This has been a year like no other and I am sure you look forward to enjoying Christmas and hope that next year will be less stressful.
There are several stunning, inexpensive wines in my collection, but this is a splash time too. So there are tempting bottles at all costs for you to reward your taste buds and those of your friends.
As always, once my list is printed there is a rush to buy the wines so don’t hesitate.
While some of the dealerships may not be near you, they all ship nationwide. You can save a lot of money by taking advantage of the case prices given here and other offers.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Sparkling Christmas Eve
2018 Specially Selected Crémant du Jura (left), France £ 8.49, Aldi I’ve been writing about this wine for ten years and although the price has gone up by £ 2.50 over that time, it’s still a bargain. The slim, finely tuned sparkler is made from 100 percent Chardonnay and has enough class to accompany canapés and lighter dishes. NV Taste the Difference Crémant de Loire, Mlle Ladubay (right), France £ 11.50 reduced to £ 9 by January 1st, Sainsbury’s. Made by Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay from a world class winery, this champagne method sparkler is a delight. Like the label or not, the wine is a triumph – fine, bone-dry and penetratingly fresh
2017 Beacon Down (left), Blanc de Noirs, Sussex, England £ 28.99, 22 stores and waitrosecellar.com. Another wine made by a first class producer (Simon Roberts from Ridgeview) and made from 100 percent Pinot Noir. Mild, calming and with wild raspberry tones, this sparkling water has undeniable class and will enchant your senses with its perfume and its balance. NV Hattingley Valley (right), Classic Reserve, England £ 35, hattingleyvalley.com; £ 30, Waitrose; £ 29, Tesco; £ 33, greatwine.co.uk. The award-winning winemaker Emma Rice combines this classic sparkler with skill, and a touch of Burgundy barrel fermentation brings depth. This non-vintage wine gives the impression of a more expensive vintage creation with toastiness and a long, even finish
Christmas Eve white
2019 Mitravelas (left), White on Gray Moschofilero, Greece £ 7.95, thewinesociety.com Flowery, light, refreshing and delicate, this is one of the most exciting and invigorating white wines of the year. There is a cool, wine-red freshness here, which indicates exotic fruit notes, but is kept in check with lively citric acid. 2019 Savoie (right), Cruet, Vieille Vigne, Domaine de l’Idylle, France £ 13.50, yapp.co.uk. It is a beautiful white wine from the mountainous region of Savoie in France and is made from rare Jacquère grapes that love the cool foothills of the Alps. Tender and fresh with honeysuckle and apricot notes. Perfect as an aperitif to cleanse the palate or with raclette or fondue
2018 Saint-Véran (left), Louis Jadot, Burgundy, France £ 16, Tesco. Jadot is a legendary winery in Burgundy and I am sure you will recognize the famous label. This delicious Chardonnay does not see oak, but gains in intensity and depth due to its beautiful vineyards and the ripe 2018 vintage. This wine is just in tip top shape and talented enough to make it up to the main course. 2019 Orvieto Classico, Campogrande (right), Santa Cristina, Umbria, Italy £ 10, selected cooperatives. I’m a big fan of Orvieto and this cucumber-fresh kind of bright white is what posh Romans have been drinking for eons. Campogrande is made by the famous Antinori family and uses a blend of native Italian grapes that make it come alive in the glass
2018 Morrisons The Best English Dry Whites (left), Lyme Bay £ 14, Morrisons. This intricate white contains Reichensteiner, Seyval Blanc, Bacchus, and Pinot Blanc grapes, which is why it’s such a star. Silky and with lovely floral tones, it’s made from locally grown fruits by the brilliant Lyme Bay winery in Devon and in Dorset, Hereford and Kent. Goes perfectly with smoked salmon and seafood dishes. 2019 Tesco finest * Pinot Grigio (right), Terre di Monteforte, Veneto, Italy £ 8, Tesco. The key to the success of so many of the wines in this collection is that they are made by expert wineries. In this case, Cantina di Monteforte is a premier cooperative with access to amazing, hand-picked raw materials. The result is a Pinot Grigio with a super smooth texture and a beautiful bouquet of flowers
Christmas Eve red wines
