Sometimes, what we really, really want is a wine that lives up to expectations.
A top drop we want to drink again and again, brings a smile to our face and teases us with its expansive layers of fruit, but doesn’t challenge us with its complexity… because quite frankly, we’ve seen enough twists and turns this year.
Quality wines that present great value for money are always worth bringing to the table. And don’t forget, the worst crime would be to run short, so make sure you have enough vino to toast the tremendous effort that goes into making your festive menu so special…
1. Journey’s End Identity Sauvignon Blanc 2019, South Africa (£7, Sainsbury’s)
As pure as the driven snow, this scintillating white with its edgy label shows remarkable freshness with pretty lime, green fig and white pear aromas, flavours of kiwi fruit, tangy green apple and herbs that linger impressively on the finish. Rounded and ripe with balanced acidity, this will go with all your party nibbles, seafood and veggie starters.
2. Murrina Greco di Tufo, 2019, Italy (£10, Marks & Spencer, in-store)
An exciting white if you like a bit more tinsel on the texture, this one stands out for its blossomy perfume and rounded, silky palate, with hints of melon, orange blossom and almonds. Polished with a seductive, floral note to complement aromatic smoked salmon, and give your roast turkey crown an extra lift.
3. Paddy Borthwick Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Wairarapa, New Zealand (£10 from £13.94, Armit Wines)
With appealing aromatics from all the great G’s you look for in a Kiwi savvy blanc – gooseberry, guava and grapefruit – here we have a touch of honeydew melon in the mix, and the wine feels focused and elegant. With a lovely lychee note and delicate fruity sweetness, balanced by fine acidity, the aromas and flavours echo on the finish. A star match with shellfish, smoked salmon and goat’s cheese salad.
4. Louis Latour Grand Ardèche Chardonnay 2018, France (£13.99, £11.99 Mix Six, Majestic)
A full-bodied, oaked chardonnay chimes with a big bird and bread sauce, especially one with a creamy, buttery richness that tastes like a Burgundy blonde; but is actually from the lesser known Ardèche region, further south and without the lofty price tag. Gorgeous from word go, with aromas of peach, hazelnuts and vanilla, flavours of fresh apricot and brioche, with just a little oak, feel rich and opulent but with enough acidity to keep everything in check. A real charmer and gift at the price.
5. Baden Spätburgunder 2019, Germany (£9.99, Lidl, in-store)
A ruby red pinot (spätburgunder is German for pinot noir) to complement a broad range of Christmas flavours, Lidl’s master of wine has rated this ‘turkey showstopper’ 91 points (outstanding) and we couldn’t agree more. Well worth discovering if you fancy going out of your comfort zone, it’s cherry-scented with a lovely core of cherry and raspberry fruit, supported by an attractive use of oak, subtle hint of spice and a smooth, silky texture.
6. No 1 Foundation Cederberg Syrah 2018, South Africa (£7.99 from £10.99, now until December 30, Waitrose)
If you want to go for gold, without having to blow the budget, this starry South African syrah (shiraz) was awarded a Gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020. With a beguiling bouquet of mulberry, blackberry and spice, a velvety, plush palate of sweetly spiced, ripe forest fruits, it’s smooth, sumptuous, and impressive enough to run the course. Serve with glazed ham on Boxing Day.
7. Yalumba Organic Cabernet Merlot 2019, South Australia (£10, Tesco)
A red with excellent green credentials, Yalumba have been championing sustainability since the mid-1990s, and the wild flower on this new release illustrates some of the red berry, leafy characters of the wine. Inexplicably delicious and deftly blended, expressive flavours of black cherry and blackberry fruit are entwined with a leafy, minty note, ending with hints of fennel on the finish. And it’s vegan, for your ultimate vegan Christmas dinner.
8. M&S El Duque De Miralta Rioja Reserva 2015, Rioja, Spain (£12, Marks & Spencer, in-store)
This blockbuster was crowned International Wine Challenge (IWC) Great Champion Red 2020, IWC Great Value Red between £8 and £12, as well as romping home with the Rioja Reserva Trophy. Excellent with turkey and all the trimmings, or goose (it has the depth of flavour to handle a rich chestnut stuffing). Beyond the vibrant nose and impressive array of cherry, liquorice, vanilla and spice, this tempranillo temptress ends with a warm, mellow, caressing finish, the type you won’t want to let go.
9. Rapaura Springs Marlborough Pinot Noir Reserve 2018, Marlborough, New Zealand (£21, Laithwaite’s)
A plush, elegant pinot with all the bells and whistles. It’s soft, fresh and inviting, with wonderful floral overtones, succulent dark cherry, blackcurrant fruits, plum and cassis, as well as a gentle, spicy, oaky influence lingering effortlessly against fine, silky tannins. Utterly delicious on it’s own and brilliant with roast chicken or turkey, spicy cranberry sauce and red cabbage. Merry Christmas!