Wines for Merry Gentlemen


Eric Zwiebel, Cellar Master at Summer Lodge and internationally acclaimed Sommelier, lends some invaluable advice on wines for the festive season.


19th November 2009

Red Carnation Hotels
Eric Zwiebel   Cellar Master

Eric Zwiebel Cellar Master

As the Cellar Master at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel and Spa in Evershot, Dorset I have the privilege to experience some amazing wines and learn many interesting insights to enhance the food and beverage experience, therefore I am delighted to give you some tips for the feative season.

With Christmas fast approaching it’s time to give some attention to the serious matter of what wines you are going to be serving – and there’s two challenges which immediately present themselves.  On the one hand you have to choose wines that will not be smothered by the rich traditional foods everyone enjoys at this time of year. And on the other you don’t want to scrimp – it’s not really part of the Christmas spirit, and nobody wants to be labelled a Scrooge (especially as Disney is shortly launching its version of “A Christmas Carol”!).

Despite the credit crunch, I’m going to suggest a few bottles that will set you back a bit (so keep a couple hidden just for yourself – just don’t get caught).

To accompany the roast turkey I’d go for a medium bodied Austrian wine with a fine texture to match the delicate flavours of the bird – Schiefer ‘Eisenberg’, Blaufrankisch, Sudburgenland, 2004. A very pleasant fruity wine with tones of fresh red fruits like cherries and raspberries, and black pepper, with a smokey and earthy nose. The tannins are soft and delicate with a medium finish. This wine is available online from

If you are going for roast goose, the medium to full bodied delights of a Domaine Laurent Roumier, Chambolle-Musigny, Burgundy, France, 2004 will go down wonderfully well. It has a marvellously surprising combination of perfumes – strawberry, with tones of spice and leather. The tannins are smooth and gentle with a medium to long finish and it is available from

A rib of beef calls for a wine with a bit of ‘oomph’ – the full bodied Roagna ‘Paje’ from Barbaresco in Piedmont, Italy 2000, will rise to the occasion gloriously. It has a very expressive nose with notes of dried cherries, cedar, mushrooms and plums. The tannins, as befitting a wine of this nature, are firm and robust. It can be bought at

Finally, the Christmas Pud. The perfect choice, I believe, is an ice wine, from Peller. It’s a Cabernet Franc from the Niagara Peninsula in Canada. The nose is like a fresh fruit salad with a hint of blueberry. The palate is extremely sweet but with lots of freshness. Available from

Armed with this selection you’ll be more than ready for the occasion – no matter what the cook decides to serve!