So here we are on the eve of the most wonderful day of the year. Important decisions need to be made. The critical moment is upon us…what to drink with the bird? In my family, this meant trips down to the cellar with my father for lengthy (and chilly) deliberations. Would we go the traditional route and serve red Burgundies…a lightbodied red for a subtle meat? Or perhaps a more original choice; something fruity and round to off-set the dryness of turkey. Barossa Shiraz became the go to wine for a number of years.
Of course, choosing the turkey wine was just the tip of the iceberg. There was also the post main course tipple, the after dinner digestif and, for certain members of the family, a wee dram to finish off the night. With a heaping plate of turkey and stuffing consumed, and sometimes (often) a second helping too, we often ran a serious risk of not finding enough room for Christmas pudding. This is where our French traditions save the day, in the name of the trou normand, jokingly referred to as “the norman hole” in my family. This consists of a shot of chilled Calvados with a small scoop of apple sorbet. The sorbet cleanses the palate while the alcohol burrows a perfect pudding sized hole in the stomach.
With the feast at its end, my father, with a wicked gleam in his eye, would push back his chair and say something that infuriated my mother like “that was edible”. The lovely little crystal glasses would be brought out and the heavy decanter. To celebrate the births of each of his three children, my father bought from the best port houses that declared the vintage. He dreamed of opening the bottles with us to celebrate the key moments of our lives: important birthdays, our weddings, the births of our children and so on. It has been almost 8 years since his passing, and the number of dusty, old bottles are sadly dwindling. The trips to the cellar are still an integral part of Christmas, though they hold a bittersweet note now.
So, in loving memory, this year we hold up our port glasses with Offley Boa Vista Vintage Port 1982. It is glorious; incredibly fresh & vibrant with roasted hazelnut, dark chocolate, blackberry & figs. On the palate it is velvetty and smooth, with a layered texture and a long, nutty finish.
Merry Christmas one and all!