As Head Sommelier and Wine Buyer at Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa, Filipe Bhering Reis travels to all the main wine-producing regions to source the best wines for the menu. Having spent time studying at the well-known Bordeaux Wine School and currently completing his WSET diploma in wine and spirits in London, he is a true wine connoisseur and loves searching out new, unknown wines and hidden gems to bring back to customers.
So what does a Head Sommelier drink at Christmas? We asked Filipe to share his top recommendations. (FYI - they ain’t cheap, but he reassures us that they taste incredible…)
Ruinart Brut Rosé, NV – Reims, France (£105)
Ruinart Champagnes are unlike any other – the house was established in 1729 by Nicolas Ruinart in the city of Reims, making it the oldest Champagne house in existence. This ros é†owes its elegance to the marriage of Chardonnay (45%) – mainly from the Chardonnay Premiers Crus – and Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and Vallée de la Marne. The nose is fresh and subtle, ripe with cherry and freshly picked red berries, followed by a splash of flowers and spicy notes.
Denis Pommier Chablis 1er Cru ‘Beauroy’, 2011 – Burgundy, France (£66)
This Chablis is stylish, minerally and fleshes out with gorgeous depth and finesse. With aromas and notes of yellow orchard fruit and hints of mango, it merges into a delicious, bright wine with a superbly wellbalanced finish. This classic Chablis is a perfect choice for this time of year, it delivers the full buttery, rounded texture that marries beautifully with rich, smoked white fish or salmon and shellfish starters, as well as with roast birds – merry Christmas!
Filipa Pato FP Branco, 2013 – Beiras, Portugal (£37)
A blend of two of the many intriguing indigenous Portuguese grape varieties – Bical and Arinto – that you just don't find everywhere. Filipa Pato is a leading Portuguese winemaker behind some of the country's finest whites. This is rich, savoury and minerally with a smoky, nutty edge, plus it's crystal clear acidity is welcomed for rich, festive meals.
Domaine du Grand Tinel, 1998 – Château neuf du Pape, France (£90)
A marvellous vintage from the Rhone Valley, in particular ChâteauneufduPape! Grand Tinel 1998 wines are rich in fruit, posses superripe tannins and are wonderfully harmonious and well balanced. This bottle will put a smile on the face of your loved ones on Christmas Day!
Alter Ego de Palmer Margaux, 2011 – Bordeaux, France (£142)
Chateau Palmer is an historic estate that’s named after a British officer, Major General Palmer, who settled in Bordeaux in 1814 . Alter Ego de Palmer is the estate’s “little brother” – it’s second wine. It’s soft and round and offers intense, crisp and juicy fruits. This wine’s aromas and supple tannins will take your palate on a journey.
Tenuta Guidalberto, 2013 – Tuscany, Italy (£69)
Ripe, juicy and incredibly drinkable – everything we look for in a Super Tuscan. From one of the most renowned wine producers – Tenuta San Guido – comes this deliciously, irresistible Cabernetdominant blend. Bursting with crunchy red and black fruits, this wine is full of life and perfectly complements barbecues and
grilled meats. Or simply drink it because you love good red wine!
Aldo Conterno ‘Granbussia’ Barolo Riserva, 1996 – Piedmont, Italy (£290)
Nebbiolo – the king of grapes and the grape of kings! This Barolo Riserva Granbussia is one of the best expressions of such incredible grape variety. Only produced on great years and in limited quantities, the wine is aged in large oak casks for 32 months, then it remains in the cellar for a further eight years before it’s released. It’s perfumed with aromas of tar, rose, mint, chocolate, liquorice and truffles – the perfect Christmas accompaniment.
Bodegas Caro ‘CARO’, 2010 – Mendoza, Argentina (£95)
CARO, from Catena and Rothschild, has a strong Argentine identity, characterised by the Malbec grape, which is given further elegance and complexity through blending with Cabernet Sauvignon. The combination produces a voluptuous, refined wine with a harmonious balance between the wine’s Argentine identity and its Bordeaux style. Rich and concentrated on the nose, it has perfumes of black pepper and blackcurrant, plums and ripe black fruit. On the palate it’s powerful and chunky with great structure, dense, ripe fruit characters and a lovely spicy, oaky sheen.
Fonseca Vintage Port, 1970 – Douro, Portugal (£270)
Fonseca has belonged to the first rank of Vintage Port producers since the midnineteenth century. Fonseca Vintage Ports are noted for their luscious fruitiness which develops great opulence and complexity with age. They appeal, perhaps more than any other house's Vintage Ports, to the enthusiast and connoisseur. This is an extraordinary drink – attractive, rich and spicy with a ripe, raisin, caramel and resin bouquet. It has lovely weight and balance teamed with strong flavours of raisins, caramel and spice.