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Festive Wines: Part 3

We have definitely saved the best for last in our series of Christmas blogs, as we cover some of our favourite wines to enjoy with festive puddings!

Richard: Christmas Pudding

The ideal wines to partner traditional Christmas pudding should be full bodied red wines with lots of sweet spice, such as cinnamon and clove, or a spicy dessert wine. If you prefer something a little richer, opt for an aged Tawny Port.

Banyuls Rimage 'Les Clos de Paulilles', Château de Jau, Roussillon, France 2012 (50cl) - £14.55
LBV Fonseca Port 2008 - £17.95

Lewis: Chocolate

Chocolate desserts have the tendency to smother many wines, due to their extreme sweetness and mouth-coating texture. To avoid this, choose a wine that has at least as much sweetness as the pudding, as well as being full of flavour to match the chocolate.

Personally, I think a sweet red wine is the best option; our Maury from Domaine Lafage in the French region of Roussillon would be an ideal partner.

Maury, Domaine Lafage, Roussillon, France 2013 (50cl) - £13.65

Philippe: Fruit puddings

The majority of fruit-based puddings are less sweet than other popular festive desserts, while many also possess high levels of acidity. These characteristics can be matched perfectly by a sweet wine with fruit notes, such as our Petit Manseng Doux from Domaine Cabidos, which displays powerful quince and tropical aromas.

A personal favourite of mine at this time of year is Tarte Tatin. The high acidity of the apples and sweetness of the caramel component are delicious when paired with a glass or two of Rivesaltes Ambré, a fortified amber wine made from the Grenache Gris and Maccabeu grape varieties.

Petit Manseng Doux 'Cuvée Comte Philippe', Domaine Cabidos, South West France 2011 (50cl) - £16.50
Rivesaltes Ambré Hors d'Age, Domaine Lafage, Roussillon, France NV (50cl) - £13.65

In the lead up to Christmas, the l’Art du Vin team would like to spread a little festive cheer. In order to do so, we would like to offer all our customers 10% off your total bill when you buy through our website. To take advantage of this offer, which will run until the 24th of December, you simply need to enter the discount code XMAS2015 when prompted as you complete your purchase.

Thanks to those of you who have come to visit our pop-up Christmas shop in our warehouse in Charlestown, near Dunfermline. We will remain open until 2pm on Christmas Eve, so please feel free to pop-in at any stage from 10am until 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you have any specific food and wine matching requests then please do not hesitate to give our office a call on 01383 873 510 and speak with one of our in-house experts.

Festive Wines: Part 2 (+ Xmas online discount!)

This week in our festive themed blog we look at the best wines to try with yuletide main courses.

In the lead up to Christmas, the l’Art du Vin team would like to spread a little festive cheer. In order to do so, we would like to offer all our customers 10% off your total bill when you buy through our website. To take advantage of this offer, which will run until the 24th of December, you simply need to enter the discount code XMAS2015 when prompted as you complete your purchase.

Also, a further reminder for those of you who would rather browse our range physically, our pop-up Christmas shop is now open in our warehouse in Charlestown, near Dunfermline. Please feel free to pop-in at any stage from 10am until 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Announcements done, time to crack on with this week’s blog!


Turkey is without question the favoured choice for the Christmas Day main course in the UK. Generally, it is not particularly powerful in flavour and also possesses a low fat content. In order to match its weight, you could select a full-bodied white or a medium-full red wine, but the turkey’s lack of fat means the wine must not be too tannic.

Another factor to consider is that many of the most flavoursome components of this traditional course arrive in the form of the side dishes. Cranberry and redcurrant sauces come with a sweetness that will not react particularly well with an aged red wine, so go for a younger, riper bottle such as something from Beaujolais. If instead, you tend to serve your turkey with bread sauce, opt for a full-bodied white or an aged Rioja.

Our suggestions;
Oaked Chardonnay, Seven Springs, Hermanus, South Africa, 2011 - £14.15
Fleurie Vieilles Vignes 'Le Vivier', Domaine Lardy, Beaujolais, France 2014 - £13.65
Rioja Reserva, Bodegas Altanza, Rioja, Spain 2008 - £16.75

Richard: Venison

“Venison is a real luxury that deserves a top quality wine. Nothing does the trick quite like an earthy wine such as a Southern Rhone or a New World Shiraz. Rich and deep with spice round the edges!”

