Words, wise or otherwise, about wine

Vincisive Christmas Wines

Christmas! Just the mention of the word starts to bring a shiver of excitement. Sadly, I’m a long way past the days of waking up ridiculously early with a feverish anticipation of what amazing goodies Santa may have left below the tree for me. More importantly though, this is the time of year when we celebrate with friends and family. When loved ones come together to share happiness, joy, good food and of course wine.

This excitement at the imminent arrival of guests can be edged with a certain amount of trepidation about getting the food just right and having the perfect wine to serve with it. While I can’t help with the cooking as well as Nigella or Delia, I can offer you some handy hints and suggestions for wines that will match, and compliment, your efforts in the kitchen.


The obvious choice here is Champagne and why not? Champagne can be delicious, it’s the perfect celebratory drink and a wonderful way to relax your guests and get the party started. Champagne is refreshing and is also a wonderful foil to anything with a pastry base, seafood or charcuterie.

Tarlant Brut Reserve Champagne NV  £25.95

A beautiful Champagne that is seductive and generous with powerful aromas of crunchy apple, mirabelle and grilled almonds. Remarkable liveliness with hints of honey cake and caramel, this champagne will delight your guests 


Oysters straight from the shell, tiger prawns, even lobster are all beautifully complimented by a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Sancerre is the old fashioned choice, but South Africa offers a style of Sauvignon Blanc that is perfectly poised between the overtly fruity New Zealand style and the sometimes austere (and overpriced) minerality from Sancerre.

Uva Mira Sauvignon BlancUva Mira Sauvignon Blanc  £12.50

Tremendous value for money this is more old world and mineral driven than tropical fruit forward. For those seeking a good value alternative to Sancerre, the refined balance of this refreshing wine, combining ripe flavours of gooseberry, lime and fig with bracing acidity, gunflint and minerality, this Sauvignon Blanc gives the perfect match to a wide range of seafood.

Awarded a Gold Medal at the 2009 Michelangelo International Wine Awards and listed in First Class with South African Airways.


The traditional meal at this time of year is of course turkey which is a wonderfully versatile meat that offers a range of flavours and textures that are delicious with a variety of wines. As this will normally be the main event, it makes sense to pair with a high quality wine that will neither dominate the meal nor be overpowered by it. We’re looking for balance, elegance, depth and complexity and two grape varieties fit the bill perfectly, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Newton Johnson Domaine Pinot NoirNewton Johnson Domaine Pinot Noir 2010  £17.99

The recipient of a coveted 5 stars from Platter, this is the only South African Pinot Noir to receive this honour in consecutive vintages.

It has superb intensity on the nose with wild strawberry, Morello, crushed flowers and a touch of citrus lemon, a real doppelganger for Burgundy. The palate is well balanced with crisp, fleshy red berry fruit with crisp, taut acidity and a feminine silky smooth finish. This is how Pinot Noir should be: vibrant and life affirming!  93 points – Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate

Uva Mira ChardonnayUva Mira Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2010  £27.50

Consistently rated 4½ – 5 stars from Platter, previous vintages of this wine have won many awards, including IWSC Best Chardonnay in the World. This is a stunning Chardonnay with Burgundian minerality and beautifully finessed oak integration. The perfect wine for special occasions that is the equal of Burgundy’s finest Premier Cru wines.

Sourced from 14-year old vines, winemaker Matthew Van Heerden has produced one of South Africas outstanding Chardonnays that stood out like a sore thumb in a blind tasting. – 94 points, – Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate


A succulent fillet or an extravagant rib of beef deserves an equally bold wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannin in the wine melts in to the beef protein allowing the bright fruit flavours of the wine to come to the fore.

Amares Cabernet SauvignonAmares Cabernet Sauvignon 2007  £17.99

A total of eight barrels of hand-made wine, originating from the 2 Ha of environmentally friendly vineyards surrounding the Amares winery. The nose hints at dark-skinned berries, a promise of mint and other herbal aromas. The wine has a broad palate with an attractive mouth feel from ripe grapes backed by mature tannins and a dry cedar finish.

Awarded best Cabernet Sauvignon in Stellenbosch and Simonsberg by the South Africa Terroir Wine Awards. A deserving title for this elegant wine that is gaining in complexity with time in the bottle.

Christmas Cake, Christmas Pudding and Stilton Cheese

There can only be one choice at Christmas time and that is mature vintage Port. South Africa has been producing fortified wines for over 300 years and this example from JP Bredell’s shows the benefit of all that experience.

Bredell's Cape Vintage ReserveJP Bredells Cape Vintage Reserve 2001 £16.99

Grown in the well drained soils of the Helderberg basin, the traditional Portuguese Port grape varieties combine to give a powerful fortified wine that is capable of rivalling the best of the Douro. 5 stars from Platter, a Gold Medal at the 2006 Michelangelo awards and an Old Mutual Trophy in 2008 are testament to the quality and purity of this wine.

Mature and ready to drink now, this Vintage Port style wine is powerful with aromas of dried fruit, plums, raisins, ripe blackberries, blackcurrants, Christmas pudding, liquorice and spice. The palate is muscular with strong tannins and alcoholic grip but is voluptuously rich and packed with dark fruit flavours, mocha and mint. This is a decadent wine to finish a perfect meal matched with the finest Stilton cheese.


These wines are all available at www.vincisive.co.uk and a mixed case of these 6 wines is on offer for £105 giving a saving of over 10%. Delivery in the South Cotswolds area is free. Please email info@vincisive.co.uk to order, quoting xmas


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