And now for something a little different…
Well with a week until Christmas, I’m pretty sure you are running around buying presents, food, stocking fillers (have you seen Garrett’s list of the ideal gift for the Eurovision fan in your life!) Well I have a way you can support your favourite Eurovision nations, even as you feast on roast turkey, spuds and sprouts!
When I’m not at my regular job at a human rights charity, or nerding out on all things Eurovision, I work for Decanter every year at the World Wine Awards, yes friends, I am a wine geek, and a qualified one at that. So I thought I’d share with you some wines to enjoy this Christmas from the great nations of Eurovision, here’s what to look out for…
Ok, we all know that France, Spain and Italy are the big boys of wine production, but they are certainly not the only ones out there, however if you want a wine from these countries have a look to France’s Rhone Valley, the Navarra region of Spain or maybe a beautiful medium-bodied Barbera from Italy, all a good match for a traditional Christmas dinner.
If you’re looking for a fabulous Christmas fizz, but have been slightly disappointed with the UK’s appearances at Eurovision of late, then you can be ‘Flying the Flag’ (see what I did there!) by serving some wonderful English Sparkling wine this holiday season. The vineyards of southern England sit on the exact same chalk seam as the Champagne region of France and produce wines that have beaten Champagne at its own game on numerous occasions.
Croatia next, Croatia you say, surely not?! Let me tell you, absolutely, yes and more specifically Merlot! Croatian wine is becoming more readily available and although it might be a little tricky to track down if you can find it, you’ll be pleased you did. I’ve not found a bad merlot yet from Croatia and in order to do that you have to try a lot – it’s a service I offer, what can I say! Oh and while we we’re in the Balkan region have a look out for Vranec from Macedonia or some beautiful Modri Pinot from Slovenia, even in the bottle ‘Beauty Never Lies’ (stop it!)
I’m going to take a leaf out of the EBU’s book for this next one and stretch the European borders, but hey, they were in this year with a great song and everyone knows Australia make great wine too. For a white wine that’s a little bit out of the ordinary check out Riesling from the Clare Valley. Or if it’s red you’re after Shiraz from Barossa will definitely go down well.
Back in ‘actual’ Europe, Georgia likes to consider itself the cradle of the wine producing world, it’s certainly one of the oldest having been pumping the stuff out for about the last 8,000 years. Saperavi is the grape to look out for from Georgia, it’s deep, dark and spicy, a real ‘Warrior’ of a wine (no, Lisa-J!), a good one will age really well in the bottle and still be good in 20 years’ time. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it.
So what am I serving up for Christmas dinner, well, for a white I have a gorgeous Grüner Veltliner from Austria and to be honest this is my go-to grape variety year round, for me this grape variety is ‘Unstoppable’ (tenuous!) and on the red front ‘I Admit’ (2004 – look it up if you’ve forgotten it!) I’ll be serving a lovely little Merlot from Romania. Oh and I almost forgot I’ve got a rosé ready to go too, Switzerland produces some amazing rosé, light, crisp and just what you need to go with some of the lighter dishes that are around at Christmas. I think Swiss rosé is one of Europe’s best kept secrets but maybe now is it’s ‘Time to Shine’ (I’m going now!)
Wherever you are this holiday season, I hope you have a marvellous time with friends and family (and wine!)
Joyeaux Noel, Feliz Navidad, Fröhliche Weihnachten,
Merry Christmas Europe…
Author : Lisa-Jayne Lewis