It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again already. Christmas in Saigon is quite a spectacle, with Saigonese fully embracing the commercial spirit of the festive season.

 

The centre of District 1 will soon be a veritable winter wonderland of tinsel, snowflakes and the ubiquitous children in Santa Claus outfits.

 

Fifteen years ago, finding supplies for a special Christmas lunch was a bit of a challenge. Today, almost everything you can think of is available. One of the most important parts of any good Christmas lunch involves enjoying some special drinks with family and friends, so below are my wine picks for a great Xmas bash.

 

All Things Bubbles

 

Christmas is a time for a splurge, so get yourself some decent fizz. Kick off your day with a nice bottle of Champagne Pol Roger Reserve Brut (produced in France, alcoholic volume: 12%, VND1,395,000 from Warehouse), a great, elegant and refined fizz. If you are entertaining a large group and have large drinkers, Jansz Premium Cuveé (produced in Australia, alcoholic volume: 12.5%, VND695,000, Warehouse) is one of the finest sparkling wines from Australia and can put many champagnes to shame. Something that is always a hit in our house, and that Christmas would not be the same without it, is sparkling shiraz. That’s right — sparkling red wine with bubbles like champagne. It’s delicious and pairs perfectly with roast ham and turkey. In Vietnam, you can now find Katnook ‘Founder’s Block’ Sparkling Shiraz (produced in Australia, alcoholic volume: 13%, VND675,000, Warehouse). Or the simply amazing Rockford Sparkling Shiraz (produced in Australia, alcoholic volume: 13.5%, VND2,200,000, Warehouse).

 

White Wine for Seafood

 

Whether it’s oysters, smoked salmon, lobsters or prawns on your menu at home, don’t forget to stock up on some quality white wines. Christmas lunch is no place for Kiwi sauvignon blanc, this is a time for some elegant and subtle wines. A good quality riesling never goes astray. Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling (produced in Australia, alcoholic volume: 12%, VND680,000, Vintage) is the perfect match to chilled tiger prawns. A nice clean Chablis like Laroche Chablis (produced in France, alcoholic volume: 10%, VND796,000, Red Apron), is made to be served with smoked salmon or Fine de Clair oysters. For grilled lobster tails it’s pretty hard to pass up Louis Jadot Chardonnay (produced in France, alcoholic volume: 13%, VND672,000, Red Apron) or Vasse Felix Chardonnay (produced in Australia, alcoholic volume: 13%, VND625,000, Warehouse).

 

The Main Event

 

As the ham and turkey hit the table it is time to start popping some great bottles. For my money I love to have some great pinot noir, grenache or shiraz. Wines like Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru, Domaine Chanson (produced in France, alcoholic volume: 13%, VND1,800,000, Tan Khoa), Mudhouse ‘Claim 431’ Pinot Noir (produced in New Zealand, alcoholic volume: 14%, VND780,000, Saigon Cellars) and Tarrawarra Pinot Noir (produced in Australia, alcoholic volume: 13.5%, VND645,000, Vintage) are all great matches for poultry. More robust wines like Humilitat Garnacha, D.O.C. Priorat (produced in Spain, alcoholic volume: 15%, VND1,000,000, Tan Khoa), Cote Rotie ‘Seignuer de Maugrion’, Delas (produced in France, alcoholic volume: 13%, VND1,300,000, Vintage) and Henschke ‘Henry’s Seven’ Grenache, Shiraz, Viognier (produced in Australia, alcoholic volume: 15%, VND1,050,000, Warehouse) are highly toned big reds and great with baked ham.

 

Pudding Wines

 

If a traditional Christmas pudding with brandy butter is on at your house then I suggest a nice Sandeman ‘Armarda’ Oloroso Sherry (produced in Spain, alcoholic volume: 17.5%, VND638,000, Warehouse) or a Warre’s ‘Warrior’ Special Reserve Port (produced in Portugal, alcoholic volume: 20%, VND1,000,000, Tan Khoa). For something really special, search out a bottle of Yalumba Old Museum Muscat (produced in Australia, alcoholic volume: 18%, VND875,000, Warehouse).

 

When Taste Buds Have Been Exhausted

 

As always there comes a point when our appreciation for the finer flavours of great wine becomes diminished by what we have already drunk. At this time, some great value wines for easy drinking are required. Pinho Real Vinho Verde (produced in Portugal, alcoholic volume: 9.5%, VND288,000, Red Apron) is super refreshing and revitalizing and Winery of Good Hope Cabernet Merlot (produced in South Africa, alcoholic volume: 13.5% VND295,000, Warehouse) is one of the best value red wines around.

 

So I hope you all have a wonderful feast with many great bottles of wine. It is easy to drink too much, so please know your limits and have a very Merry Christmas.

 

Wine Retailers

 

Vintage

7/12 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2817

 

Saigon Cellars

6/7 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 2986

 

Red Apron

9A Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 37443363

 

The Warehouse

15/5 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8826

 

Tan Khoa

Tel: 0918 777524

Jim Cawood

One half of the brains behind contemporary Mediterranean restaurant Lubu, Jim is a wine nut who has worked in the industry since his early 20s. A trained sommelier, he is one of only a small handful of people living in Vietnam who truly knows his wine.

Website: www.luburestaurant.com

1 comment

  • Comment Link Ma Anh Ma Anh Dec 24, 2015

    Thanks for your sharing
    It's very useful to search out some sepecial things for feast.
    I have one question. Those retailers who you did suggest are authentic? they provide true wines from warehouse, is this right?
    Thank you again :)

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