OK, I’ll admit it – this has been quite an autumn and having finally reached the end of all majorly pressing deadlines, I have spent most of the last day lying on the sofa, staring into the middle distance and internet shopping. How brilliant is internet shopping? Was sure I’d have missed all last deadlines but no, it turns out all sorts of Christmas presents can be ordered and delivered at the eleventh hour. And things for yourself that you just happen to spot in the sales and can’t afford but it will probably turn out to be a long-term saving to buy them, as well. The festive menus have been revised (after it was pointed out that the nice, healthy ribollita, full of kale and chard, planned to boost leftovers on Boxing Day would not be quite so healthy for the family-Warfarin-patient. The dried cranberries in the coriander-spicy-meatballs for Christmas Eve had to go for the same reason.) And I am now at the happy point of sorting through bottles to see me through a Yorkshire Christmas.
And guess what. I have realised that the one thing I need to get right is not champagne or pinot noir, gris or anything else to go with the Christmas Day turkey (the food is so much more the point of Christmas Day, in our family at least, than the wine). It is a bottle of sherry. That is what will make us all feel Christmassy as we stash the big fat pork pie and sausage-balls away in the porch and put the bread sauce on the wood-burning stove to bubble slowly overnight on Christmas Eve.
I have that lovely Jane Parkinson to thank for my numero uno choice as she brought an opened bottle round when she came for dinner a few weeks ago.
Gonzalez Byass Leonor Palo Cortado (20%, I see from Google that Adnams have it for £13.50 and Tanners for £10.90; and that lots of other independents stock it too). It is just a sheer delight of dried fruit and nuts and stollen and festive cheer. Thank you Jane.
Failing that, I shall be hunting down a Fernando de Castilla palo cortado or popping into Waitrose for Hidalgo’s Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana.