T’is the season to be jolly… And get merry! As well as seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces, one of the many great things about Christmas is undoubtedly the food and drink! And it’s a great time for me as the rich white wines and the robust reds that go well with Christmas lunch, are amoungst my favourites.
So without further ado, here are a few of my top choices to open with turkey and all the trimmings, your Boxing Day buffet and beyond!
Taste the Difference Limoux Chardonnay from Sainsbury’s is one of my favourites. It starts fresh with a lingering richness of glorious buttery apricots. There’s a full rich butterscotch finish which is perfect with your turkey. It’s on the shelves for £9 and tastes more expensive than it is! Another gem from Sainsbury’s which would be great with your turkey curry is Taste the Difference Pinot Blanc. It’s spritzy with ripe watermelon flavours. It’s Fresh, light and fun and will work beautifully with the turkey meat and that hint of Asian spice. And at £7, it’s a bit of a bargain.
I’m a big fab of White Burgundy and Waitrose’s own label offering is superb. It has an apricoty nose a well rounded stone fruit character when you taste it. There’s even a little dried apricot sweetness on the finish too. This elegant Chardonnay has a fruity tang without overwhelming oakiness. It has a lovely texture and would be awesome with a turkey and stuffing sarnie! You can buy a bottle of this great wine for £8.99.
Now, I have to say how much I love Finest Chablis Premier Cru from Tesco. I’m not a fan of light, crisp examples of Chablis but this is a bold, creamy wine. Although it starts fresh and zingy, it soon develops into a wine with rich stone fruit character with the slightest hint of aniseed. It’ll be a real crowd pleaser with Christmas lunch. This superb wine is on the shelves priced at £12. Another great Finest wine is their Passerina – which is only £6! I’m a big fan of Italian whites that are food friendly and this crisp and citrusy wine with a hint of lemon and pear, is delicious. We had it with an amazing Thai style scallop salad (Thanks Rob Newton!) – And it’ll be amazing with a prawn cocktail on Christmas Day!
On the subjest of decent Italian wines, The Co-op have a great Verdicchio Dei Castelli de Jesi Classico on their shelves. It’s a steal at £5.49 and has a peardrop quality to it on the nose and tangy ripe pears continue on the palate. There’s a slightly sweet finish and I just know it’ll go great with your turkey risotto. And if you need something cheery and citrusy, their Truly Irresistible Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2016 from Chile is delicious. It’s ripe gooseberry nose sets up the silky and subtle mouthwatering citrus flavours on the tongue. Because of it’s youth, it’s a very easy-to-drink sip and can be yours for £6.99.
I have to start this section with my top tip for the festive season. This wine ticks so many boxes: It’s cheap enough to buy in bulk for your drinks parties and delicious enough to wow even the most hardened of wine snobs… (Don’t you hate it when they come round?!) It’s the Co-op Gran Vista Garnacha 2015 and is the ultimate soft, relaxingly good red to sip by the roaring fire. No need for food – but put this out at Christmas dinner, and your guests will think it’s a pricey bottle – Not knowing that it’s actually £4.99. It’s made in northern Spain in an area is known as the Empire of Garncha. The hints of black pepper on the nose and soft blackberry fruit on the palate make this wine an all round winner.
My absolute favouroite red wine of this year has to be Marks & Spencer’s Stepp Pinot Noir made by the people behind the excellent Palataia Pinot Noir also available in M&S. This German Pinot is ridiculously delicious. It’s delicately peppery nose entices you in and this wine doesn’t disappoint when you taste it. There’s an instant hit of juicy red currants, followed by a twist of black pepper and spice, which gradually gravitates down your throat. Not heavy but it is comforting. It’d be great with sausage rolls and beef on the buffet table! Treat yourself. It’s £15 a bottle and worth every penny. Pinot Noir never tasted so good!
And while I’m harping on about Pinot Noir, Asda’s Extra Special Marlborough Pinot Noir is beautifully ripe and juicy but really light if you fancy a lunchtime sip. No need for food, this wine stands up on it’s own. The wine is currently £9.48 a bottle.
But back to M&S and another red you’ve got to hunt out: Santa Maria Del Cami 2015. Expert winemaker and all round lovely lady Sue Daniels has come up with a Mallorcan gem for M&S with Ramon Vaca and I’m a big fan. You don’t see wines from Mallorca that often in the UK and it’s a real treat. Sweet blackberries fill your mouth, which develop into a rich hit of spicy plum. On the finish it’s soft and velvety and it really makes you smile! It’s £11 and you should definitely give it a go! And while we’re in the subject of red wines like this – Any chance of stocking some Lanzarote reds in M&S anytime soon Sue?!
Waitrose have a super classy number in their stores which you’ll love with your roast. Their Saint Auriol Corbieres is only £6.99 and is spicy, herbaceous and warm on the nose. It also has a sumptuous, luxurious texture. Rich, ripe berries and cherries lead you to a soft, tobaccoey finish. This sip starts sweet but ends really dry with balanced tannins.
And if you’re pushing the boat out, Majestic Wine Warehouse have a fantastic bottle for a special occasion like Christmas lunch. Their Lay and Wheeler Borolo is gorgeous! Made from the local hero grape Nebbiolo, this wine is crafted by two brothers, Bruno and Osvaldo Cabutto who run Tenuta La Volta, a small wine estate in Piedmont. When you sniff this little Italian beauty, there’s a multitude of black hedgerow fruit and a little tarragon. And when you taste it, soft ripe cherries come through with a pleasingly warm tannic structure and a well balanced peppery finish. You can purchase this gorgeous number for £25 a bottle on a mixed deal or £30 full price.
And while you’re there, you should hunt out their Capaia Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 from South Africa. Made in the Philadelphia region just outside Durbanville (which is a relative wine making newcomer) this wine is made in a French style on the Capaia estate which was founded on a old fruit farm in 1997. It’s intriguing with dark ripe cherries on the nose and rich tobaccoey fruit on the palate. There are cherries and plums in there and really balanced tannins. Wonderful with goose no doubt. This wine will age well in the bottle for 10 years but at £7.99 on a multi bottle deal, there’s no way that’s happening in my house!
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference rage has come up trumps with a lovely red from the Languedoc. Their Saint-Chinian is a soft yet robust wine with real sophisticated umph! (Even though it sounds like a bit of a contradiction in terms!) It’s a Syrah / Grenache blend made by Laurent Miquel whose family have been making wine there since 1791. Great with a roast in winter, it’d also be great with a BBQ in the sunshine… Not that a bottle like this with an £8 price tag would last that long in my wine rack!
Morrisons have a good drop of red on their shelves too. Their WM Morrison Western Australian Cabernet Sauvignon is on offer at £6, down from £7 and is rich, velvety and full of tobaccoey cherries. This ripe tasting wine from the Frankland River district of the country benefits from long sunny days and cooling sea breezes. It’s soft and juicy but packs a punch and is certainly warming for the winter nights.
And if you’re having a bit of roast beef, you can’t go wrong with this offering from Tesco. Their Finest ‘The Trilogy’ Malbec 2014 from Mendoza in Argentina actually has a savoury red meat whiff on the nose which is great for beef, particuarly when served with a rich gravy. When you taste it, the wine’s surprisingly sweet and plummy to start with, but then it shows a long, lingering finish. Rich and peppery, you really can’t go wrong with this wine. At £11, you won’t be disappointed!