I’ve been hearing that apparently the millennial generation are no longer the young and cool set. Which, to say the least, makes me feel incredibly old! But that’s a separate matter. The good news from my point of view is that they’re now switching from craft beers to craft wines. I won’t hold my breath but if this does turn out to be the case then this really will be a Merry Christmas!
So, it turns out that the new cool wines are wines you’ve never heard of, from lesser known regions, produced in small batches, by artisan growers. This is just up my street, and I’m here to help you serve cool wines this Christmas, and as a bonus, you’ll be discovering and enjoying the best wines you’ve never heard of. But be warned, once you start down this track there’s no going back, you’ll probably end up spending more and more on wine. But it will be a very enjoyable experience!
To help get you started I thought I’d put together a Twelve Wines of Christmas guide. These are craft alternative wines to discover, a move away from the Christmas Classics. The recommended alternatives are made in a similar fashion and generally offer outstanding quality for the price.
In my experience, unless you spend a great deal on the Classics, they generally offer very poor value for money and an underwhelming taste experience.
So, here we go, The Twelve Wines of Christmas that the most discerning of hipsters would be proud to be seen drinking:
On the first day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative party wine to the staple Pinot Grigio;- a crisp and fresh Pecorino.
There are lots of alternatives to the Pinot Grigio but the lesser known Pecorino offers amazing value for money and it’s the perfect white party wine.
On the second day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to Champagne;- a Cremant from Alsace or the Loire.
Made in the same way as Champagne, but often knock the socks off commercial entry level Champagne.
On the third day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to Sancerre;- a Sauvignon Blanc from Cheverny or Touraine, from the Loire.
Cheverny is the newest appellation in France providing excellent quality Sauvignon Blanc. The same can be said for Touraine; their offerings are outstanding value versus Sancerre or Pouilly Fume.
On the fourth day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to Chablis;- old vines Soave or Falanghina from Italy.
Great Chablis is amazing, but to get a similar dry straw and mineral quality without the price tag, then a good Soave or Falanghina is the perfect alternative.
On the fifth day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to Meursault;- Macon-Villages, Saint Veran or even oaked Chardonnay from the Ardeche.
Go for top wines from these alternatives and your taste buds (and your wallet!) will thank you for it.
On the sixth day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to the staple party merlot;- Nero d’Avola from Puglia.
Again there are lots of great value party wines that give a lot more than your standard cheap merlot. Look to Sicily, Puglia and also the wine regions of Portugal for great value reds.
On the seventh day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to Cru Beaujolais;- a Valpolicella Classico from a small grower.
It is the perfect alternative to Beaujolais and works brilliantly as a party wine, with cold cuts and all the trimmings.
On the eighth day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to red Burgundy;- a pinot noir from Elqui in Chile
There are some very good value Pinot Noir alternatives. Opt for cool climate. Some of the best I’ve discovered are from Romania.
On the ninth day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to Bordeaux;- a Merlot and Cabernet blend from Pecharmant, Bergerac.
There are lots of great alternatives to Bordeaux from across the world.. For a fantastic alternative to Pomerol try the wines from Pecharmant which are superb and offer outstanding value.
On the tenth day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to Chateauneuf du Pape;- a Grenache, Syrah blend from Costieres de Nimes.
The best Chateauneuf is hard to beat but you have to pay a high price to get a good one. There are amazing value alternatives from Costieres de Nimes and across the Languedoc.
On the eleventh day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to Sauternes;- a delicious Jurancon or white Passito from Italy.
The best Sauternes are an incredible experience but they don’t come cheap. For an alternative wine made in the same way I would heartily recommend selecting one of the best examples from Jurancon.
On the twelfth day of Christmas
My thoughtful hipster recommended to me a great alternative to 10 Year Old Tawny Port;- a quirky number from Australia.
To be fair there is some incredible value port out there and worth exploring. But if you want to go further afield there are some quirky styles available that are fun to try.
So there you have it. Your starter guide to enjoying hipster craft wines this Christmas.
This is just a start, if you’d like some recommendations for the above or some guidance to selecting wines in general, please do drop me a line to [email protected] .
Oh, I nearly forgot to sign off without sharing a hipster joke!
Why did the hipster burn his tongue? Because he drank his coffee before it was cool.
Jerome Harlington, Trailblazing Wine