The best Christmas wines

Make sure your Yuletide is a merry, berry one with our expert’s pick of the juiciest reds, whites and fizzes to suit every budget

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The Independent Online

Budget Christmas:

Best party red

2012 Morrisons Signature Carmenère

One of the newcomers to Morrisons' Signature range, this bright red made from Chile's own signature grape, carmenère, has plenty of juicy damsony fruit with a bittersweet chocolatey note on the aftertaste.

£7.99, Morrisons

Best party white

2012 The Exquisite Collection Limoux

This is a thoroughly well-crafted Atlantic-influenced chardonnay from Jean-Claude Mas punching above its weight with a juicily-ripe peachy-fruit quality with nuances of toastiness and oak cask-derived complexity underscored by an attractively nutty finish.

£6.99, Aldi

Best for smoked salmon and shellfish

2012 Fossil, Lisboa, Vale de Capucha

A blend of the arinto, gouveio and fernão pires grapes, this dry white from the Lisbon region is a sort of Portuguese chablis, combining deliciously pure stonefruit flavour with an ocean breeze-fresh mineral dryness.


Best for fish

2013 Bellingham The Bernard Series Roussanne

The Southern Rhône grape grown in the Cape produces a subtly smoky dry white with mouthwatering elements of peach and apple supported by a backdrop of smoky, spicy notes, and finishing with a seductive juiciness.

£7.99, down from £10.99, Sainsbury's

Best for turkey and chicken

2010 La Mascota Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina

Made from pure cabernet sauvignon, this quality organic red from Mendoza in the Andes is enticingly violet-scented with lots of opulent raspberry and blackcurrant succulence.

£9.99, Tesco

Best for goose, duck or game

2012 Laya, Bodegas Atalaya, DO Almansa

Seductively smoky with a pepper and spice bouquet that's not a million miles from Crozes-Hermitage, this modern southern Spanish blend of garnacha and tempranillo is blackberryish with a refreshing peppery flourish.

£8.99, Morrisons

Best Vegetarian

2012 Château de Pizay Morgon

Forget Beaujolais Nouveau, this pure gamay-based red is the real thing, a vibrant and fragrantly cherryish beaujolais showing a captivating strawberry fruitiness that has all the requisite nubile vigour and zing you could ever ask for.

£10.99, buy 2 bottles save £4 = £8.99, Majestic

Best for cold, honey-roast ham

2011 Viña Zorzal, Graciano, Vinicola Corella, Navarra

I've watched this Spanish glugger go down a treat with consumers at the Wine Gang Christmas fairs. The herby aromas and moreish plum and mulberry fruit of the peppery graciano grape of rioja meet a vivid damson-fresh finish.

£6.75, The Wine Society

Best sparkling

French Connection Brut NV Champagne

Amid the plethora of bog-standard budget supermarket champagnes, this pinot noir and meunier-based blend stands out not only because it looks good, but because it tastes rich and creamy and convincingly, explosively full-flavoured.

£11.99, down from £15.99, Wine Rack

Best for mince pies and christmas pudding

2012 Vigna Fiorita Gemma Moscato d'Asti

With a candy floss-like lightness at only 5.5% alcohol, this fragrantly-scented Piedmontese fizz whose grapey lemon sherbety tang dissolves sweetly yet refreshingly on the tongue is the perfect complement to festive sweetmeats.

£7.25, Oddbins

Best for stilton and blue cheeses

2010 Concha Y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

With topnotes of the sauvignon's floral, herbal character, the honeyed richness that incorporates exotic passion fruit and zesty grapefruit edge makes this great-value sweetie a satisfying match for blue cheeses. Half-bottle.

£5.97, Asda

Best Father Christmas Present

The Exquisite Collection Eiswein, Rheinhessen

Scheurebe, huxelrebe and silvaner grapes freeze and shrivel on the vine to create a rich blend of tropical citrus fragrance while crystallised lime and grapefruit characters are offset by a razor-sharp acidity.