2019 Porta 6, Lisbon (left), Portugal £ 8, cooperative; £ 7.50, Tesco. This is a star performer not only because the value is superb, but also because it’s such a good take on the modern Portuguese red wine scene in just one wine. Bright, plump, simple and sleek – this is something for those who don’t like anything too heavy or rich. You don’t even have to match it with the food to enjoy the seamless charm. Enjoy. 2018 Taste the Difference Marzemino, Trentino, Italy £ 8.50, Sainsbury’s (right). This Italian beauty is made from the little-known Marzemino grape and comes from the cool mountain areas of Trentino. This cool climate gives this silky, mulberry and plum kissed wine freshness and crispness. Drink it with spicy Indian or Asian cuisine and you won’t believe how well the flavors, fruit and herbal notes of this cheeky wine lift the dish
2018 Mad Fish, Shiraz, Western Australia £ 9, Tesco (left). Spicy, cracked notes of black pepper and subtle bouquet garni details, paired with a deep blackberry juice core, make this number a very impressive number that is well above its price. Drink with rich vegetable dishes, juicy burgers or steaks. 2019 Jim Barry, The Lodge Hill Shiraz (right), Clare Valley, South Australia, £ 11 to £ 10 through Jan 1st, selected cooperatives. This deep, powerful, inky Shiraz comes from one of Australia’s most revered wineries and is full of notes of blue and black fruit. You need to decant this wine while breathing, then wallow in its heady fruit with a hearty cake or stew
2019 Côtes du Rhône, Domaine de Verquière, France £ 11.70, reduced to £ 10.40 each by the hhandc.co.uk case (left). This is another red that seems to be misrated due to its lovely perfume and taste. Maybe the chic label reveals the class inside, but it’s the palate that sounds the trumpets on your senses. Luxurious, dark and with notes of liquorice, black olive and blackberry, it is so smooth that it shines in the glass. Serve with cheese. 2018 Sancerre Rouge, Terre de Maimbray, Pascal and Nicolas Reverdy, Loire France £ 10.70, half bottles, reduced to £ 9.70 depending on the case, hhandc.co.uk (right). You may not want to drink a full bottle all the time. Here is a premium, half-size Pinot Noir that will delight your senses. Reverdy’s red wines are rare but incredible and I never tire of that aroma. With incredibly pure red cherry fruits and a wafer-thin feel, this is a true couture creation
Christmas Eve sweet and fortified
NV La Gitana (left), Manzanilla, Bodegas Hidalgo, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain £ 8, 50 cl bottle, Sainsbury’s; £ 12.50, 75cl, amazon.co.uk; £ 9.99 reduced to £ 7.99 50cl bottle in a Mix Six, majestic.co.uk. I love the dinky half liter bottle of this bone-dry manzanilla, although I honestly prefer the “full” 75cl format! Classy, salty, lemony and full of energy. This is a stunning aperitif wine that goes with every canapé and tapas you can imagine. Cheers. NV Waitrose No. 1 Rich Cream Sherry (right), Jerez, Spain £ 11.99, Waitrose. Unlike La Gitana, this sherry is on the opposite end of the dry-sweet spectrum. As a multi-year winner, this wine that has chilled a touch is beautiful with every cake in every imaginable pastry shop. It tastes just as good with afternoon tea as it does miracles with chocolates after dinner
NV Blandys, Duke of Clarence (left), Rich Madeira, Portugal £ 12.49, Waitrose, Morrisons, ocado.com; £ 13, co-op. This wine is technically sweet, but perfectly named because it is actually very rich and balanced with a clean acidity that also gives it freshness. There are notes of caramel, ginger, figs and nuts. It’s about as Christmassy as wine. 2017 Château La Rame, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Bordeaux, France £ 14.99, half bottle, reduced to £ 12.99 in a Mix Six, majestic.co.uk (right). This is not a cheap wine, but it definitely has an impact on the nose and palate. Wines in this class are not swallowed and although half a bottle it goes a long way. Light and slightly honeyed with notes of orange peel, this treasure goes well with fresh, fruity puddings, fragrant, delicate cakes and crème brûlée as well as light blue cheese
Christmas Day Fizz
NV Jansz, Premium Cuvée, Tasmania, Australia £ 17.99, reduced to £ 14.39 by Jan 3rd, Waitrose With a world-class taste, richness and depth rare at this price point, Jansz is a superstar property and this is a winner. Made the same way as champagne and with the same grapes, it’s just as important as the best you can find down under. 2006 Claude Carré, Cuvée Passion, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France £ 25, Sainsbury’s Made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes, this has an extra dimension of maturity and flair. It’s a fine example of a small property that acts like a big brand, but at a far lower price!
