the TWELVE WINES OF CHRISTMAS at the Bistro!
December crept up over the weekend and with the Christmas Markets in town, the streets lit up and the Bistro decorated, the festive season is well and truly here! We’re celebrating the lead up to Christmas and the last of our stock of some amazing wines. We’ll tell you a little about a different wine every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, up to December 21st. However, don’t worry – all the wines will be available while stocks last, but there is limited stock!
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #1
For the first Wine of Christmas the Bistro brings to you the Fiano di Avelinho Mezza Giorno! An aromatic, sauvignon style with gooseberry hints, this wine is made from the Fiano grape variety, which was described by Pliny the Elder as ‘the grape loved by the flies and bees’, ie: ripe, with a high sugar content and beautifully attractive. That’s some endorsement! The Fiano grape is traditionally grown in Sicily however, it has been a great success in Apulia, high up the heel in the south east of the boot that is Italy, and this is where the Mezza Giorno (pronounced ‘mezza jiorno’) vineyard is found. The Fiano di Avelinho Mezza Giorno is an astonishingly fragrant version of this grape which can go from honeyed and round to nettley and bright. This is the latter and somewhat a revelation!
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #2
For the second Wine of Christmas the Bistro brings to you the Pinot Gris Villa Wolfe from Germany. Pinot Gris is exactly the same grape type as Pinot Grigio but is grown in an area of the German vineyard that delivers particularly fragrant and luscious styles of wines. This wine has a firm, greengage-like flavour, and very slightly off dry. It is your universal white in that it matches well with anything you typically think of as going with a white wine in general. But it’s also a very pleasant treat in its own right! From a great winemaker – Loosen, from the Mosel-bought Villa Wolf (pronounced ‘villa volf’) in Rheinpfalz, Central Germany, who woke the whole thing up!
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #3
Our first red in the Twelve Wines of Christmas is the Vin datable ‘Le Sabounet’. This wine has a peppery, robust with a tasty broad palate. It is a Rhone blend from a famous Chateauneuf du Pape maker Monsieur Sabon. Chateauneuf du Pape means ‘new Castle of the Pope’ when the papal court was moved to Avignon. This was the earliest ‘appellation controlee’ or defined area of production, as so many tried to make fake copies. Syrah and Grenache are generally the predominately grapes used here but famously, you may, but are not obliged to, use 13 different grape varieties in the blend. This is, like many Rhone wines (from near and around the great river Rhone in South-East France), made up with several grape varieties that all bring something to the party – Syrah for intensity, Grenache for body and spice, Cinsault for softness and elegance and a small amount of counoise, again for spiciness. It is a big tasty and robust wine, though not necessarily deep coloured. Try it with any game dish like our December menu braised goose leg or with any of our Scottish cheeses!
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #4
If you only make it down to try one of the Twelve Wines of Christmas make sure it’s the Madrian ‘Tours’ 2008 (pronounced ‘maddeeron towroose’) from Madrian in South West France only 90 miles from the famous Bordeaux region and its great rustic tradition. This particular wine is no longer available but we have 3 bottles left in our cellar so make sure you don’t miss this great vintage. A powerful rich country, animalistic mixture created by fashionable but real Alain Brumont, this wine is 50% Tannat, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc. It combines both floral notes and country barn in one; hefty, juicy and spicy. Oaked and well balanced the Madrian ‘Torus’ 2008 is fit for rich dishes, games and stews.
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #5
This snazzy bottle holds your 5th wine of Christmas; the Gruner Veltliner 2012 (pronounced ‘grewner felt-leaner, zepp mohwzer’). This fresh, leafy and peppery dry white comes from Austria, home of many widely admired wines and Sepp Moser who is perhaps Austria’s best known wine exporter. This is the country’s best known grape; literally ‘the green one from the (Alpine) valley of Valtellina’. A lighter, but not flimsy, type of wine that lifts the senses. For pairing think pretty much any white meat, salad and pastry.
