"Rather than blockbuster wines for the main event, Jason's focus for his Christmas 2020 selection is that stalwart behind the scenes, who's on kitchen duty while everyone else is on the Jenga and the gin. These are wines, he says, that you should have 'knocking about it the kitchen'; wines that won't break the bank and will ease those long hours over the brussels but also segue nicely onto the table should the need arise. First up is a bottle-fermented Crémant du Jura, from Valerie and Jean-Christophe Tissot. 'Creamy, zesty, citrus,' says Jason. 'Under-priced,' says Jancis Robertson. 'I don't mind,' says David. Look on the label of some of the least fine wines on the market and you'll find that Chardonnay is often the culprit. It's also responsible for some of the best, though, and Stephane Brocard's 2018 Bourgogne Chardonnay is justifiably, a gold medal winner with a nervy minerality, that's beautifully balanced with green apple aromas. It may be crying out for oysters, but David's just crying out for another glass. Jason's next choice is a surprisingly good white from Faugères, a region best known for its reds. From Julien Seydoux, this 2019 Château Estanilles, a blend of Vermentino, Marsanne and Rousanne, is sumptuous enough to go with your poultry dinner, but should you prefer to give the bird 'the bird,' is also perfectly happy on its own. Jason and David's first taste of red comes in the form of Fred Filliatreau's Château Fouquet. A firm favourite, Cabernet Franc, this vintage 2018 is bursting with black fruit, but says David, is still 'a wine for all seasons.' It's a wine for life, in fact, not just Christmas. Last of the reds, but by no means least, is a Rioja Marqués de Zearra Crianza 2014. This blend of tempranillo and mazuelo has become a Yapp top-seller, which, for a French wine specialist is nothing short of remarkable. Why? It's 'very user friendly,' says Jason. Twenty four months in barrel and three years in bottle prior to release at less than £15 a pop, might have something to do with it. Jason and David's just desserts come in the shape of a half bottle of Jurançon Moelleux from Pascal Labasse, which derives all its sweetness and depth from late-picked grapes. 'Great with a tarte tatin,' says Jason, but if you've had enough of the kitchen, you can always go native and drink it as an aperitif."
The series of 'Adventures in Wine' podcasts featuring Jason Yapp and David Chandler can be downloaded from the iTunes store here.