As a well-known wine writer once said: ‘The mission statement of every bottle of wine is to bring pleasure.’
So the most important consideration when choosing Christmas wine, or any time come to that, is to drink what you enjoy.
With whites you probably need a selection chilling in the fridge to cover everything from Christmas lunch to people popping in. So, starting with some traditional Burgundy, here are my tips for this festive season.
The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Chablis 2014 (Co-op £9.99) made by the well-known Brocard family, is a beautifully pure, focused Chablis with citrus fruit and steely acidity. It’s really great value and would be perfect with smoked salmon.
Montagy Premier Cru Les Coères 2013, Cave de Buxy (Waitrose £11.24 on offer from £14.99 until December 29) has a little more weight than the Chablis, still fresh but with some richness and apple and pear flavours. This could stand up to the turkey or would be nice with cold gammon on Boxing Day.
Staying in France, Waitrose Sancerre La Franchotte 2014, Joseph Mellot (Waitrose £10.99 on offer from £14.99 until December 29) is from an excellent vintage and it shows. Very fresh with green herbs, a touch of gooseberry, flintiness and citrus acidity to finish. Try with shellfish or smoked salmon.
Staying with sauvignon blanc, if you need something in the fridge just in case the neighbours pop in, Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Banc 2014, Western Cape (widely available and Waitrose £5.99 on offer from £7.99 until December 29) is fantastic value, really fresh with a touch of tropical fruit and grapefruit.
If, like me, you are looking for something a little more left field Mas Lavail Carignan Blanc 2014, Cotes Catalanes (Majestic £11.99 but £7.99 if bought as part of a mixed six) is one of the more interesting wines I’ve tasted recently. White Carignan is related to the more well-known Carignan and this has lovely notes of honey, spices, blossom and citrus followed by a medium-bodied palate and a long finish. This will work with turkey or maybe even a goose.
Blank Bottle Moment of Silence 2014, Wellington (swig.co.uk £17.50) is without doubt one of my wines of the year and it would be a great Christmas Day wine.
A blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc and viognier made by one of South Africa’s new breed of young winemakers, this has a wonderful balance between ripe peach and apricot fruit. The palate manages to juggle richness and freshness, before a long, textured finish. It’s a great name as well and let’s face it, we may all need a little moment of silence on the big day itself.
Lastly, no Christmas day is complete without something rich and sticky to finish and this year the honours go to d’Arenberg Noble Wrinkled 2011, McLaren Vale (Majestic £12.99 but £9.74 if bought as part of a mixed six –half-bottle).
Made from riesling this just oozes honey, marmalade and raisins with an almost endless finish. To be honest you hardly need dessert but it’s gorgeous with mince pies and works well with blue cheese.