Top buys for a corking Christmas
HostingChristmas is stressful, so to make sure you hit the right note with your drinks, Weekend Magazine wine columnist MATTHEW JUKES has selected wines for every palate and budget
It will be pretty hectic no doubt, prepping, cooking and chatting to your guests, so the style of wine to go for now is festive, celebratory and refreshing. Bubbles, therefore, would fit the bill perfectly. Here’s two great options for under 10.
FOR YOUR BREAKFAST
Bucks Fizz, NV Canaletto Prosecco, Italy (7.99, Nisa Today)
It may seem a little early for a festive drink, but this gentle fizz is the perfect wake-up call for your taste buds. Splash some orange juice in if you wish, but this is a dream wine on its own.
Cheers: Matthew”s wine picks with go perfectly with your Christmas dinner (posed by models)
FOR THE ARRIVAL OF THE GUESTS
NV Prestige Cava Brut, Spain (8.49, reduced to 6.49 until January 1, M&S)
The noon gun has gone off and you are at liberty to attack this bargain-priced, perky, lip-smacking, citrus-themed Cava. Delicious with the first wave of delicate canaps.
There are four main zones during a Christmas lunch — aperitif, juicy white, medium-weight red and port.
I always offer white and red with turkey, because if you load your plate with chipolatas and gravy then red is essential, but if you stick to veg and sage and onion stuffing then white is spot on.
It’s always a good idea to have a perky, inexpensive, chilled aperitif white to fill the gap between bubbles and sitting down to eat (this could be hours in my experience!).
Then port — hurrah for the most amazing of all fortified wines!
2011 Wither Hills, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand (9.49, reduced to 6.49 until January 3, Co-op)
Now that lunch preparations are under way, move off the bubbles to this pristine, taut, lively sauvignon, with its lime juice and fresh herb nose. Try it with smoked salmon blinis.
Christmas tipples: From left: Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc and Rioja
2011 Yalumba, Y Series Viognier, South Australia (8.49, reduced to 6.99 until January 1, Morrisons)
Ease yourself into a weightier white which would also do the turkey proud, but this is not an oaky wine, so all palates will love its peachy aroma and honeyed core of fruit.
2006 Lagunilla, Reserva Rioja, Spain (12.49, reduced to 5, until January 1, Morrisons)
The bargain of the season, so watch out for the stampede! This sensational, lusty, spicy red is your main turkey wine with all the trimmings.
2006 Wynn’s Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia (11.99, reduced to 6.99 until Janaury 3, Co-op)
Taking a darker, blackcurrant and chocolate theme, this heroic red is a little too weighty for the turkey or goose, but it’s perfect for beef or a well-appointed cheese board.
TO SIP WHILE YOU SIT AND WATCH the CHILDREN OPEN THEIR GIFTS
2006 Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port, Portugal (around 13.49, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Co-op, Booths)
The best ‘LBV’ (Late Bottled Vintage) of the season, grab a dainty glass of this wine and let the Christmas spirit soothe you.
NV Lindauer, Special Reserve Brut Cuve
After tackling the washing-up you need a reward, so it’s time to head back to something sparkly but, this time, with more gravitas.
Champagne would work well, but the following suggestions are every bit as enticing, and cost less!
There’s a sneaky Pinot Noir, too, for those who don’t need a lift!
NV Lindauer, Special Reserve Brut Cuve, New Zealand (11.99, reduced to 8.99 until January 3, Waitrose)
Lift your game with this sprightly sparkler and don’t worry if you want to make a sparkling wine cocktail with it because there is tons of character here.
BEFORE YOU START THE BOARD GAMES
2009 Cycles Gladiator, Pinot Noir
NV Freixenet, Elyssia Pinot Noir, Cava, Peneds, Spain (14.99, Waitrose, Tesco)
Is this the flashiest Cava of all time Ros, that looks and tastes devastatingly chic, this is a wine that will give you the perfect intro to post-dinner nibbles.
2009 Cycles Gladiator, Pinot Noir, California (8.99, reduced to 7.99 until January 8, Wine Rack)
You can calm the excitement a touch with this silky smooth, strawberry and cherry-scented beauty. Same grape as the Elyssia, so a lovely handover of flavours, to lead you into the evening.