Cyprus Mail

Festive wines you should try

Unless you grew up on a vineyard, or the child of a rich and famous man with a sweeping, cavernous wine cellar, or have a savvy qualification, picking wine is not easy task. No more trying is the pastime than at Christmas and New Year, when you’ve got relatives or friends coming round for a plate of plump roast turkey. What do you pair with your bird, or lamb souvla if you follow the local tradition? A cheeky Gruner Vetliner or a fruity Shiraz? No.

And let’s not forget that friend who professes to be an expert in all things vintage. Will she sneer at your bottle of Pinot Noir? Who cares, but still it’s advisable to have something affordable but simultaneously delicious on the table isn’t it? There are lots of good wines out there and expense doesn’t always equate to quality. I have asked the major wine importers to recommend me their best wine choices to accompany their festive dinner (under €60).

2014 Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir D.O. Casablanca Valley, Chile
This is a Pinot from the classic 20 Barrels collection from Cono Sur winery. Red fruit aromas of strawberry and raspberry combined with light herb aromas such as rosemary and bay leaf. The palate delivers floral and red fruit notes, with hints of balsamic and a soft touch of caramel and licorice. It is a wine of good structure and balance with fine tannins and roundness. (€20, Photiades Distributors)

2012 Domenico Clerico Barolo DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy
Garnet-red in colour with ruby shades, a dark and succulent expression of Nebbiolo from a warm vintage. An intense perfume with clean scents of spices, vanilla, roast hazelnuts, licorice, cacao and wild rose. On the palate it has full, elegant flavour, austere and good-bodied, with recurring olfactory sensations. The hints of spices and of wood blend perfectly. (€53.50, Vinologie)

2012 E Guigal, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône Valley, France
A stunning effort and showing the class of the vintage, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape is comprised of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvédre that spent 24 months in foudre prior to bottling. Rich, textured and medium to full-bodied, with ample black cherry, olive tapenade and subtle meatiness. This traditional effort stays pure and lively, with fine tannin emerging on the finish. It can be consumed now or cellared for over a decade. (€39.50, La Maison du Vin)

2013 Leopoldo Francheschi, Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Il Pogione, Toscana, Italy
A go to Rosso di Montalcino with a ruby red colour, bright, delicate and vibrant. Fruity bouquet with red berry notes, dried cherry and orange peel character. Medium body, tannins, this is a very well structured, mellow, long-lasting flavour with smooth, light, velvety tannins, accents of earth, tobacco and spice as they linger on the tangy finish. Rounded and long, it shows focus and precision. (€36, Vinoteca)

2013 Domain Skouras Megas Oinos, Nemea PDO, Greece
The colour is bright, deep crimson. The nose reveals aromas of blackberries, black raspberries and ripe strawberries with just a touch of anise and spices such as clove and cinnamon. It is a medium-bodied wine with graceful texture, balanced acidity and very ripe, elegant tannins. The finish is moderately long, full of red fruits with a touch of sweet vanilla and black pepper. (€24, Cava Dionysion)

2014 Gianpiero Marone Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy
It has a deep garnet red, with traces of orange that become more evident over the years. Elegant leading off on the nose with perfumed aromas of rose, cherry, strawberry and white pepper, generally this wine has a fresh fruit fragrance in the first months which evolves to spices with vanilla scent and violet. The profile is sleek with a solid base for acidity and tannins, dry flavour of gentle robustness which reveals consistency and extraordinary aristocracy. It shows terrific length, evoking fruit and mineral on the aftertaste. (€35, Vassos Eliades)

2014 Gérard Bertrand, Domaine de L’Aigle, Pinot Noir, Limous, Pays D’Oc, Languedoc, France
Charming, but with a hint of wildness, plush yet rustic, this captivating Pinot Noir effortlessly balances layers of cherry, ripe cranberry and wild blackberry with notes of leather, earth and spice. Touched with a kiss of the finest French oak, it carries through to a velvety finish that is both long and lush. (€23, French Depot)

2013 Torres Celeste, Crianza, Ribera Del Duero DO, Spain
Dark cherry red with garnet highlights. Intense aromas of dark fruit such as black cherries and blueberry jam with smoky and roasted notes, such as coffee against a wonderfully elegant oaky backdrop. A serious wine with juicy tannins, velvety and round thanks to the dried plum perfume of oak ageing. (€25, Ghalanos)

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