A show of hands please for those who are looking for some festive drinks to enjoy over the holidays?
Every year I put together a little tipples list of the beverages I’ve enjoyed in the year, and those that I want to celebrate the festive season with.
Most of 2018 was spent shunning alcohol because I’ve been “up the duff”, but I have enjoyed a cheeky glass here and there – and a few more once baby was out because I needed to celebrate the strength of my downstairs.
I love cooking over Christmas, and enjoying long, lazy lunches with family and friends so this is my festive drinks guide featuring my picks of wine and gin that I think you’ll enjoy over the festive period and beyond, plus some yummy pairing suggestions.
Graham Beck Brut Zero
I used to, and this was a long time ago, not be a fan of MCC (Method Cap Classique…Champagne for the Frenchies). I know, what was wrong with me?! I was taken on a journey of discovery with Graham Beck at a function to celebrate their various offerings which featured a vintage tasting of their Blanc de Blanc (one of the best bubblies in the country) and a strong love was born. For a bubbly that’s bone-dry and great with sushi, or as an apperetif, their Brut Zero is a must.
Brampton Sauvignon Blanc
This might come as a surprise, but I like my Sauvs to be on the green side. I figure that there’s enough fruity deliciousness in Chenin, so give me the green pepper, tart gooseberry and French herb mix in this Brampton wine and I’m stoked.
Pairing idea – Peach, tomato, mozzarella and basil salad | R69 from Makro
Vriesenhof Pinot Noir 2016
One of my favorite reds is Pinot Noir and when it comes to a good Pinot Noir, oak is merely the stage it stands on, not the coffin it’s buried in and one winery that fully understands, appreciates and excels at PN is Vriesenhof. Theirs is velvety smooth, with prominent strawberry and cherry aromas and a floral, delicious finish.
This will pair beautifully with your roast gammon dishes, as well as turkey with a cranberry sauce | Available from their website for R300
Holden Manz Chardonnay Reserve 2017
Oh sweet, delicious sunshine. This might be my favorite white wines of 2018. It’s a big statement to make, but it’s absolutely delicious. It’s a big wine, given lift and life by delicious citrus notes that will make it a hit with those who dislike buttery Chardonnays.
A rich Chardonnay will go perfectly with a creamy dish such as potato gratin, or even a pasta | Due for release
Da Luca Sparkling Rose
Costing just R89 (yes, I’m amazed too), this sparkling wine – we can’t call is Prosecco because of red tape – is a real delight. If I’m honest, I was expecting something slightly sweet and insipid, what I got was dry, plush red berry flavors and a lovely finish. This is probably going to be on everyone’s list over the holidays.
Pairing idea – Rooibos Panna Cotta with Berry Coulis
Vergelegen Reserve Semillon
No wine list would be complete without a sweet, dessert wine and this beauty, from a winery that I will never be able to pronounce properly (don’t even make me), is made from one of my favorite white grapes and is the perfect end to any meal. This is a rich wine to savour, with jasmine notes, and citrus and stone fruit aromas.
Pairing idea – Christmas Shortbread | R308 from Cyber Cellar
Villiera Tradition Brut
Simple and understated, this is a stalwart bubbly to have in your fridge for whenever you need to toast something…like the fact that it’s nearly the end of the year….and you survived it.
I am a HUGE fan of Whitley Neill Gins but their Protea and Hibiscus flavored Gin is my favorite. It’s smooth and flavorful, pairing perfectly with a simple tonic and some slices of lime.
Clemengold Gin is stylish and fresh, perfect for summer weather. It pairs particularly well with fruitier tonics.
Durban Dry Gin has floral notes and a distinct sweetness to it making it very moreish. It’s not got so many awards for nothing!
I buy most of Gins from Makro because there are always great deals and their range is constantly growing.