Madiran L’Origine, Chateau d’Aydie, South West, France 2013 - £10.15
Syrah, Seven Springs, Hermanus, South Africa 2012 - £14.15
Massif d'Uchaux, Cotes du Rhone Villages, France 2012 - £13

Philippe: Roast Beef

“For me, a good Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot, with some well-chosen and correctly cooked beef is a joy: a common dish for festive meals around Christmas time.

Organic Legado Cabernet Sauvignon, De Martino, Maipo Valley, Chile 2012 - £12.95
Château Le Grand Verdus Cuvée Generation, Bordeaux, France 2011 - £13.25
Organic Malbec/Merlot "Le Classique", Chateau Tour Des Gendres, Bergerac, France 2013 - £12.20

Lewis: Duck, Goose, Quail & Guinea Fowl

Duck, Goose, Quail and Guinea Fowl are all quite flavoursome and can cope with more powerfully flavoured wines than those chosen to complement chicken. A Pinot Noir/Gamay or a white Burgundy will match the slight “gameyness” of these birds.

Montagny 1er Cru 'Les Coëres' Domaine Feuillat-Juillot, Burgundy, France 2013 - £17.85
Gamay Pinot Noir de Touraine, Domaine de la Rochette, Loire, France 2014 - £9.85
Pinot Noir Soli, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria 2012 - £11

If you have any specific food and wine matching requests then please do not hesitate to give our office a call on 01383 873 510 and speak with one of our in-house experts.

Visit our festive shop!

Over the next few weeks, we are expanding the shop service that we offer at our warehouse in Charlestown, near Dunfermline, which is now open from 10am until 5pm, Monday-Friday.

Alongside our full range of wines, we have set-aside a carefully selected collection which will provide perfect food and wine matches for a whole variety of traditional festive dishes.

For those of you in Fife who had planned to head into Edinburgh to purchase your festive wine, why don’t you drop in to see us instead? To compensate for the inconvenience caused by the Forth Road Bridge closure, we will be offering all locals who come to visit us 10% off our normal website prices.

Likewise, for those who travel to see us from further afield, we would like to offer the same 10% discount for the trouble that you will undoubtedly encounter on the roads on your way!

Complimentary tea, coffee and mince pies will be on offer alongside expert advice from our team.

We look forward to welcoming you all to our festive pop-up shop.


The l’Art du Vin team

Festive Wines: Part 1

Christmas is fast approaching and the festive mood is certainly starting to take effect in l’Art du Vin HQ – although the less said about our logistics assistant Lee’s renditions of Michael Buble’s yuletide classics the better!

As the pre-festive rush begins, over the next few weeks we aim to assist you with one of the trickier Christmas decisions, that of which wines to select as an accompaniment to the numerous Christmas meals we will sit down to over the coming month.

This week we begin by looking at wine options for traditional starters, selected by members of our staff.

Philippe: Smoked Salmon

“To complement a smoked salmon dish, it is best to select a wine that has good acidity. This enables the wine to deal with the oil and fat of the fish, much the same way that many people use a dash of lemon – in order to cleanse the palate.”

“Personally, my top picks would be either Champagne or Chablis. Both are high in acidity and are also medium-bodied, thus ensuring they match the salmon’s weight.”

Brut Tradition NV, Champagne Janisson et Fils, Champagne, France - £29.90
Chablis Domaine de la Meulière, Burgundy, France 2014 - £15.00

Richard: Prawns, Shellfish

“When picking wine to drink with prawns or shellfish, I think it is best to select those that possess depth and breadth of flavours, as often these dishes will be cooked with butter, garlic and a number of other flavours like parsley, basil. Grape varieties such as Viognier or Gavi are perfect for this situation.”

“If you are eating seafood that is grilled, then you have to contend with the added complexity of the smoky, chargrilled flavours. With grilled scallops, for example, I would opt for a richer, fuller white, something like our Albariño from Bodegas Terras Gauda.”

