Wine to Dine – Christmas 2022 – River Tweed

Read wine columnist James Robertson‘s full reviews of his pairings for this year’s Scottish Field festive feast.

CHECK out the recipes in the December issue of Scottish Field magazine and then take a look at the matching wines…

Wiessburgunder Trocken, Weingut Schwartstrauber, 2020, Bancroft Wines, £17.50
It’s not all about Riesling; try this lovely balanced Pinot Blanc from the Pfalz with the sea trout or the grouse salad. So often one forgets that there are other wonderful wines from Germany, not just their great Rieslings. This Wiessburgunder has lovely pear drop and apple notes and, as mentioned, is great with fish or a rich salad but also delicious on its own.

Tilting Tree Sauvignon Blanc, Moldova, 2021, Co-op, £6
A cracking value wine with classic apple, herbal fruit notes, which will be a perfect foil for the scrumptious hare and pork rillettes. The quality and value of this wine proves that countries like Moldova are well worth checking out. The family-owned winery also opened its doors this year to Ukrainian refugees, allowing them to stay free of charge in some of their rooms and also raising money to support more than 1,000 families who are currently staying in the country.

Manzanilla, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Miraflores Baja, Cockburns of Leith, £12.99
There is nothing like a chilled Copita of Sherry to enjoy alongside the nettle soup and with the mushroom toasts. This is heaven. The Palomino grapes are grown on a 20-hectare plot close by the ocean. The resulting Fino Sherry having been aged for four years has an amazing balance of brioche, ripe apple, citrus, and a tinge of honey. Worth every penny.

Domaine de Mourchon, Cotes du Rhone, 2019, Avery’s, £14.99
This wine – which is made high up the hill in Séguret – has the full rich bramble fruit to partner perfectly the festive-spiced venison casserole with chestnuts and prunes. The winery was created by the McKinlay family back in 1998; winemaker Sébastien Magnouac is the mastermind behind this gem of a wine that has bundles of bramble, cherry fruit with chocolate and spicey notes.

Domaine Montrose Prestige Rosé, 2020, J&B, £7.50
To match the warm grouse and the black pudding this Rosé is just the ticket with its balance of red fruit and acidity. This wine comes from an estate in the Languedoc that is more than 300 years old and is now totally carbon neutral. The wine is a delightful pale pink, made from Grenache Blanc and Roussanne plus Grenache Noir and Syrah aged in oak barrels for five months. There is a light summer fruit note with balanced acidity and a rounded finish.

Altano ‘Rewilding Edition’ Douro, 2020, Tesco, £10
An elegant, fruit-driven red from the Symington Winery in Portugal that balances really well with the barbequed hot and sticky partridges. This wine is named after the pioneering conservation work in rewilding parts of northern Portugal; proceeds from the wine goes to assist these efforts. The wine itself highlights the fact that this area can also make table wine and not just Port. Easy drinking now but could easily be kept if you can for up to five years.

Morgon Clos du Vieux Bourg, 2020, Wickham Wines, £15.75
A wine that pairs with both the seared roe loin or the hare and pork rillettes, this Beaujolais works due to its soft red fruit notes of cherry, kirsch, and cranberry. Dominique is a 14th-generation winemaker at Clos du Vieux Bourg; the family vineyards date back to 1590. At the age of 72 he is still making wines from the historic village of Morgon – “dedicating one final slice of life to his beautiful vineyards to make the best not the most”.

Orange Gold, Gerard Bertrand, Majestic, £14.99
Don’t be put off by the colour “russet orange” as the complex layers of peach, lemon, and apricot will combine really well with the poached pears to finish off the evening. This is an incredible blend of French classic grape varieties – Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Viognier, Mauzac, and Muscat. Orange wine seems to be quite the trend these days but more than 4,500 years ago this was practiced in Georgia. Gerard Bertrand has made this wine as a fitting tribute.

Read more of James’ reviews on his drinks blog, The Grape & The Grain.