"Swig can be relied on to come up with real finds any time of the year, but for Christmas they have excelled themselves. Founder Robin Davis has found a parcel of the second wine of the superb San Leonardo from northern Italy, which has a lot in common with the very best Bordeaux from France. And who else would offer an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc from Chile alongside a remarkable Pinot Noir from its first bottling of a mere 400 cases?
There is always a place for fizz during Christmas festivities and I think it would be fun to kick off the party with the refreshing sparkling rosé from Italy, at a fraction of the price of Champagne. The Viognier has something more to offer than the usual Chardonnay for a white, while the Sauternes, with its close association with Chateau d’Yquem, is another surprise that would be welcome at the end of any meal. To get the full experience, I recommend you purchase the mixed case, giving you two of each (at less than £13 per bottle). Please be aware that due to its limited availability, sadly, the Chateau Lafon will only be available in a case of six half bottles.
I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas. It has been a pleasure meeting those of you who’ve attended our wine pairing dinners this year and I’m looking forward to many more enchanting evenings in 2019. In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by loved ones, good food and fine wines!"
Wine Editor, The Week Wines
View the full collection here, or call Swig direct on 0800 0272 272 and quote “The Week”.
La Jara Frizzante Sparkling Rose, Treviso, Italy (10%)
£12.50 £9.95 per bottle - £119.40 per case of 12, saving £30.60
With its easy flavours of strawberries and raspberries that leap from the glass, this is a delightful sparkling rosé. There is even a hint of cranberry in the aftertaste, which is surprisingly long for such a reasonably priced wine. Coming from Treviso in the Veneto, it has been completely organic for some time and is made from top quality fruit. The grapes are Glera and Raboso, which are mainstays of this region. It is gently sparkling and due to its low alcohol level is ideal to kick off the festivities and leave you still standing some hours later.
Sauvignon ‘Kuda’ Kalfu, Leyda Valley, Chile 2018
£14.95 £12.95 per bottle - £155.40 per case of 12, saving £24
Chile is more known for its Cabernet Sauvignon that its Sauvignon Blanc, but this wine should rapidly rectify this. Hand harvested from vineyards in the San Antonio Valley, it is harvested from four vineyards planted on steep terraces overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is certainly similar to the New Zealand version of this wine but it has more steeliness and focus, which makes it more serious rather than overtly floral. It’s a perfect wine to enjoy as an aperitif, or serve with shellfish or oysters.
Terre di San Leonardo, Trentino Italy 2015
£17.50 £14.50 per bottle - £174 per case of 12, saving £36
This is the second wine of San Leonardo, hence the reasonable price from one of its greatest vintages. It is perhaps the greatest “Super Tuscan” outside of Tuscany, with its vineyards located between Verona and Lake Garda in northern Italy. My first experience of it was the superb 1997 vintage, which is still drinking brilliantly. Super Tuscans are essentially a Bordeaux blend, which in this case is Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a touch of Carménère, a relatively obscure variety now mainly found in Chile. A beautifully smooth and harmonious wine with the power to take on any Christmas turkey or roast.
Bourgogne Pinot Noir Château de Javernand, Burgundy 2016
£17.95 £14.95 per bottle - £179.40 per case of 12, saving £36
This wine really impressed me. Made by boutique Beaujolais producers in the Chiroubles region, it is their first vintage and consists of a mere 400 cases. It is made from pinot noir grapes from the Maconnais, which is located between the great Burgundy vineyards and Beaujolais. It has remarkable depth and a lovely fruit-driven mid palate and could easily be mistaken for something considerably grander from the more famous Burgundy region to its north. It was aged in oak for 12 months and is completely ready to drink. It has far more power than you would expect and is sophisticated enough to grace a Christmas table, enhancing any bird that comes its way.
Viognier Domaine Preignes le Neuf, Beziers, France 2017
£10.95 £9.95 per bottle - £119.40 per case of 12, saving £12
Viognier is best known in northern Rhône, where it is the sole grape used to make the exotic and expensive Condrieu. This bottle from a family run estate in the Languedoc has the giveaway perfume of violets and apricots with a slightly heady aroma reminiscent of spring flowers. It is one of the few great grape varieties that doesn’t need bottle age to put its best foot forward. It’s a difficult varietal to get right but it is worth the effort because of its unique nose and taste. This wine would pair beautifully with warmly spiced mince pies.
Château Lafon Sauternes 2016 (half bottle)
£15.50 £13.95 per bottle - £83.70 per case of 6, saving £9.30
This is a real treat and a bargain to boot, as a portion of the vineyard is literally surrounded by the fabled Château d’Yquem, which sells for hundreds of pounds. Nearly half the output of the 2016 vintage was lost to frost in the Spring, which has added to the concentration of this vintage. The wine is aged 12 months in oak barrels handed down from d’Yquem.
The wonderfully sticky texture and sweet unctuousness of Sauternes is caused by “Noble Rot”, which is a fungus that attacks the grapes just before harvest. Chateau Lafon is elegant and not overpoweringly sweet – the perfect partner for your dessert course or a rich Christmas fruitcake. A half bottle is ideal for between four to six people.
View the full collection here, or call SWIG direct on 0800 0272 272 and quote “The Week”.