Viognier, Terre des Olivettes, IGP Pays d’Oc, France 2013 - £8.45
Gavi de Gavi Monserito, Tenuta Carretta, Piemonte, Italy 2014 - £13.85
Bodegas Terras Gauda, Albariño Abadia de San Campio, 2014 - £16.85

Lewis: Pâté

“Due to the fact that most patés are relatively fatty, it is best to select wines that come with some acidity: an Alsace Pinot Gris or Riesling would be perfect. Gewurztraminer also provides an interesting match, the spicy dimension of this grape variety helping to bring to life the terrine and match flavours of pickles or chutneys.”

“If you fancy being more adventurous, try a light red containing plenty of berry fruit flavours. When served slightly chilled, these flavours will complement the paté excellently. My tip would be a Beaujolais – why not opt for this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau which displays the exact bright berry notes which make this pairing work.”

“If you are having a heavier paté such as Foie Gras, the wine will require increased richness and acidity. In this instance, a sweet wine such as a Sauternes is the perfect, and classic, accompaniment.”

Gewurztraminer Tradition, Domaine Albert Mann, Alsace, France 2013 - £19.55
Riesling Mehrlein Edelmann Trocken, Rheingau, Germany 2013 - £12.75
Château Filhot (Half bottle), Sauternes, France 2009 - £21.70
Beaujolais Nouveau, Domaine Lardy, Beaujolais, France 2015 - £13.85

Black Friday – Cahors

Here at l’Art du Vin HQ, every Friday is Black Friday – that is, when we are indulging in a dark, inky glass of Malbec from Cahors.

Named ‘black wine’ in the Middle Ages, Malbec is now ubiquitous on restaurant wine lists, primarily due to the commercial success of those wines produced in Argentina. In fact, both France and Argentina produce very distinct styles of wine from the same grape variety, owing to the many differences in the growing conditions of each area.

Also known as Côt and Auxxerois in some areas, Malbec was first planted in Cahors by the Romans over 2000 years ago. Since then, local winemakers have produced robust, rich wines that are dark purple in colour and that have sufficient quality and structure to keep for many years.

Yet despite Cahors’ claims to be the home of Malbec, 70% of worldwide Malbec production now occurs in Argentina. There is a dramatic difference in taste between the two regions due to the fact that Malbec is a fantastic indicator of how terroir affects wine production. As a grape that is highly vulnerable to rot, frost and pests, it is widely considered that Malbec offers a true reflection of the climate in which it was cultivated.

Malbec in Mendoza

Mendoza is home to 70% of Argentina’s vines, the majority of which produce Malbec. Infrequent rainfall and soaring summer temperatures combine with the high altitude of this mountainous region and a huge temperature swing between day and night to produce grapes that display good levels of ripeness and acidity.

The resulting wines owe their fruit-driven nature to this increased level of exposure to this intense sunlight, producing robust wines with brambly black fruit notes, including black cherry and plum, and sweet floral nuances, such as violet flowers, along with hints of chocolate and tobacco.

Malbec in Cahors

In contrast, the overriding traits of the French Malbec are concentrated towards the leathery end of the red wine spectrum. Black plum is still often present, yet plays second fiddle to green savoury notes, as well as black pepper and spice. They also possess higher acidity that the wines of Mendoza, owing to the cooler climate of Cahors, and as a result, tend to age longer, developing notes of tobacco, coffee and meaty notes.

At l’Art du Vin, we are proud to work with a number of wonderful Malbec estates across both Argentine and French regions, including our ‘black wine’ producers at Châtea du Cèdre in Cahors.

Under the guidance of our friend Pascal Verhaeghe, the team at Château du Cèdre produces Malbec wines that are both fruity and possess the necessary composition to improve with age, a true expression of their exceptional terroir and perfect for your glass this ‘Black Friday’ weekend.

6 Bottle Malbec Case - £77.35

Shiraz/Malbec, Villa Vieja, Mendoza, Argentina 2014 - £8.80
Quinto Malbec, Riglos, Valle de Uco, Argentina 2012 - £17.90
Festivo Malbec, Bodegas Monteviejo, Valle de Uco, Argentina 2014 - £10.85

Cuvée Prestige, Château du Cèdre, Cahors, France 2010 - £19.85
Heritage du Cèdre, Château du Cèdre, Cahors, France 2012 - £11.75
Malbec Cedrus, Château du Cèdre, Cahors, France 2014 - £8.20

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