2017 Oxney Organic, Classic, Single Estate, East Sussex £ 37, oxney Estate.com Oxney is one of the best wineries in the UK and this sparkler is great. The nose has delicate notes of lime curd and brioche, while the palate is perfectly crispy. 2008 Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne, Grands Crus Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France £ 145, thechampagne company.com; £ 150, dorsetwine.co.uk If all you want to do is buy one standout Prestige Cuvée champagne this season, make it an example of vinous perfection. “Can you taste the quality?” Is the question on everyone’s lips. “Yes you can!” Is my answer
2019 Las Colinas del Ebro, Garnatxa Blanca, Terra Alta, Spain £ 9.95, up to £ 9.45 each if you buy six bottles, stonevine.co.uk The taste of this wine has stuck in my brain since It was my first time trying it, and I resisted the urge to write it down so I could save it as my white aperitif choice for Christmas Day. Slender, kissed with herbs, green apple and pears, and soaked in minerals, this is quirky yet very appealing. It’s under a ten too! 2018 Château Paul Mas, Parcelle Belluguette, Languedoc, France £ 15.99 reduced to £ 13.99 in a Mix Six, Majestic This is a firework of wine with a huge explosion of taste on the palate. Made from 45 percent Grenache Blanc, 30 percent Vermentino, 15 percent Roussanne and 10 percent Viognier, French and American oak are used here to give this wine a lot of power. Rich, indulgent and classy, it goes perfectly with Turkey
2018 Viré-Clessé, Vieilles Vignes, Christophe Cordier, Burgundy, France £ 16.99 reduced to £ 14.99 in a Mix Six, Majestic if you’d prefer to find a wine with elite turkey-matching skills, however not go beyond the traditional meatier side dishes, then this wine is for you. If you stick with fish, this is your favorite white too. Made from old Chardonnay vines, there is great intensity here, but this is not an arrogant wine and so it manages to balance depth and freshness with absolute ease. 2019 Love by Léoube Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France £ 15.99, daylesford.com; £ 17.95, greatwine.co.uk I snuck into a feather-light rosé because it goes well with smoked salmon and we always have blinis on Christmas Day. Organically grown, with 13 percent alcohol, it is light and silky with a faint salty smell and a long, smooth finish
2019 Tenuta di Salviano, Grechetto, Umbria, Italy £ 16.95, reduced to £ 14.95 on a case-by-case basis, leaandsandeman.co.uk Grechetto is usually an angular, angular white grape, but Salviano’s version is positively majestic. With breathtaking balance and precision, and a calm, delicious finish, this is an amazing find. Not something you would stumble upon every day so I hope you are moved to find this wine as it is a real piece of genius. 2020 silver lining, Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills, South Australia £ 19.75 reduced to £ 17.78 each, greatwine.co.uk This elite Sauvignon Blanc only arrived in the UK a few days ago. Winemaker Marty Edwards was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012, and the sale of his sparkling wines is contributing to Parkinson’s research. This wine, first class in every respect, is shaped like a fine Sancerre
Christmas day red wines
2018 Robert Oatley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Western Australia Approx. £ 62.89 for six (£ 10.49 each), Costco; £ 11.76; cambridgewine.com The value here is insane as the winemaker, taste, region, and vintage are all top notch. Larry Cherubino makes Cabernet with black currants and this 2018 is one of the best he’s ever made. Drink instead of a red Bordeaux. 2018 Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil, La Source, Yannick Amirault, Loire, France £ 17.95, up to £ 15.95 per case, leaandsandeman.co.uk Dark, deep and brooding, this is amazingly intense for a red out of the cooler ones Areas of the Loire Valley. It goes well with game dishes, stews, rich sauces and especially fine cheese boards, such as B. the gravitas and strength contained in the smooth wine soaked in black cherries
