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Raise a glass to Coates & Seely this Christmas

Want to make this year's festive season sparkle? We pour flutefuls of fizz from the Hampshire-based brand to discover the best wines for Christmastime…

In many places around the world, the Christmas period is known as ‘silly season’. At Gentleman’s Journal, however, we know it as ‘Seely season’. Because, to our minds, the best way to add a little sparkle to Christmas proceedings is to pour a fluteful of fine fizz from Coates & Seely.

Every year since the British brand was established in 2008 — by old friends Nicholas Coates and Christian Seely — Gentleman’s Journal has banked on these bubbles to kick off Christmas celebrations. Occasionally, we’ll enjoy a bottle over an intimate team dinner. Sometimes, we’ll raise a glass during our end-of-year office drinks. And this year, the brand’s fizz flowed at our grand Christmas party, held at the upscale Stanley’s in Chelsea.

And there’s a very good reason why we rely on Coates & Seely to bring the Christmas cheer year-on-year. The winemaker’s delectable, distinctive offerings are stocked in some of the world’s most opulent places; from royal palaces to Michelin-starred restaurants. They’ve also been awarded medals and trophies from many of the most respected national and international wine competitions.

And yet, the homegrown, handpicked British brand remains one of the most humble in the whole winemaking industry. They’re a well-kept, sparkling secret — and one which we’re keen to finally pass around the party. That’s why, below, we’re popping the cork on this hidden gem, and revealing the best bottles to buy from Coates & Seely this Christmas…

The Coates & Seely Brut Reserve NV is a sparkling show-stopper

The first of the brand’s bottles worth buying is this; the Coates & Seely Brut Reserve NV. It’s a wine which begins life a mile to the south of the Hampshire vineyards, where the clear chalk streams of the River Test flow along the valley floor. These are perfect conditions — feeding soils and clays to give the grapes a dazzling balance of crisp acidity and sweetness.

It’s a quality and intensity that translates into the wine. The Brut Reserve NV sings with notes of rich apple and lemon curd, with exotic touches of melon, peach and tropical citrus also bursting through. It’s a full-bodied bottling, with many complex layers (look out for some bready flavours) and a creamy, effervescent texture. As non-vintage sparkling wines go, this is a show-stopper — and afforded even more pomp and seasonal ceremony when bought in magnum format.

Coates & Seely Brut Reserve NV

Coates & Seely Brut Reserve NV


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The Coates & Seely Rosé NV is a twist on the traditional

Created using 80% Pinot Noir grapes and 20% Pinot Meunier, the Coates & Seely Rosé NV perfectly demonstrates what the British brand does so well — blending. They blend vintages to create exquisite bottlings. They blend French techniques with British fortitude. And they blend tradition with innovation; fusing established wine-making craftsmanship with latest technology (the winemaker’s pioneering concrete fermentation eggs are the only ones in England).

This mastery shines through no clearer than through the bubbles of the pink-tinged Rosé NV. This is a wine with surprising undertones of baked goods and toasted nuts. With further sips, it sneaks in yet more unexpected flavours, such as white pepper and iron — before topping things off traditionally with the typical rosé notes of rose-hips, gentle citrus and red berries. Bright and colourful, it’s the ideal wine to serve alongside canapés at a Christmas party.

Coates & Seely Rosé NV

Coates & Seely Rosé NV


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The Coates & Seely ‘La Perfide’ Collection are fine vintages

For something a little more special — we’re looking at you, New Year’s Eve — Coates & Seely also have you covered. The ‘La Perfide’ collection offers a selection of fine vintages from the English winemaker, and its playful name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to ‘Albion la Perfide’, or ‘Perfidious Albion’, a teasing name the French once used to refer to the British.

But there’s nothing whimsical nor bitter about these vintages. Whether it’s the Blanc de Noirs 2014 Vintage, bursting with the flavours of minted orchard fruits and tart mandarin oil, or the Blanc de Blancs 2009 Vintage, an elegant, refined wine with notes of toasted brioche and green apple sharpness, Coates & Seely is acutely aware that a good sparkling wine takes a great amount of work to perfect.

Thankfully, there are few UK winemakers more forward-thinking or dependable than the Hampshire-based brand — and that’s why we’ll, once again, be raising a glass to them this Christmas.

Want more festive period tips? Here’s why you need a velvet jacket this party season…

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