Festive Tipples – How to impress your guests this season

28 November 2018

April French Furnell

Christmas is almost here and party season is in full swing. Whether you are planning on hosting guests for a soiree, dinner party or making plans for the big day itself, sommelier Jean-Louis Naveilhan shares his ‘off market’ picks that will be sure to impress.


Champagne Rene Jolly Blanc de Noirs

Perfect for an aperitif or throughout a meal, especially with salmon, this Champagne Rene Jolly Blanc de Noirs, Côte des Bar, France NV is the perfect alternative to the better known champagne brands.

Knowledge to impress your guests with: An independent estate since 1737. The vineyards are treated organically with no fertilisers or chemicals, and all grapes are hand harvested as late as possible.

Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir.

Tasting Notes: Yellow golden in colour, amazing biscuit and pastry aromas with a long smooth palate, plenty of fruit and good structure.

Best served: 8°C to 10°C, in a Champagne Flute or Burgundy Glass.

Cost Ex VAT: £22.35

Potential: Will age gracefully up to 2023


Pouilly-Fuissé “Terroirs”

If you are a fan of a burgundy, why not try this exclusive Pouilly-Fuissé “Terroirs”, Dom. Sangouard-Guyot, Burgundy 2016 which is perfect with seafood such as lobster, scallops and crabs, turkey, and after dinner comte cheese.

Knowledge to impress your guests with: there are just 300 bottles available, from 40-year old vines.

Grapes: 100% Chardonnay

Tasting Notes: Straightforward, rich and complex, it has a characteristic hint of minerality with a fruity nose. Great balance of flavour between liveliness and generous roundness.

Best served: 10°C to 12°C, in a Burgundy Glass

Cost Ex VAT: £16.15

Potential: Up to 2026


Château Larroque

If it’s a red you are after then look no further than the Château Larroque, Famille Ducourt, Bordeaux-France 2012 which can be drunk on its own or with lamb, mushroom risotto or blue cheese.

Knowledge to impress your guests with:  Only 30 cases available. The château was purchased by the Ducourt family in 1979 and lies just outside the Graves appellation.

Grapes: 63% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc.

Tasting Notes: A very elegant, Merlot dominated blend, fine red, very smooth with rich red berries aromas and velvety texture.

Best served: 15°C to 18°C, in a Bordeaux glass.

Cost Ex VAT: £12.20

Potential: Up to 2022


All wines are available from Jean-Louis’ private cellar and he can be contacted on


Katten 300x250