It’s time to start thinking about Christmas wines, but before I do let me start with a cracker joke.
What does a turkey drink wine out of? A gobble-let of course!
But much more important is what to drink with the turkey if that’s what you are serving on the big day.
My first rule is don’t bring out a bottle you’ve been saving for ages.
There are so many flavours on the Christmas plate and so many other distractions that your special bottle will just get a bit lost.
Generally speaking, I think crowd-pleasing reds with plenty of fruit are what’s required – pinot noir, rioja and juicy new world reds can work really well.
New Zealand pinot noir is a great match, generally having a little more ripe fruit then their Burgundy counterparts.
Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir 2015, Martinborough (Waitrose £10.99 on offer from £13.99 December 7 until January 3) is made by Larry McKenna, one of New Zealand’s great pinot noir wine makers. This is beautifully perfumed with black cherries, raspberries and a touch of spice.
The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and great depth of fruit before a succulent finish.
Parcel Series Pinot Noir 2015, Central Otago (Majestic £14.99 or £9.99 if bought as part of six bottles) is a limited production range of wines produced for Majestic this time from Otago on the south island.
Perhaps not quite as ripe as The Edge, but there is still some lovely red strawberry and cherry fruit here with a twist of spice and savoury notes, followed by firm but ripe tannins and lingering finish.
It’s good value and great with roast duck or goose.
Rioja is a perennial favourite it seems, and if you want to push the boat out a little then Baron de Ley Gran Reserva 2010 Rioja (Waitrose £17.99 on offer from £22.49 until January 3) is a great example of mature rioja.
The bouquet springs out of the glass with red berries, liquorice, coconut, dried herbs and a touch of leather and smokiness.
The palate is really quite intense with supple tannins, vanilla and more of those red fruits with a really long finish.
This is classic rioja from a very good vintage. Open it a couple of hours before you serve with the turkey, or if you’re are having beef this Christmas this is going to work very nicely as well.
Lastly, how about a star to put under the tree?
Clos de Siete 2013, Valle de Ucco, Mendoza (Waitrose £15.57, Sainsbury’s £15) is made by famed French winemaker Michel Rolland and is a blend of malbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and petit verdot.
This is a very modern-style wine with lots of dark berry fruit, plum, spice, roasted coffee and chocolate and a very full-flavoured finish.
There is no doubt this will hold its own on the Christmas dining table!