What Cheshire household would be without a bottle of fizz on Christmas morning? And Christmas is the time for a near-as-damn-it perfect quaff. We asked wine connoisseur and founder of The Wine School of Cheshire, Richard J Smith, for a few liquid recommendations.
Get celebrations off to a flying start by raising a traditional glass of Bucks Fizz on Christmas morning. Make it that extra bit special with a few secret ingredients – a dash of cherry brandy and a squeeze of clementine or tangerine juice will take it up a notch, but don’t go overboard with your choice of fizz as the addition of Orange juice can interfere with the flavour.
Richard recommends: M&S Oudinot (£25).
For a touch of glamour try a Peach Bellini – simple and delicious. Just whizz up a strained tin of peaches (preferably in juice) add a dash of peach schnapps to a small amount of the fruit and pair with a light fruity Prosecco, from Veneto.
Richard recommends: Le Dolci Colline (£11).
For all-day quaffing, buy British. Our English Sparkling is every bit the match for Champagne, and you still get slightly more for your money.
Richard recommends: Gusbourne Estate Brut Reserve (£38).
And at the Christmas table? A Blanc-de-Blancs with its deep oaky flavour. This delicious fizz is 100 per cent Chardonnay and makes a fantastic accompaniment to Turkey and light meats.
Richard recommends: Gusbourne Estate’s Blanc-de-Blancs (£45).
With red meats or cheese, Richard recommends a quirky Bordeaux style blend from Stellenbosch in South Africa. These wines are exclusive to Cork’s Out and are outstanding. Try the High Road Classique (£21) and/or the Directors Reserve (£31).
A fine Armagnac is a welcome gift after a heavy meal (well it was originally used for medicinal purposes). With complex notes of dark chocolate, coffee, liquorice, candied fruits and oaky spices, Baron de Sigognac 20 Year Old Bas Armagnac (£69) is a gold award winner at the International Spirit Awards.
Many thanks to Richard J Smith of The Wine School of Cheshire, which organises fine wine tastings and events across the North West.