The holiday season is a wonderful time for gathering with friends and family, sharing traditions, or making new ones.
In the McLeish family’s homeland, Scotland, the traditions of Christmas haven’t been around for very long with most traditions we see today only being recognised since the late 1950’s. For almost 400 years the celebration of Christmas was banned by the Scottish Parliament. This was a law that was strictly enforced, with just the act of baking Yule Bread getting you thrown in jail!
Now Christmas and Boxing Day is often celebrated with those near and dear to you.
Thankfully, some of the traditions from long ago are still celebrated today, with cheers of ‘Blithe Yule’ or ‘Haud Hogmanay’ being heard in the streets for weeks.
Hogmanay is the Scots annual winter solstice and New Years celebration filled with rich traditions to help clear away the old year and welcome in the new one with a clean break. The act of ‘redding the house’ to remove old dirt and ash prepares the household for the ‘First footer’ who customarily brings coal, salt, whisky (or wine) and most importantly brings good luck for years to come. While traditionally the ‘First footer’ is a tall, dark, and handsome man, nowadays the first guest to cross the threshold after midnight is welcomed with open arms.
The most joyful tradition of all though, is the singing of Robert Burns lyrics to ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ Families, friends, and strangers gather in a circle with their arms crossed across their chests and join hands as the bells ring out at midnight signalling the new year. This song resonates all around Scotland and the world encouraging us to meet with old friends, have a drink and reminisce of the days gone by.
Santa in Scotland also has plenty of help at this time of year, as Scotland is the only country in the UK to have their own reindeers! There is a herd of over 150 reindeer that live in the Cairngorn Mountains that are ready to help Santa deliver toys (and coal) to the children of Scotland.
At McLeish Estate we truly treasure these moments and have put together our favourite wines we have to share with your friends and family at every kind of celebration this year.
In the McLeish household the quintessential Hunter Valley Christmas morning always includes a glass of our Culloden NV Duke Cuvee Sparkling wine while we cook up a luxe breakfast of smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and bacon.
As the morning continues and three generations of both sides of the family gather to open gifts, the 2022 Semillon and 2022 Dwyer Rose are enjoyed while the day warms up.
After the presents, the beautifully seasoned and roasted Turkey is served alongside all the trimmings including beans, potatoes, stuffing, and of course cranberry sauce. During the lunch a glass of the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic pairing to the centrepiece of the meal.
If Turkey is not on the menu this year, the 2020 Merlot is always the perfect pairing with a Crispy Roast Pork or Duck.
There is always room for dessert in this family, especially at Christmas, and the 2021 Jessica’s Botrytis Semillon is the wine of choice to enjoy with a traditional Christmas pudding or delicious Pavlova.
On behalf of the whole McLeish Family and Team, we’d like to say; ‘May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door. Happy Hogmanay. Lang May Yer Lum Reek.’
Cheers to the wine!
Bob, Maryanne and Jessica McLeish and all the Team at Mcleish Estate.