A GREAT GLASS OF WINE!
So, as I look out of my home office window, I see brown autumn leaves falling, with soon the promise of the first chilled snows of winter. My mind, fresh from a week in Provence, moves quickly to thoughts of soon to be Christmas; family, spontaneous meals, nose-dripping walks etc and, likely, our annual family sit-down watching (arguably) the greatest Christmas film of all kind, ‘Love Actually’, a heartwarming story of a group of people, bound by love, warmth, happiness and the Christmas season.
They say dogs look like their owners and vice versa (a point that may explain some of the big ears, hairy cheeks and lopsided gait of a few people I’ve met recently). Similarly wine, a liquid that is easily described in human character terms, which is a mere grasshopper jump (in my loquacious mind) to link such Christmas wines to certain actors and their Christmas film characters.
So, without further ado, and with a million apologies to the Writer and Director, Richard Curtis, this, then, is my Love Actually cast of 12, in gloriously seasonal liquid form, written as a homage, and with much gratitude for many years of quotes, laughs and wine stains on the sofa.
As Rowan Atkinson said – this is SO much more than a simple (film) bag…
‘Character – actor – wine – exit stage left…’
Jamie – Colin Firth – Champagne. Every woman wants him, every man wants to be him. Deep, complex, aristocratic (hello, Mr D’arcy…) and often profound with both charm and elegance. Whether jilted or finding true love, everyone needs some Champagne at Christmas…
Champagne Ployez Jaquemart, Extra Quality Brut. A serious Champagne showing depth, richness and a broad spectrum of flavours from 5 years + of ageing in deep cellars. Tastes like a vintage!
Harry - Alan Rickman – German Riesling. Who could forget Alan Rickman played Hans Gruber in Die Hard, a character not quite the full North Korea in terms of craziness, yet as Harry he seems sometimes misunderstood, lightly acidic, razor sharp and at times delicately intense all hinting at a certain Germanic backbone of intent and purposefulness.
Riesling Trocken, Goldschild QBA, Mosel. An intense dry and citrus laden Riesling, light in touch but loaded with ripe lime, grapefruit and waftingly light honeycomb touches. Not sweet at all, just ripe and refreshing.
The Prime Minister, David – Hugh Grant – White Burgundy. Charming, effusive, aristocratic in a lightly foppish way, yet endearingly likeable. Can be serious, crisp and profound, but enjoyable at any time.
House of Townend White Burgundy, Cote Chalonnaise 2021. Since its launch last year, this wonderfully ripe, complex and yet approachable wine has become a staple in our house (staples - remember Liz in THAT dress..?). Unlike Hugh, this white Burgundy doesn’t have foppish hair, dance badly in 10 Downing Street or have any chance of becoming Prime Minister, but perhaps that’s for the better good…
Natalie – Martine McCutcheon – Corsican Rosé. A character of instantly smiley, sunny and forthright disposition; appealing in all the right ways, definitely NOT chunky and liked by everyone, even the odd Prime Minister (David/Boris/Liz/Keir Stammer– delete as necessary)
Petroni Estate, Rose, Corsica – a subtle, pale and instantly appealing dry rose, rounded and alluring with summer red-berry fruits, a waft of charm and bags and bags of cheeky personality. If you are tired of dishwater thin Provence Rose, then try this humdinger!
Aurelia - Lucia Moniz – Portuguese Red. The love interest of Jamie, Aurelia is a Portuguese beauty, complex in persona, deeply likeable and surprisingly easy to understand once you learn the native lingo.
Pocas Tinta Reserve 2018, Douro Valley – Tinto Roriz, Tinta Franca, Touriga Nacional are all native Douro grapes that make up this richly satisfying and heady Douro red, matured in oak for 12 months and offering robust yet sweet red fruits, spice, tautness and a long and sensuous finish.
Colin Frizzle – Kris Marshall – Aussie Shiraz. A character that bounds across the screen like a walloping kangaroo; open, earthy, fruit-driven and honest. He says it like it is – ‘I’m on Shag highway going West!’ as he departs for the US in search of love (or my polite interpretation of it…).
