Christmas, the holidays, celebrating the arrival of 2017, one never knows whether to be hip or traditional, to play safe or to go wild. From a wine point of view, I recommend a judicious mixture, preserving one’s sanity while having fun. Diving into the catalogue for London’s Finest and Rarest Wines sale on 14 December, there are ideas aplenty, some inspirational while others settle into a comfort zone.

I am on a high at the moment, having just ‘sampled’ a series of Dom Pérignon Rosé vintages with brilliant winemaker Vincent Chaperon – if you really pressed me, I would admit to deeming the 2002 one of the best Champagnes of my life, but the gloriously haunting DPR 1996 is in this auction, as well as loads of the ‘white stuff’, especially the alluring DP 1998 and the icy splendour of the 2000. The people who make Dom Pérignon just never lose their touch and remain at the forefront of research and innovation in the Champagne region.


DOM PERIGNON ROSE 1996, 6 BOTTLES, ESTIMATE £850–1,000.

Veering to ever more hedonism, we were recently proffered the utterly divine Yquem 1986, one of the greatest vintages of the world’s most famous ‘sticky’.   This is never less than nobly sumptuous and it knocked us all sideways, in the nicest possible way.  If you have a particularly adored member of your family who appreciates The Best, then go for this – always a stunner, I think it has become even more awesome with time.

I am toying with the idea of a three bird roast for the festivities, involving turkey, duck and pheasant, or perhaps goose, chicken and pheasant.  Maybe one has to drink Claret with one layer and Burgundy with another, or a different vintage with each bird, so I am glad there is lots to choose from in this sale.  Pomerol is often the bridge between Bordeaux and Burgundy, so Vieux Château Certan 1996 would fit the bill perfectly.  And as for the Stilton cheese, 1994 was a stupendous year for Vintage Port and there is a cornucopia of incredible value Gould Campbell and Martinez to go with it. I can see a snooze by the fire coming up...

Finest and Rarest Wines

14 December 2016 | London