Wine thoughts turn to Christmas

Muga Reserva 2008 Rioja
Muga Reserva 2008 Rioja
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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So December is here and it’s time to turn our thoughts to Christmas - for me it’s Spain and New Zealand reds this year.

The most important rule to follow when it comes to Christmas Day wines is that this is not the day for pulling out your best old treasured bottles. There are lots of flavours on a Christmas plate and so you need a red with good ripe fruits.

I’ve always thought that Pinot Noir is a great combination with turkey. Martinborough Vineyard ‘Te Tera’ Pinot Noir 2011, Martinborough (Majestic £17.49 or £13.99 when you buy 2) has ripe cherries, sweet spices and savoury notes.

Slightly cheaper but still delicious is Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2011, Marlborough (Waitrose £9.74 down from £12.99 until November 4) with its rich plum fruit and long finish.

Muga Reserva 2008,

Rioja

Without question my favourite Rioja producer, this is 70% Tempranillo and aged for 24 months in French and American oak. It has vanilla, mocha, cherry and liquorice on the nose with a smooth, full palate, and ripe tannins followed by a long, silky finish. A lovely red with turkey, or perhaps beef or venison.