Sipping in a Winter Wine-derland

The Christmas lights are twinkling and the yuletide playlist is on loop. So whether it’s Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey or The Pogues you’re after, I’ve found some super drops on the shelves, ready to be plucked and served at your Chrimbo party or along with your festive fayre. So get shopping (and savouring!)

  • Bargain Fizz

Te Hua Brut Cuvée (Lidl £7.49)IMG_9708

With a light fizz that resembles marshmallows and an endearingly dry character, Te Hua is a more promising bargain buy for a party that many predictable Proseccos. It has a delicate flavour with hints of hops and it’s going to go down will with all those savoury nibbles in December!

Louis Vertay Brut Champagne (M&S from £15)

IMG_0871Delightfully lively with lemon drop freshness and a buttery finish. It’s not tart and not too serious so it’s a great one to get Christmas Day started! Perfect with nibbles but it is a beautiful sip on it’s own, and is an absolute bargain on the run up to Christmas.

Nicolas Courtin Rosé Champagne (Majestic from £17.99)IMG_8308

On Christmas morning, it’s pink fizz all the way for me! It’s smoked salmon’s best friend and this new sip from Majestic is a great price. It’s bone dry and has red currant hints with a vibrant fizz and biscuity finish. Which means it’s perfect with savoury breakfast, Christmas lunch and a late night turkey sarnie. And as a confirmed crisp addict, I can confirm this fizz loves them!

  • Non Alcoholic Fizz

Fizzero (M&S £3.75)

IMG_9693Supermarkets have long been looking for the holy grail when it comes to non-alcoholic beverages, and often, their offerings fall short of lacklustre. However, with the zero alcohol Fizzero, M&S is on to something. A blend of sparkling grape juice and green tea, it has a pleasant sparkling wine flavour without the lingering synthetic grape must hints that some non-alcoholic bottles give you. There’s also no over-sweet elderflower which can make you despair at being the designated driver. I would sip this happily when abstaining from alcohol.

  • Still White

Mâcon Chaintré Pierres Polies Domaine Daniel Barraud 2016 (Lea & Sandeman IMG_9695From £15.50)

A classy but fun white burgundy for that pre-Christmas dinner party. The buttered popcorn nose reeks of classy Burgundian charm. It’s delicately oaked Chardonnay vibe comes through on the palate with a lovely twist of white pepper at the end. Whether you’re cooking salmon as an antidote to all the meat or if you’re enjoying a turkey sarnie, you can’t go wrong with this Northern-French gem.

IMG_0872Irresistable Gavi Broglia 2017 (Co-Op £8.50)

There are some pretty average Gavis out there, so it’s great to see one that is not only refreshing but is packed with charm. This one from Co-Op has an inviting pear drop nose and stone fruit flavour with a dash of sherbet to tease your tongue. A lovely alternative to some of the heavier Chardonnays this season’s food demands.

Denbies Bacchus Reserve 2017. (M&S £14)

IMG_9711From the North Downs in Surrey, this gooseberry nosed wine hints at the lush greenness that awaits your palate. Instantly as fresh and green tasting as a Sauvignon Blanc but with a richer texture than most. A squeeze of lime dissolves into a buttery sensation on the tongue. It’s bright and keeps your interest when you may have eaten and drank a bit too much over the festive season.

Borgo Pagliantetto Petrara Organic Verdicchio di Matelica 2017 (Waitrose £11.99)

Italy has a good CV when it comes to pleasingly delicious white wines. I plead with you to put down that bottle of watery Pinot Grigio because other grape varieties are available! Verdicchio is a great example of an Italian white grape which, once turned into wine, has great texture and flavour. Driven by a fleshy pear-like quality, this wine is endearing and moreish without any pretention. Its fresh finish keeps you interested and at this time of year, it’s a treat.

Grüner Veltliner Weingeberge, Federspiel, Nikolaihof (Berry Bros & Rudd £17.75)IMG_0826

Grüner Veltliner is one of my favourite European grapes and is bottled here to perfection. This absolutely perfect example of Austrian winemaking tastes as divine as the landscape it comes from. It’s also biodynamic and delicious. It’s fresh and mineral with a pleasing hint of ripe pear. It’s got a great texture and will go perfectly with all those party nibbles and cold cuts too.

Craven Chenin Blanc (Berry Bros & Rudd £21.50)IMG_0803

Crisp, with hints of green apple, this South African beauty is restrained and delicate with a breath of freshness. From the home of the best New World Chenin, this wine is refreshing and stunning and if you’re having white fish on Christmas Eve, then this is perfect!

 

  • Still Red

Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2016 (Berry Bros & Rudd £24.95)IMG_9934

If you buy one red wine this Christmas, it has to be this one! This Pinot Noir gives you a little more oomph than most, allowing it to be the perfect partner for that Christmas roast or a great sip with the fire on. There’s a ripe cherry nose and a red fruit character on the tongue, with the addition of a little smokiness. Balanced tannins and a peppery long finish make this mouth-watering sip one of my favourite wines of the season.

Bordeaux 2015 (Lea & Sandeman From £10.50)

IMG_0873If you want a sophisticated drop that will cope perfectly with all your entertaining needs this yuletide, it’s this wine. This own-label L&S beauty is good, honest Bordeaux with hints of subtle plum and gentle violet. If ever a red wine displays the perfect balance of fruit and tannins, it’s this bottle with a soft texture and a menthol note. This wine has a great price for such wine and is lovely as a leveller between events… Crack open a bottle while clearing down after one party and setting up for the next.

Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages 2017 (Lidl £6.99)IMG_0874

If ever there was a seasonal all-rounder at, it’s this wine. It’s all spice and plums when you smell this stunner, then there’s a classy jammy quality to the taste that is instantly likeable. Great with roast beef but easy to drink on its own by the fire.

Making Tracks Shiraz (Majestic From £7.99)

IMG_0875Think you know Shiraz? Think again! This is one sophisticated bottle. The nose has a hint of savoury blackcurrants with a peppery, spicy end. It tastes of instant dark fruit spice with a black pepper twist. There’s a pleasing warmth to the finish with great tannins – Perfect for winter and well into Jan!

Villa Annaberta Amarone della Valpolicella 2015 (Co-Op £18)IMG_0876

It’s often the case that a bargain version of a pricey-classic, isn’t worth the money, however, this menthol nosed Amarone gives off old-school charm ahead of that beautifully balanced raisony flavour that you’d hope for. Maybe not one to take to your neighbour’s party, but one to savour with your loved ones at home.

Berry Bros & Rudd Chilean Merlot 2016 (Berry Bros & Rudd £9.50):

IMG_0877This wine is the a South American stunner that doesn’t taste like a bargain! I mean wow! It’s all plums and violets on the nose and it gives a huge amount of happiness on the palate. When you don’t know what to drink next, open this and you won’t be disappointed. Bramble fruit with a delightful woody depth. The finish is spicy and a hell of a lot better than mulled wine!

  • Still Rosé

 El Viaje de Ramón Garnacha 2017 (Co-Op £8)IMG_0878

Some people think that rosé is only for sipping when the days are long and the sun is high in the sky… Pah! It’s delicious all year round, and at Christmas, it’s a welcome change to the cheap plonk and over-sweet mulled wine you get at parties. This example from Bodegas Ramón Bilbao has the herbaceousness you’d expect from a Provençale pink, but with a fresh strawberry note and saline streak which is really pleasing. And it’s great with smoked salmon. This is a year-round stunner. And after all, Rioja isn’t just for red wine lovers.

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