any of our team’s pairings and please remember to drink responsibly, especially through the festive season. 

Merry Christmas from Team Ellis Wines!