You’d expect winter and vines to be arch enemies wouldn’t you? Not so. Snow-laden vines are a great sight for any producer. Because as the snow melts it hydrates the vines at a really deeply level, which results in gorgeously juicy grapes. The scene above looks out over Franco Roero’s vineyard, home to our award-winning Barbera.
The nearest most of us get to an Italian Christmas is buying a huge panettone that ends up at the back of the cupboard. But we don’t want you missing out on even a sparkle of La Dolce Vita, so we’ve compiled the When in Rome guide on how to ‘Celebrate As The Italians Do… this Christmas’ and, more importantly, which of our wines to pair with food, friends and family.
In the Beginning
Christmas kicks off early in Italy, with the Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary on December 8. On this day the decorations go up and the festive markets open. But things start in earnest on Christmas Eve and run straight through to New Year. Like us, it’s all about family time with cracking food and, if you’re lucky, fabulous wine from the local vineyard.
An Italian Christmas Eve
Everyone travels home on the 24th for the traditional Christmas Eve feast. Called ‘La Vigilia’, it tends to be a lighter affair than the next day’s feast and, crucially, never features any meat. Italian families gather round and enjoy a veritable banquet of seafood (lots of seafood) – think tuna, salted cod, octopus and swordfish – served with antipasti, simple veggie pasta dishes and the obligatory carafe or two of wine.
We don’t think there’s a better white wine to enjoy with your festive canapes and smoked salmon than our Falanghina. Coastal Southern Italy in a glass, it was named by The Telegraph as the best white wine in the UK for under a tenner (per bottle equivalent) last month.
You can buy a 2.25l box (equivalent to 3 bottles) in Waitrose or if you’re expecting lots of visitors why not upgrade to a 5L (equivalent to 6.5 bottles) box? Available on our website.
Most Italian families tuck into veal, chicken and beef on Christmas Day. But not in Le Marche region. This beautiful part of Italy, on the Adriatic Coast, is one of the only places where you’ll find people enjoying a roast Turkey on Christmas Day.
Federico Mencaroni’s Marche Bianco and your Christmas lunch makes the perfect partnership. Made from the Verdicchio grape – one of Italy’s finest – it tastes simply stunning with Roast Turkey and all the trimmings.
Vegan and Veggie Feasts
If you’re pulling together a delicious chestnut-laden roast on the 25th look no further than our smooth-as-silk Dolcetto from Italy’s Piedmont region, an area rich in nut trees and wild mushrooms. In fact, this wine was once a favourite of Queen Anne, to whose reign we owe the act of union that created the UK.
Our hugely popular, de-facto vegan Merlot is also a great red to enjoy with friends and family. It has even been known to convert white wine drinkers to the red side. You have been warned.
But wherever you are, whoever you’re with and whatever you eat this year… have a cool yule.