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Add Christmas cheers with top wine tips from Twisted Cellar's Iain Alcott

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Director of hydration at Bishop's Stortford's Twisted Cellar, Iain Alcott, has come up with some top tips for Christmas tipples. The wine and food enthusiast, who has more than 15 years' experience in the hospitality industry, joined the South Street wine and spirit shop and bar in 2019...

Everyone’s favourite time of the year is fast approaching – Christmas! Often a time for us all to say ‘sod it’ to diets and exercise and scoff turkey, mince pies and mulled wine with our loved ones.

Even though this is not a conventional Christmas, I can assure you at the very least this tradition will most certainly endure – even if it is done via the very modern medium of Zoom.

Iain Alcott (43596333)
Iain Alcott (43596333)

My favourite part of Christmas prep is getting to choose the wines I’ll share with the family on the big day, but it’s not always an easy task.

One would normally suggest a light red or full-bodied white to go with turkey. However, it may get lost among all the goose-fat roasted spuds, tart cranberry sauce, gravy and rich bread sauce.

A festive fizz is always a sure-fire way of getting the yuletide games to begin. In the current climate, it has become even more apparent that we should help local, small, independent businesses thrive, and what better way to show our support than buying local sparkling wine?

The Twisted Cellar in Bishop's Stortford (43596110)
The Twisted Cellar in Bishop's Stortford (43596110)

English sparkling wine in recent years has gone from strength to strength and is most certainly giving the best champagne houses a kick in the derriere, being awarded some of the highest accolades in the industry.

None more deserving than Sussex’s Roebuck Estates (£32.50) – their Classic Cuvee, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Petit Meunier, has oodles of elegance and finesse; lemon curd and spice sit over a yeasty, brioche-infused core, with a hint of truffle. It’s intense but fresh, with delicate bubbles that linger on the palate and will pair wonderfully with smoked salmon, crab or prawns.

There’s always a lot riding on the vino that gets to sit next to the turkey and all the delicious trimmings. It’s got to be the star of the show, and structure and body are hugely important.

And in our humble opinion, no other wines work as well as a good Burgundian red.

Twisted Cellar team (43596335)
Twisted Cellar team (43596335)

The iconic Taupenot-Merme’s Bourgogne Pinot Noir (£25.50) is a seamlessly elegant bottle from 2017. Whilst having excellent fruit qualities, it also has enough texture, definition and development to match the feast set before you.

By this point, if you haven’t stuffed yourself to the point of combustion we would be slightly disappointed, but there is always room for pud!

And what better to wash down all that deliciousness than a bottle of Somerset Cider Co Ice Cider (£16). It’s a rather exquisite British take on the German or Canadian Eiswein/Icewine, made with over 100 Kingston Black apples.

This bottle is bursting with aromas of baked apple and honey. It starts sweet but has a strong tannic backbone and long pleasing finish, and is something to complement that magnificent cheese selection, trifle or even that Christmas pud with brandy cream.

Time for a nap? Yes please!

For more details see twistedcellar.co.uk

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