A Personal Wine Advent Calendar for 2024

Cote des Roses Rose

I think the lead up to Christmas is a perfect time to sample exceptional wines from all over the world. This year I’m so excited about the selections I’ve made for my own personal “wine advent calendar” I thought I’d share it with you!

If you’re wondering what wines to buy and enjoy as Christmas approaches, you may find some inspiration in my choices. Although I don’t have an unlimited budget, my selection encompasses some everyday wines and a fair old sprinkling of premium wines for special occasions (it’s a season of celebration, after all!) Hopefully this may help you figure out what you’d like to buy for your own wine advent calendar.

What is an advent calendar?

Traditionally, advent calendars are used to count the days of Advent, the period of expectation of the arrival of Christmas. Most are made of paper, starting on December 1st and ending on Christmas Eve. They often contain small “doors”, which are opened on consecutive days to reveal an image or a small gift. My personal wine advent calendar is a metaphorical one because it might be difficult to create a paper calendar big enough to house 24 bottles of wine – not to mention how heavy it would be!

Hang on a minute, I hear you say – a bottle of wine every day? Well, yes, I think so. At this stage (October) I anticipate a couple of social engagements in December, including a parent’s birthday party, and spending lots of time with friends and family. So I won’t be drinking a bottle of wine a day all by myself! And if I don’t feel like wine one day (anything’s possible, after all) there’s always the option of keeping it for Christmas itself.

How I chose the wines

I don’t know about you but I generally don’t plan daily meals this far in advance… So my wine choices are a mix of “something that will go with anything” to wines that work very well with a particular favourite dish or cuisine.

My personal wine advent calendar

This selection is in no particular order so that I have room for swapping around based on meals and any social events that may crop up. However, I’ve corralled the wines loosely into groups based on the type of food I am likely to match them with, although of course there is some overlap.

Wines to go with beef

I’m starting with a combination I love:

  • Gérard Bertrand’s Cigalus Rouge 2019 – a beautiful wine from the south of France, a real treat for me! Deep with dark forest fruits and savoury herbal notes, smooth but powerful, it leaves a lasting impression. I’ll enjoy this with roast beef.
  • Rutini Collection Malbec 2019 – a delicious Argentinian malbec showcasing the winemaker’s art: berries, cherries, plums, oak and vanilla come through, with even a hint of lavender. It’s rich, smooth, very refined, excellent to pair with roasted meats or a hearty beef stew, but equally good with home made burgers and juicy steaks on the barbecue.
  • Bruce Jack Reserve Pinotage 2020 – a deliciously smooth pinotage from South Africa, with black cherry, ripe plum, dark chocolate and well integrated tannins. I often get a hankering for Indian food and I think this wine could be a great match for a curry.
  • Bruce Jack Pinotage Malbec 2021 – an excellent everyday wine from South Africa, juicy with ripe berries and cherries. Although packing flavour, it has a smooth mouthfeel. Slight hints of smoke and vanilla and a touch of acidity mean it pairs well with roasted meats. It can also stand up to strong flavours so I might try it with a chilli con carne.

Wines to go with lamb

Many of the same wines that match well with beef also pair deliciously with lamb:

  • Undurraga Terroir Hunter Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 – an elegant, refined cab sav from the Andes in Chile, where the cool climate results in a lighter style of wine. Mint and cedar sit alongside dark fruit, and medium acidity lends a liveliness to the palate. I think this will go well with lamb or perhaps a mushroom-based dish.
  • St John’s Road Blood & Courage Shiraz 2018 – a bold, intense shiraz from Australia’s Barossa Valley, great with flavourful meat dishes such as lamb ragout or roast beef. Black cherry and pepper are prominent in a layered structure containing notes of blackberry, redcurrant and vanilla.
  • Prunotto Barbaresco Nebbiolo 2018 – this is another absolute treat for me! From the Antinori group, this wine from Piedmont in northern Italy is elegance captured in a bottle. With its aromas and flavours of red cherries, strawberries and earthy tones of forest floor, I think it will be wonderful with a roast rack of lamb or guinea fowl.

Wines to go with pork and poultry

Of course, several of the wines in my advent selection could be paired with pork or poultry. However, these two stand out as definite matches:

Tormaresca Primitivo Salento 2019 – a smooth, full-bodied red wine from Puglia in Italy offering plum, blueberry and leather with some nutty aromas. Easy drinking and a great accompaniment to pork and veal dishes.

