Top Christmas white wine | Alistair Gibson
I say this every year, but in my opinion the festive season is definitely not the time to start opening your treasured bottles.
There are so many distractions that trying to match a wine is quite a tricky task.
It makes sense to have more than a few bottles of good value crowd-pleasing whites in the fridge for all those visitors, and something a little more interesting for the day itself.
New Zealand sauvignon blanc remains ever-popular and there is a huge selection of supermarket own-label versions on offer. Exquisite Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough (Aldi £6.99) works particularly well and at the price offers great value for money. It’s going to make a good party wine for a house-full but also has enough going for it to match some smoked salmon.
In a very different style, but similarly great value, is La Vieille Ferme Blanc 2018, Vin de France (Co-op £6.75 on offer from £7.50 until December 10, Waitrose £8.79, Ocado £7.50).
Made from a blend of southern French grape varieties, there are notes of stone fruits, blossom, almonds and citrus on the nose, with a little weight on the palate with peaches and some fresh acidity.
One of my sons is spending Christmas in Margaret River, Western Australia, so I might well be raising a glass of Robert Oatley Signature Series Chardonnay 2017, Margaret River (Co-op £12) to him on Christmas Day, particularly as this is a very food-friendly wine capable of being paired with seafood as well as turkey or other white meats.
This is thoroughly modern Aussie chardonnay with melon, peach, citrus and some savoury notes on the nose. The palate is nicely textured with more peach and melon fruit, a little spice and some bright, fresh acidity.
It’s very good value and a lovely introduction to Margaret River chardonnay which is a style of wine I am particularly enjoying.
For another great match with turkey, try Domaine Sainte Rose ‘La Nuit Blanche’ Roussanne 2017, Pays D’Oc (Majestic £14.99 or £11.99 if part of a mixed six. This wine is also available from the estate itself sainterose.com under the label Barrel Selection Roussanne at £89.94 for six).
Domaine Sainte Rose was bought by British couple Charles and Ruth Simpson in 2002 and this was the wine that, in their words, put the winery on the map.
Roussanne is a Rhone Valley grape variety but it works well here in the south of France.
As the name suggests, it is barrel-fermented and has a lovely, creamy-yellow colour.
There are exotic fruits on the nose, as well as some vanilla, smoky notes and wood spices. The palate is fairly full-bodied and multi-layered with pear and peach fruit, ripe acidity and a very long, creamy finish.
This has some real complexity and would work well with turkey, firm-fleshed fish or a slow cooked shoulder of pork.