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #6
Our second Italian tipple and sixth wine for the twelve wines of Christmas; the Primtivo del Salento ‘Conviviale’, pronounced ‘primmiteevo con vivvy arley’. ‘Primitive’ in this context refers to the early nature of the plant’s flowering. This wine, which tends to come from warmer areas, is from the Salento peninsula in Puglia and spends six months in cask. It is thick textured and big flavoured with dark ripe fruits on the palate and a dusty finish.
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #7
For the 7th wine of Christmas the Bistro brings to you The Albarino ‘Finca Arantei’. Let’s start off with a Spanish language lesson! ‘Albarino’ (Pronounced ‘al – bah reenyoh, finc dey arrantey’), literally means the “little white one from the Rhine”. It is made in the North West, Celtic area of Spain, Galicia, where they are fanatical about fresh fish. The controlled area of production is called Rias Baixas, which means ‘low estuaries’ in the local language, facing the Atlantic Ocean. Finca means ‘estate’ or ‘farm’ and indeed this is the product of a single vineyard. This middle weight wine is very slightly peachy, nutty, and apricot in style, which is complimented by a scent of lemon and has crisp palate.
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #8
For the 8th Wine of Christmas the Bistro brings to you the Gavi di Gavi ‘Nuovo Quadro’, pronounced ‘Garvy dee Garvy noo-owvo quadrow’ rolls so easily off the tongue to order, and goes down a treat. A lovely ‘minerally’ white – think stony or pebbly – dry, mid strength in flavour and mid weight. Made from the cortese grape this wine has a lovely trace of honey on the nose. It is produced in a single vineyard near to the town of Gavi, in the hills of Piedmont, North West Italy and this particular wine is made from the best corner of the vineyard from old vines and best facing position. The Gavi di Gavi ‘Nuovo Quadro’ compliments most grilled fish, and seafood dishes – lucky there are plenty of those on our Christmas and December menus!
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #9
Made by a dedicated independent winemaker from a single Domaine in South West France the Savignon Blanc Columbard ‘Domus’ (pronounced ‘sow vinn nyon blon colom barr’) cleverly combines the general soft and approachable Colombard grape with some really fine Sauvignon Blanc, which in this case has very tropical and gooseberry flavours. This white is very aromatic and quite light in alcohol – perfect guilt balancer against the belt stretching of the rest of a Christmas spread! The Domus will accompany many fish, white meat, and salad dishes, and is quite light in alcohol.
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #10
The Pinot Blanc Reserve 2012. Although the grape Pinot Blanc normally produces wines quite neutral in flavour, this is from Alsace, on the French side of borders between France and Germany, where they seem to manage to extract a lovely peachy flavour, and yet leave a wine with body and dry finish. The Pinot Blanc Reserve (pronounced ‘pee-know blon, carve dew terk-hime’) is made by one of France’s most successful co-operative wineries. We recommend this wine as an excellent pairing with chicken, salad, or light rich dishes.
The Twelve Wines of Christmas #11
For the 11th wine of Christmas the Bistro brings to you the Dao Reserva 2010, Caves Alianca, Dao, North Portugal (pronounced ‘dow(ng)’ cavez allyansa’). The area is named after the local river Dao which travels through worn granite soils, quite high up and inland from the coast. The wines are fantastic value, constructed mainly from the Tinta Roriz (tempranillo), Touriga Nacional and Bastardo and Baga grapes. The wines are fulsome, dry, fruity but finishing with fine tannins that make it excellent for red meats and pasta. Oak aged though not woody.
#12 Wine of Christmas!
It’s here; the Bistro’s 12th & final wine of Christmas! What’s more fitting just days before the celebration of Christmas Day for our 12th wine than a beautiful champagne! The Champagne ‘Gremillet’ (pronounced “grreymeeyay”) is made by a family company who are known for their fruity, accessible style. They proudly state this is served in many embassies across the world – so you’re in good company if you sip on this! Champagne may only come from a tightly restricted and defined area of vineyard about 90 miles to the NE and East of Paris. It may only be made from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunièr and Chardonnay. It always seems to have both greater refreshment qualities and weight and flavour than many other imitators.
Merry Christmas Edinburgh!