2016 Edmeades, Zinfandel, Mendocino County, California £ 15.95, pauladamsfinewines.co.uk; £ 18.70, drinkfinder.co.uk; £ 18.99, wineunlimited.co.uk; £ 17.99, simplywinesdirect.uk The Zinfandel grape is tailor-made for a Christmas party. While this is a rich, decadently flavored, deeply rewarding red wine with shiny fruit and a luxurious texture, it is the breadth of flavor that really piques interest. Cinnamon spices, cloves and cranberries as well as red currants, blueberries, darker berries and plums can be found here. There’s smoky oak too, and all of this creates a taste cacophony that only zin can provide. 2016 Rudera, Syrah, Western Cape, South Africa £ 21.25, wildvines.shop Rudera is an elite winery in the Cape and the wines are exceptionally rare. It was therefore exciting to hear that this wine and the rest of the portfolio have found a permanent home in Great Britain with the South African specialist Wild Vines. There is wondrous intensity here, coupled with real drama and class, and notes of pepper and black fruit are high on the list for this four-year-old wine. A real treat for hedonists and collectors. This is one of the best wines of the season
2018 Berry Bros & Rudd Bourgogne Côte d’Or Pinot Noir by Benjamin Leroux, France £ 18.95, bbr.com Made by the brilliant Ben Leroux who is already drinking perfectly thanks to its silky, ripe, fleshy fruit and pure red cherry Another brilliant turkey wine that is lighter than my other red varieties and is suitable for palates who prefer delicate red flavors over more bombastic creations
Christmas day sweet and fortified
NV Gran Barquero, Pedro Ximénez, Montilla-Moriles, Spain £ 9.99, 50cl, Waitrose Gran Barquero is a classic version of this incredibly sweet wine, scented with fig, treacle and walnut. You can find a wide variety of choices in this style right now to go with any Christmas dessert and this one is spot on in terms of value for money and class. You only need a small jar to make a big impact. NV Curatolo Arini, Marsala Sweet Superiore, Sicily, Italy £ 11.99 reduced to £ 8.99 by Jan 3rd, Waitrose With a taste that evokes orange peel, figs, sultanas and honey, this wine is brilliant with lots of pudding Fruit cakes to Christmas pud. The price quoted is for a 75cl bottle so the value here is exceptional considering this is from one of the best Marsala properties
2018 Bousquet, Fortified Malbec Dulce, Mendoza, Argentina £ 14.95, 50cl, davywine.co.uk This is a complete oddity as Malbec from Argentina is usually red and dry, not red and sweet. Like a port crossed with a ripe red wine and perfumed with mulberries, plums, and espresso beans, this is incredibly tasty and goes perfectly with dark chocolate and post-dinner coffee. 2017 Berry Bros & Rudd, Sauternes von Climens, Bordeaux, France £ 14.95, half bottle.bbr.com Château Climens is one of the greatest wineries in the world, and this Sauternes, specially selected by Berry Bros, is nothing short of the sublime . Slightly spicy with lime peel and orange peel under the silky honey cover, refreshing but deeply decadent
NV Quinta do Noval, 10 year old Tawny Port, Portugal £ 24.99 reduced to £ 19.99 by Jan 3rd, Waitrose; £ 19.95, reduced to £ 17.95, masterofmalt.com This flavourful, sophisticated tawny has so much length on the finish that it is extraordinary. Noval manages to keep a lot of influence in its old tawnies and that makes this wine perfect after a big party