Gérard Bertrand’s Change Chardonnay 2020 – a light and refreshing organic chardonnay from the south of France, displaying grapefruit and floral character on the nose and some spice on the palate. Crisp and fresh, this wine is a great match for poultry, for example pan-fried chicken with a tarragon sauce.

Wines to go with seafood

Personally, I’m quite partial to rosé with fish:

  • Gérard Bertrand’s Gris Blanc Rosé 2021 – a very pale, elegant rosé from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. It has a light raspberry aroma and a lively freshness on the palate. I’ll pair it with seafood, perhaps a crab linguini or baked fish.
  • Gérard Bertrand’s Cote des Roses Rosé 2020 – a lovely rosé in a stunning designer bottle, this wine evokes the fresh feeling of summer with its aromas of roses, redcurrants and citrus. I think this might drink particularly well alongside seared tuna with an Asian-inspired noodle salad.
  • Louis Latour Bourgogne Chardonnay 2020 – a refined French chardonnay, lightly oaked, with a lemony, floral bouquet. I’m looking forward to having this with pan-fried fish and buttery potatoes.

Wines to go with salads and vegetarian food

These two wines seem to me to suit lighter meals of cold salads, pulses and vegetarian dishes particularly well:

  • Clearwater Cove Rosé 2020 – a perfect accompaniment to an al fresco lunch. This rosé from New Zealand’s Marlborough region is crisp, light and elegant with delicate aromas and flavours of strawberry backed by a component of flint. I like this rosé with salads such as beetroot, feta and walnut.
  • Yealands Land Made Sauvignon Blanc 2019 – my favorite of the Yealands sauvignon Blancs. Fresh and bright with the intense fruit characteristic of Marlborough wines, it’s clean and crisp with lime and herbaceous notes, and finally finishes with a lip-smacking mineral tang. It’s excellent with vegetarian meals and seafood.

Wines to go with Italian food

I love Italian food so I definitely need some special wines to go with it:

  • Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore 2018 – a juicy, slightly savoury wine from the stable of Marchesi Antinori in Italy. It’s smooth and easy to drink and, not surprisingly, perfect to pair with Italian food.
  • Tormaresca Negroamaro Salento Calafuria Rosato 2020 – this is a beautiful rosé from Puglia in Italy, made from the negroamaro grape. Complex and fascinating, it rewards spending time with. Delicate aromas of peach, strawberry and raspberry; a slightly savoury palate with tart, sparkling strawberries. One to savour on its own, possibly, or match with pizza and salad.
  • Aliwen Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon-Carménère 2020 – excellent value for money, this red blend from Chile is soft and easy drinking. Its berry, cherry and herbal flavours match beautifully with tomato-based pasta dishes.

Wines to go with “almost anything”

And for when I’m bringing a bottle to a dinner party but I don’t know the menu, or I pick up something for dinner from the supermarket on a whim:

  • Château Le Bedat Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge 2018 – this blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc offers cassis and plum with hints of smoke and vanilla on the nose. A great value, food-friendly and versatile wine, this is a go-to for last-minute food decisions. It works well with red meats, duck, mushrooms, terrines, cured meats and more.
  • Gérard Bertrand’s Change Sauvignon Blanc 2020 – a refreshing organic white wine from the south of France. It has bright lemon and grapefruit aromas, crisp acidity and a fresh mineral finish. A well-balanced everyday wine, it would go with a variety of white meats and seafood, but I may cook vegetarian with this one.
  • Clearwater Cove Pinot Gris 2020 – a superb everyday wine from New Zealand, refreshing, easy drink and versatile. Lovely aromas of pear and sweet apple are followed by light gooseberry, pear and lemon flavours. I can happily drink this on its own! However, I may pair it with a light dish of salad, chicken, pasta or south-east Asian food.
  • Gérard Bertrand’s Cote Des Roses Pinot Noir 2020 – presented in a stunning bottle, this pinot noir from the south of France is a light, refined wine with aromas of cherry and raspberry, and a touch of spice on the finish. It’s pretty versatile so it could accompany lamb, chicken, even baked salmon.
  • Trumpeter Cabernet Franc 2021 – a really excellent Argentinian cab franc highlighting red fruits, mint and vanilla. A little spiciness and acidity lift the wine. It’s a good choice to accompany a roast dinner, game meat, vegetables, sausages, and much more.

A last word

Being organised with a selection of old favourites and special occasion wines to hand is a good thing for the holiday season. After all, everything can become a bit busy, and it’s nice to have one aspect of life completely sorted! I think a wine advent calendar achieves this, as well as helping build excitement as we approach Christmas. I hope my choices have given you some food (wine) for thought!