The Holidays at the Château, Part 1


At Château de Pommard, we believe that there is no better way to share our passion for wine than around a home-cooked meal. With the holiday season right around the corner, we try to enjoy every occasion we can to meet up with friends, family, and colleagues in a warm atmosphere. On a cold winter day in Pommard, as we just woke up under the first snow of the season, it seemed like the perfect time to share our favorite wines, excellent food to pair it with and our tips to make the holidays even more magical. We are so thankful to have the opportunity to invite you around our family table.

Holidays with Vanessa Guébels

Vanessa Guébels is our Director of Education. She is in charge of our Wine Experiences and our WSET classes. If you are in Pommard and looking for a fun and enjoyable date to have dinner with, she might very well be the one. Her passion for wine and good food drives her to the finest places in Burgundy. Don’t ever expect to meet her at an average restaurant in Beaune. As a world traveler and a foodie, she has a knack for picking the intimate, amazingly good Japanese restaurant and she makes sure to share the experience with her favorite coworkers. “Sharing” is actually a perfect word to describe Vanessa, both at work and off the job. We think that after reading what she is up to this holiday season, you will want to be one of her relatives, too!

Vanessa, what will you prepare at the table for your family this holiday season?

I plan on cooking a traditional French meal for Christmas Eve. We will have a free-range rooster, that I’ll pick from my local butcher’s. I am picky about the quality of the ingredients that I use – that is what makes a recipe extra special. One thing I love about poultry is that it pairs perfectly with one of my favorite wines, Ladoix Premier Cru “Les Gréchons” 2014. I think this white wine is an excellent example of what you can expect from this specific appellation on a typically Burgundian vintage, as 2014 was neither too hot or too cold. Both its nose and palate show delicate notes of quince and candied fruits that will flatter our side dishes, oven-cooked apples with a spoonful of quince jam, and chestnut puree. It’s a chardonnay that is complex and delicate at the same time, definitely elegant. I love how the unctuosity of the wine is a perfect match for the tenderness of the capon.

The holidays are a big deal to me, as it is the only time of the year that I get to reunite with my cousins, aunts, and uncles. We try to make the most of the occasion and get back to the table for a second round of food, wine and fun on Christmas day. This year, I will be serving a prime rib of beef that we’ll cook in our fireplace – it smells as good as it tastes! I will add a morel sauce to make it feel even more festive, not to mention that the recipe will pair perfectly with our Maranges Premier Cru “Les Loyères” 2015, another favorite of mine. Maranges is a lesser-known appellation harboring a few Premiers Crus and offering an excellent price-quality ratio. Famille Carabello-Baum’s 2015 vintage already started to evolve and develops aromas and flavors of mushroom and forest floor that I love. It is outstanding with a piece of red meat!

How would you make this holiday season extra special?

One of the many things I enjoy about my job is that I get to taste and select fine wines from all across the globe. Over time, I got the chance to fill my cellar with amazing reds and whites from the New World. I love to surprise my guests with these wines, especially if they remind me of a cuvée from Château de Pommard or Famille Carabello-Baum. It is the perfect occasion to show them the similarities between two wines from such distant vineyards. I recently had a crush on a chardonnay from Upper Hemel-en-Aarde, in South Africa. I can’t wait to serve it after a Ladoix Premier Cru “Les Gréchons” 2014 and see how my family reacts.

What gift would you give to the wine lover on your Christmas list?

2018 was a challenging year, as I got to open our wine school at the Château École V. Now that it is running, I would love to give a WSET level 1 course to my cousins. It would give us a chance to reunite one more time, and for me to have them in Pommard and share my passion.

 

What about you? Did you think of your holiday menu already? What wines will you be serving? We would love to know about your tips to make this season extra-special! And when it comes to gifting… Don’t forget to give Burgundy to your friends, family and wine lovers on your list.

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