There’s likely to be a misconception that our Society buyers uncorking wine at Christmas may be a bit of a busman’s holiday, but this is not the case. We live and breathe wine, and there’s scarcely a better time than Christmas to show off our favourite bottles to our nearest and dearest. Ever wondered what fizz our Champagne buyer drinks at Christmas? What pairs best with cold cuts? And do any of our buyers drink beer? Find out all this, and more, below.
Buyer for Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Eastern Europe and beers & ciders
‘For Christmas Eve, it’s always smoked-salmon blinis with a glass of Champagne, perhaps Champagne Henriot Brut due to its excellent value and luxurious flavour. This will likely be followed by a classic Negroni or a slightly more seasonal “Sloegroni” with a twist of sloe gin.
‘On Christmas Day, it’s got to be the turkey, and as is always the case with all home cooks, I take great pride in my roast potatoes. I’ll also have some honey roast parsnips and cheesy leeks, but the highlight for me are the Brussels sprouts with walnuts, pancetta and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
‘As my family’s wine expert, they trust me to take the lead with the wine, which is no bad thing! I’ve usually tucked away a good bottle of red for the occasion – it's an excellent time of year for a special bottle of red Burgundy. There’s also always a riesling or grüner veltliner on the table too, naturally!
‘Boxing Day is reserved for sandwiches of leftover meat and vegetables. I also like to crack open an old beer with my dad and my dog, Baxter. A pub visit with my brother-in-law is a Boxing Day must, but I love to explore craft beer at Christmas time as well. My favourite? The Porter from Anspach & Hobday.’
Sarah Knowles MW:
Buyer for Champagne, North America and Italy
'On Christmas Eve, we go out for great Turkish food – mostly the wonderful starters – lots of filo, feta, aubergine and hummus. A brilliant meal with no washing up! On the day itself, we have Christmas-tree crumpets with Marmite and Champagne for breakfast, with turkey and trimmings for late lunch and leftover tea with extra ham.
‘When it comes to wine it’s Champagne, Champagne, and more Champagne! We always try and have extra Society Champagne for this time of the year (in magnum, if possible). We usually opt for old favourites for the Christmas meal – lots of young fresh pinot noir and Langhe nebbiolo. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I’ll have Champagne for dessert with all the cheese.’
Buyer for Rhône, southern and regional France and Germany
‘Our Christmas Day tends to be rather traditional, so we enjoy a classic roast turkey with all the trimmings. One thing I like to do is presenting 13 desserts Provence style – it’s quite a sight on the dining room table and feels very festive.
‘Our wine selection is simple, nothing fancy. I do all the cooking, so I’ll open a bottle of riesling while I prepare our meal – usually a Spätlese or Auslese. I’ll also probably have a glass of Society Champagne before tucking into a late lunch. With the Provence-style dessert table, I’ll open something appropriate to match. Samos Muscat is a common favourite.’
Buyer for Greece, Hungary and England
‘Christmas Eve is always a large roast ham, cheesy leeks, mashed potato and spiced red cabbage (a prized Delia Smith recipe). It’s my favourite meal of the Christmas period. To drink, we often go for a South African chenin (something like The Society’s Exhibition Chenin Blanc). Or, my wife and I will happily slug through a bottle of quality Kabinett riesling.
‘We normally have around nine drinkers for Christmas Day, so it’s very much volume over quality in our house! Christmas Day is always turkey, and we’ll typically have a white and a red to go alongside. My sisters insist on New Zealand sauvignon blanc, while I’ll plump for an old Rhône such as a Gigondas, a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, or a Saint-Joseph – but that depends on who’s paying!’
'Boxing day is always cold cuts. Leftovers from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a selection of salads, pickles and baked potatoes. For me this has cabernet franc written all over it. Lightly chilled and enlivening.’