Top tipples for Christmas

CHRISTMAS BREWS (l-r)Lervig: All I Want For Christmas – 15% £25; De Ranke: Père Noël – 7% £3.90; Anspach & Hobday: The Pfeffernüsse Stout – 6% £4.70

In his monthly column, Alex Greig from Fuggles bars and the Bottle Shop in Camden Road reveals his top festive drinks…


We’ve been lucky enough to try some wonderful drinks this year – and Christmas is a perfect time to treat yourself (or a friend) to something a bit special. From dark and rich beers laced with festive spice, through to some stunning natural wines, we think we’ve covered all the bases this year. So here’s our yearly rundown of special Christmas treats to enjoy over the festive season…

Who doesn’t like a cheeky glass of fizz on Christmas morning? I’ve two to choose from this year, at opposite ends of the spectrum, but both are lovely drops and will certainly get the festivities started on the right foot.

First up, we have a delicious Cava from Bocchoris. Cava doesn’t get enough love and for the money. This example is aged for 30 months, it’s light and creamy, with lots of green apple, apricot, citrus and hints of brioche. Excellent value too!

At the other end of the scale, we have a stunning Blanc de Noir from London’s Renegade Urban Winery. It’s pretty special stuff, of which only 800 bottles have been produced. Hand-harvested Suffolk grapes (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) go into this white sparkling wine made from red wine grapes, which then undergoes a complex primary fermentation in ex-Chardonnay barrels. It’s final secondary fermentation in bottles happened in the crypt of Christ Church Spitalfields! With hints of crisp citrus, vibrant freshness and freshly-baked bread. It’s quite the treat!

My pick of this year’s Christmas beers come from De Ranke in Belgium, Anspach & Hobday in London and Norway’s Lervig Brewery. De Ranke’s Père Noël is a really nice festive treat – it’s not sweet and cloying like some can be – it’s amber in colour and laced with the addition of liquorice. With some lingering bitterness on the finish, it sends you back in for another sip.

Anspach & Hobday have taken inspiration from the German Pfeffernüsse biscuit for their seasonal Pfeffernüsse Stout. With ginger and cinnamon, joined by warming spices and rich chocolate notes this is a bit of decadence. Finally, something to share: Lervig’s barrel-aged eggnog stout, ‘All I Want For Christmas’. It’s creamy, thick and delivers notes of rum, winter spice, vanilla and nutmeg

So what about some wine? Well, let’s crack open some treats as it’s a special occasion. The Wine Mechanics Syrah is stunning drop. Made in Sweden, with the grapes grown in France’s Northern Rhone region and transported immediately after harvest to Gothenburg, where the magic happens. Full-bodied, silky smooth with blackberry, redcurrant and subtle, warming, peppery spice. On the white side, Fitz, who are down in Worthing, Sussex, make a lovely Ortega.

Citrus and peach up front, with some honeysuckle on the finish – a nice treat with the turkey I think! Alternatively, maybe you fancy something a little different – a bit of a palate cleanser perhaps, or just something you’ve never tried before? In that case, check out FIN Wines from Australia. Their Area 51 Pet Nat Rose is a lovely drop of sparkling wine. Loads of bright raspberry and cherry notes, really crisp, with a little bit of sorbet coming through.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

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