Kingston Shiraz, Clare Valley, South Australia – a rich, intense and pleasurable red wine of larger than life proportions – easy to love, easy to partner or share with ( oooer missus..) and instantly likeable with a satisfying dark forest fruits, rounded generous texture and long finish.
Billy Mac – Bill Nighy – Pinot Noir. The main man, much sought after, the Grande Fromage of English spoken characters – silky, complex, appealing to all and sundry. Irreverent at times, ageless, almost ethereal in character and utterly charming. Who doesn’t want a bit of Bill, even in that leopard skin, rock-tastic jacket..?
Savigny Les Beaune 1er cru Champ Chevrey, 2014, Tollot-Beaut. A mature and ripe Pinot Noir from one of the great estates of Burgundy, now showing grace, silky tannins, a rich and fruit-driven style with complex undertones and a long sensuous and charming finish. Like Billy Mac, you could serve this to your Granny or your next door neighbours, (as if they would be that lucky..) and all will fall under its well-packaged charm.
Daniel – Liam Neeson – Languedoc Red. The Irish Macho grandee, capable of coming after you if you kidnapped his daughter, or (better still) wearing tartan and striding about the glens of Scotland as Rob Roy. Liam is an eye catching character of large proportions, with added spice and a beguiling lilt. Shame he likes the Bay City Rollers.
Minervois Rouge Vielles Vignes, Pierre Cros – a rich, well packed red that exudes charm, plush red fruits, spice, pepper and a wildness at heart that fits Liam’s character perfectly. Happy on its own, or partnered to grilled red meats. Or if you bump into Claudia Fischer and invite her round for tea..
Mark – Andrew Lincoln – Feteasca Regala. The unseen admirer of Juliet, slightly obscure as a character, quite fruity, very pleasing and also appreciatingly ripe with a vague quality that you can’t quite seem to put your finger on.
Feteasca Regala, Cremele Recas, Romania – a faintly apricot scented, textural and rounded dry white, perfect for any occasion, showing hints of spice, citrus and white flowers.
Juliet – Keira Knightley – Prosecco. While at first glance a character that is all froth and no substance, albeit well packaged and a family favourite, there is so much more to Keira than just popping corks and a cheery Salut! Why else would her unseen admirer stand in her doorway and, by way of hand written cards, pronounce his unspoken love, as I would stand now, and proclaim to all, and the occasional carol singer – I like Prosecco!
Prosecco Villa Sandi, Millisimato DOCG Valdobbiadene A dry, scented, frothy, cutglass-crisp sparkler – quite complex due to its extra ageing, and the quality of its base wine. This is SO much more than a simple Prosecco, as Rowan Atkinson (should have) said.
Joe – Gregor Fisher – Aged white Port. The portly and comical under-appreciated Scottish manager of Billy Mac, mellow, supportive, always there at the end; reliable, steadfast and completely loveable. Shame about the mullet, chubby cheeks and the badly fitting jeans, but enough about me.
Pocas 10 Year Tawny Port, Douro. A cracking Port, made from that rarity of rare, a white Port, aged in cask for 10 long quiet years. The result is a profoundly opulent, textured and beguiling Port with richness, a wonderful mellow character and a linear dryness that cuts through the intense sweetness. Like an old tawny, but better.
Karen - Emma Thompson – Sauvignon Blanc. The wife of Harry, mother of 2, sister to the Prime Minister and lover of Joni Mitchell music; also cheated on by Hans Grube. In such circumstances, anyone would turn to Sauvignon Blanc, and in industrial quantities (especially the Joni Mitchell element).
Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva, Santa Luz, Chile. A crisp, elegant and seriously good wine of intensity. More complex than most, with a streak of passionfruit, gooseberry and grapefruit, there is texture and stature in spades. Award winning too, just like our Emma. Decanter Award winner in 2023.
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