Ever since I was little, Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. I can’t help but get swept up in all the lights, decorations and magic that starts around this time. As anyone who knows me can testify, from early December, I am full of festive cheer (some might say annoyingly so!) but my favourite part of Christmas is spending time with my family (all together now, aww!). It may sound cheesy but it is the one time of year that we all get to spend a few days together, with all talk of work put on hold and everyone just has fun together. It all start on Christmas Eve, when we all arrive home, laden down with bags of presents and far more clothes than required for a few days that will mostly be spent in pyjamas, my mum cooks up the best array of goodies to feed us up before the annual trip to midnight mass! Christmas day is spent cuddled up inside, with everyone throwing a hand in making the dinner (too many chiefs, not enough Indians!). But the one thing that always stands out from all the Christmases down through the years is the careful thought and planning put into the wine choices for the big day(s!). Growing up in a household where wine was an important part of every major milestone (I swear we are not a bunch of alcoholics). It is always an integral part of any occasion and my Dad has a great talent of making a selection that sums up the event perfectly, so it is no different at Christmas time.
It is a Kenny Family tradition to have a glass of bubbles once we get home from mass. As soon as I hear that cork pop that is the sound that signals to me that Christmas had really begun. This year, the boss has chosen two different Proseccos to kick start the celebrations (there are 7 of us now, one bottle just wouldn’t be enough!) We are starting with Champagne Boizel, a traditional classic that will kick the festivities off in style, followed by the Sensi 18K Gold, elegant and classy, I can already see the gold bottle catching the light from the Christmas tree and adding to the cosy atmosphere of the toasty warm sitting room!
For the big meal, he likes to choose a wine for every course and this year is no different. The complete opposite to most households, we plan our food around the wine choice. This year will begin with Two Tails Sauvignon Blanc, a crisp, fresh sauv from Marlborough which personally will bring me back to many a lazy summer’s day spent in Auckland, sipping wine with great friends, planning our next great adventure. This wine is the perfect accompaniment to any sort of seafood starter, from the classic prawn cocktail to any assortment of shellfish or salmon and also works exceptionally well with the turkey. For the main event, there will be a choice of red or white, the white this year being Moillard Bourgogne Chardonnay, fresh from having a fantastic review last week in the Irish independent, it complements the stars of the day, the turkey and ham, beautifully and is also great with my highlights of the meal, the stuffing and sprouts! His choice of red will be a surprise for everyone as always, with the big reveal happening just as the bird lands on the table (yes, I case you are wondering, he is as big a child when it comes to Christmas as I am, it’s pretty obvious where I get that from!). My fingers are crossed for the stunning Valdivieso Cabernet Franc, an unusual but perfect choice that will work well with all aspects of the meal but if I know my father, he could also choose a classic Bordeaux like the Caillou les Martins Lussac St Emilion from the vineyard of the wonderfully talented Jean-Francois Carrille.
Dessert will be accompanied by Eclat Botriytis, a classic, sweet dessert wine from Valdivieso and if there is room after all that, a small nip of Calem 10 Year Old Port (or Vintage 1985 if we are very lucky and well-behaved on the day!) After an evening spent in a food coma on the couch, the visitors will start to arrive, the laughter will flow and the big boss will be filling everyone’s glasses with Ayni by Chakana, a spicy, toasty red that will feel like Christmas in a glass. If our festive cheer was not reason enough for people to visit us on Christmas night, then the thoughts of a glass of that should be enough to draw in the crowds! Coming from a family that is big on Christmas tradition, it’s very exciting that as our family grows, with new additions both young and old, we get to start even more traditions but one thing is for sure, no matter what new traditions are instigated, the wine selection will still shine through in all of them.