John Gilchrist is a former UK Sommelier of the Year and winner of the Mondavi award for the best wine list in the world. A seeker of unknown wine gems, John runs Les Caulins, a gîte and cookery school in SW France, with his wife (and chef) Emma. They have won many awards including the 50 best destination restaurants in the UK and Wine Pub of the Year.
He gives us his pick of Christmas wines.
Emma and John Gilchrist
Around this time of year, because I am “the wine guy”, I am often asked what to drink at Christmas.
Mulled wine is a staple in our house during the festivities. It should never be a complicated drink; simple is best and fills the house with beautiful Christmassy scents. Not too hot just warm and sweet with a tickle of spice, heady with alcohol and quaffable.
I am lucky tasting wine throughout the year and always happen upon gems that I buy for celebratory meals.
This year we are drinking a Crémant de Bordeaux of great finesse. Château Tour Calon – Lateyron Cuvée Abel is a blend of old vine Semillon with a touch of Cabernet Franc. The bubbles are fine with a nose of vanilla roasted nuts and lime and delicate palate of hawthorn and currant.
White this year comes from Domaine Chante l’Oiseau, south west of Domme in western Dordogne, where the soil in this tiny vineyard is similar to that of Grand Chablis. Cuvée Champs de la Tour is an elegant smokey and buttery chardonnay balanced with a stamp of chalky minerality and baked apples.
Red is from the great Joseph Janoueix who has numerous chateaux in Saint Emilion, Pomerol & Castillon. Château la Croix St-Georges is one of the most velvety wines I have had privilege to taste. The 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc Pomerol is the deepest purple with sweet, silky, blackberry and truffle flavours and is perfect with Roast beef.
For dessert this year Château Doisy Daene from Barsac. A beautifully sweet sauternes that is never cloying and is great to finish a meal as it partners both blue cheese and dessert.
You can find John’s recipe for Mulled Wine here
First published in the November/December 2019 issue of The Local Buzz