Wine for New Year’s Eve – here are Alistair Gibson’s recommendations

Organic Prosecco
Organic Prosecco
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I’m never sure about New Year’s Eve. In some ways I’ve always thought it’s a shame it comes so close after the excesses of Christmas and that it would be nice to have a bit more of a break between the two.

When I was younger it was always another reason to go out and celebrate but as you grow older perhaps it becomes a quiet night accompanied by a decent bottle of red.

Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut

Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut

So, whatever your plans are for this new year here area few bottles that may help you celebrate the end of 2018 and the start of 2019.

Fizz is probably an essential in one form or another, either to get the party going or to bring in the new year. I don’t think there is any need to bring out your best bottles here. Maybe save one of those for New Year’s Day itself.

There are not many organic proseccos on the shelves and there is no doubt the we are going to be drinking more organic wines in the coming year, so Pianeta Organic Prosecco (Aldi £7.99) seems a good place to start.

The winery is also powered by renewable energy sources and the label  printed on recycled paper, so all in all this wine has to be good for you? Prosecco is still the best-selling sparkling wine in the UK and this is a lovely example with hints of pear, apricot and citrus on the nose. It’s made in a dry style and there is a nice crispness on the palate with a fresh, zesty finish. It’s jolly good value and would make a great base for cocktails too.

If it needs to have Champagne on the label then Champagne Veuve Monsigny Brut NV (£11.99 but at time of writing, £9.99, Aldi) is now  one of the UK’s biggest-selling Champagnes.

I’m never quite sure how Champagne at that price is possible but it has won multiple awards and this year was recognised with a silver medal at the Wine and Spirits Competition. It’s made for Aldi by Philizot & Fils and is a blend of the 3 classic Champagne grape varieties.

There are notes of green apple, citrus and nuts with a hint of brioche on the nose, a constant bead of fine bubbles and more notes of green apple and a nice rounded finish. Maybe this isn’t quite as refined as some of the more famous Champagne names but at this price there’s no doubt it’s something of a bargain and it won’t feel too extravagant if used to make ‘buck’s fizz’ for New Year’s Day breakfast.

I intend to be at home in front of the fire seeing in the new year, with a nice bottle of Rioja. Lagunilla Optimus 2014, Rioja (£22.99 on offer from £32.99 until January 1, Ocado, £36.90 Alexander Hadleigh, Locks Heath).  Made by Marques De La Concordia it’s very much a modern style

of Rioja, made mainly from tempranillo but unusually there is also a little syrah, merlot and cabernet sauvignon in the blend. It’s very deep in colour with dark fruits including plum and blackcurrant on the nose along with some exotic spices. The palate is quite fleshy with more dark fruits, silky tannins and enough acidity to prevent the wine from becoming too jammy.

Here’s to 2019. May it bring peace and happiness.