"Seaside" Wines for an Algarvian Christmas

Whether you're passing the Brussels, bacalhau , side salad  or bûche de Noël you need to think seriously about wine pairings at Christmas.Ripe brambly fruit, orange peel, Christmas spice, and potpourri are just a few of the notes I would be looking for in a, full-bodied red.One wants spicy and savoury with hints of plum rasberry,violets and rosemary,it need to knock the new cashmere socks off both New and Old world drinkers.
 In contrast my choice of white should offer clean fresh citrusy, perhaps unoaked and crisp notes.They may strike you as sharp, even acidic, but it is an acidity that dissipates in contact with a raw oyster or a bowl of clams and ham. Clean as a whistle, crisp – a word freely bandied about by wine writers, someone I am not,and never will be, but when I read the word crisp in association with wine I am mystified.
 “Crisp” to me is for freshly starched bed linen or cos lettuce, not wine.it is perhaps slightly more illuminating than “mineral” which implies slatey or the adjective  petrolly which conjures up carbon monoxide fumes.

When I think of Christmas fare, I imagine rich round roasted items like butternut squash, sweet potatoes, chestnuts, whipped potatoes, butter, butter and more butter.
 With the whole family gathered for the holidays, it’s essential to have  affordable, versatile, and most important of all, crowd-pleasing wines. 
First of all lets not forget fashionable albariño from Spain’s Atlantic coast (and its Portuguese cousin, alvarinho) The Iberian Peninsula’s greatest white grape variety is taking hold around the world
Then there is the other part of the variety’s original home, across the border from Galicia into northern Portugal, where alvarinho is widely used as a blending component in the improving, zesty, often-gently spritzy, light whites of Vinho Verde, but is also increasingly made as a single-varietal,in such  graceful, vital, subtly flora strains as Allo (above) from the house of Soalheiro.Average Price (ex-tax) €5.20 Casa Rosada would be happy to put this on its Christmas table.
Wines that are good with seafood are often actually made near the sea. I have become a great fan of these "seaside" wines, in particular the fast growing varieties of  the Algarve.Our new favourite this year is So blanc from Rui Vrginia´s house, Barranco Longo.So Blanc is "So beach," it conveys memories of that  southern Portuguese heat; enjoying poolside conversations with friends enjoying  hours of sunset. This Algarve sauvignon blanc offers citrus, passion fruit, leaving on ones nose feeling of unbelievable freshness. I always liken Pedro Ximenez to christmas pudding in a glass.So this must be the Algarve summer in a glass.Average Price (ex-tax) €9.95
For the most demanding of christmas tables I would go for Barranco Longo´s Petit verdot
( above right). Deep coloured,with balsamic tones.Smoky black fruits and blackcurrant are all present here with a beautiful peppery finish.Average Price (ex-tax) €15
For a value for money option I would plump for these two wines from the particularly cool microclimate of Villa Alvor, a place where Algarve wines are born and bred.
A blend made with the best white varieties of the Algarve – crispy and fruity – the embodiment of this terroir that finds its twin in the maritime influenced limestone soils of Provence. An elegant White wine that will remind you of a salty sea-breeze and that will delight your senses in every tropical note including passion fruit.A Portuguese wine perfect to pair with Algarvian cuisine.Arinto, Sauvignon Blanc, Antão Vaz and Verdelho Price (ex-tax) €6.95
 The red has a  gripping structure that is the result of the limestone soils of the property where it is produced.
Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Aragonês and Trincadeira 
Price (ex-tax) €6.95


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