Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic as a title for my first Christmas in the wine trade, but last year was a real eye opener and gave me a wonderful insight into the fun to be had in the retail side of the business.
Leading up to the big day, most of our hospitality customers would rather if they were just left to it, meaning we were free to give a helping hand to shop manager Jonathan Tew, and boy did we get through some wine.
The Christmas before – the covid nightmare lockdown of 2021 – we were seriously limited in our movements, so last year it was like the shackles were off and our lovely customers came out in their droves. I’m not saying Harrods January sales in the 1970s, but still a good number enjoying a chat, a few tasters and leaving with some cracking bottles.
There is nothing more festive than a bit of yuletide music fluttering around a busy shop, and everyone immersed in the Christmas spirit.
A real eye-opener is the amount of wines sent to customers from our corporate clients.
What a great way to communicate to someone that they are a valued customer through the gifting of a bottle of wine and a generous gesture of kindness. Classy!
Christmas day is always a bit of a challenge wine-wise, because of the abundance of food on offer.
Some may start with a traditional seafood cocktail or some smoked salmon.
How about a glass of rosé?
Nothing hits the mark quite like a stonking great glass of Chateau Peyrassol La Bastide (£19.99, Fine Wines Direct UK).
This gastronomic style is dominated by wild berries which reveal themselves on a crisp, silky palate enhanced with an elegant touch of minerality.
If turkey is on the menu – alongside the hundreds of different vegetables, sauces and gravies – then you need a good all-rounder, that is able to handle the array of flavours and textures.
Bordeaux is the traditional way to go with cabernet sauvignon and merlot harmonising together to create a melody on the tastebuds.
Chateau Du Seuil Graves Rouge 2018 (£19.99, Fine Wines Direct UK), has all the requisite fruit, tannins and acidity to do this very job, with balanced plum and blackberry fruit to the fore and delicious finish.
Another option is the Chateau Malescasse 2014 (£34.99, Fine Wines Direct UK) a rich, fruit-laden Bordeaux with a touch of inkiness giving it a weightier texture. Delicious.
Another option is pinot noir, especially for those who like their reds a little lighter, with lots of juicy red fruits.
The Scott Base Terra Nova Marlborough Pinot Noir (£17.99, Fine Wines Direct UK) has aromas of spice, currant and dark chocolate. A juicy cherry mouthfeel matches perfectly with the grippy bitterness of the dark cocoa notes and sits perfectly with turkey or game.
The best option though, is to pop into the shop and have a chat. It’ll be lovely to see you.
Happy Christmas, one and all!