ANDYou know that feeling right after Christmas when you’ve had enough? Enough turkey. Mince pies more than enough. Enough filler, metaphorically and literally. You, and when I tell you, I guess I really mean me, you crave crisp salads, the invigorating acidity of citrus, and the fresh green hint of herbs like coriander, mint, and aniseed dill.
Well, I think there is a wine equivalent to that. After the big Christmas Day hits, lush chardonnays, high-alcohol reds and big shoulders, we want crisp whites with a bite and reds with refreshing acidity on the palate. We want to forget the cold that is coming, close our eyes and think of bistros and cafes on the beach, and sharing a good bottle of wine with a plate of seafood.
That’s when the wines we enjoy during those happy summer months when we weren’t locked in come into play again. Like the tasty sauvignon blancs from New Zealand and elsewhere in the southern hemisphere, which are just beginning to appear in the 2020 vintage. Rosé, once a summer-only drink, but now according to Waitrose’s latest trend report, an option for the whole year, whose sales this fall increased by 57% compared to the same period of 2019. Definitely a wine to drink when you don’t know what to drink.
Riesling hits the spot too, especially if you subject your leftover turkey or a post-Christmas veggie cooler forage to Southeast Asian flavors or a spicy Thai green curry.
And I want my reds bright and full of fruit. Beaujolais fits the bill, as does the mencia from northern Spain, but I’ve only recently been captivated by vibrant Sicilian reds like nerello mascalese and frappato.
If you’re still planning a New Years Eve party, it’s definitely time to get out that bottle you’ve been saving for a special occasion, given that nothing could be more worth celebrating than the end of 2020. If you’re making Rachel Roddy’s deeply tasty juniper pork and boletus, which could be a mature chianti. And if you need to go out and buy a bottle, Marks & Spencer looks pretty festive. Poggio Tosco Chianti Riserva 2017 (13.5%) for £ 12 (also available through Ocado).
Personally, I’m floating between a banquet of smoked fish with blinis, lumpfish roe (I can’t afford caviar) and frozen vodka or a mont d’or vacherin with new potatoes and champagne or, more authentically, a Jura savagnin. Even if we cannot escape for the moment, we can resolve to travel through the wine.