£7.99, half-bottle, Aldi


Splash-out Christmas:

Best party red

2011 Malbec, Trivento Golden Reserve

Inside the imposing bottle, this is an Argentinian malbec showing a seductively exotic blackberry fragrance and a lively juicy black cherry and plummy fruit quality.

£12.99, down from £14.99, Wine Rack

Best party white

2012 Jacob's Creek Reserve Chardonnay

A successful premium re-invention of the stalwart Aussie brand, this is an elegant, modern style with grapefruity aromas and the enticing grapefruit and pineapple characters of the cool Adelaide Hills supported by cask fermentation complexity.

£9.99, Sainsbury's

Best for smoked salmon and seafood

2009 Rully Blanc, Jean-Yves Devevey

A superior white burgundy from the Côte Chalonnaise, displaying an attractive appley chardonnay richness with a textured nutty quality supporting the clarity of fruit flavour.

£18.50, Berry Bros & Rudd (0800 2802440)

Best for fish

2011 Coto de Gomaríz, DO Ribeiro

This magnificent Galician blend of the local treixadura and godello grapes displays a voluptuous kernel of peach-like fruitiness wrapped in rich honey-flecked nuttiness, trenchantly sliced through with savoury acidity.

£15.75, Roberson (020-7381 7877)

Best for turkey and chicken

2009 Barolo, Aldo Vajra

Aldo Vajra's wonderful barolo from Piedmont is just the ticket for the festive bird, showing the classic nebbiolo fragrance of violets and spice accompanied by elegantly savoury cherryish fruit that's effortlessly and seamlessly balanced.

£36, Marks & Spencer

Best for goose, duck and game

2011 Les Sinards, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

From the brilliant Perrin Brothers of Château de Beaucastel repute, this powerful and highly aromatic Southern Rhône blend is exuberantly spicy with a youthful liquid cherry fruitcake-like concentration and bright balancing aftertaste.

£18.99, down from £21.99, Sainsbury's

Best Vegetarian

2010 Domaine Humbert Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes

Behind the veneer of toasted oak spice and the raspberryish perfume, the delicate fabric of this pinot noir is framed by a sumptuously juicy quality thanks to skilful winemaking and a great red burgundy vintage in 2010.

£24.30, Lay & Wheeler (01473 313300)

Best for cold honey-roast ham and pâtés

2009 Muga Selección Especial, Bodegas Muga, Rioja

This joyfully stylish tempranillo-based young rioja is showing a mellowing touch of maturity behind the glossy texture of a wonderfully pure and rich mulberry fruitiness.

£20-25, The Wine Society, Majestic

Best champagne

2004 Moët & Chandon Champagne

A huge step up from the popular NV, this classy vintage fizz is intensely toasty in aroma with a stylish, creamy, mouthfilling mousse of toasty bubbles that waft from the nose to ensnare the grateful tongue in a satisfying dry finish.

£35, Tesco (down from £43), and widely available

Best for christmas pudding and mince pies

Classic Pedro Ximénez, Fernando de Castilla

Compared to the heavier styles of PX, this unctuously dark nectar from the excellent Fernando de Castillo oozes liquid prunes and raisins yet remains ethereally light on its feet thanks to a purifying fresh aftertaste.

£17.49, WoodWinters shops (01786 834894)

Best for stilton and blue cheeses

Sandeman 20 Year old Tawny Port

The Sandeman has an aromatic lift of cinnamon-dipped raisin and rich liquid raisin and glacé-fruit intensity of flavour which combines with the complex nuttier, aged characters derived from a two-decade sojourn in big oak vats in Oporto.

£36.49, Waitrose

Best Father Christmas Present

1995 Champagne Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires

An all-my-Christmases-have-come-at-once vintage chardonnay with the creamy-rich foaming mousse tempered by the biscuity magic that great champagne develops over time.

£107.88-£175, Exel Wines (01738 493535)

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