Anthony Rose: 'When it comes to matters of taste it’s a false economy not to take the upshift challenge'

I was watching the downshift challenge on Daybreak TV recently (don't ask). Drop one brand level lower and you can save 40 per cent, claimed Martin Lewis, because people are fooled at Christmas into thinking they must have the best. He tried out two Christmas trees on children, one cheerful, the other deeply depressing. The suggestion that the depressing cheaper one was better because it was cheaper lacked conviction. He then road-tested a Christmas pudding and mince pie on a blindfolded Adrian Chiles who guessed both the more expensive ones correctly. Which suggests that while it may be worth saving on basic brands, when it comes to matters of taste, wine in particular, it's a false economy not to take the upshift challenge and enhance the enjoyment.

Time was when wine's answer to the downshift challenge was to think of a premium French wine and then downsize to the New World for better value. It's often still the case that you can downsize from a Pauillac to a Chilean cabernet sauvignon, a Burgundy to a New Zealand pinot noir, a Châteauneuf to an Australian shiraz. Not always. You may equally be better off looking for value to go from a classic region to an up-and-coming one. So let's not be too Scrooge-like this week but give ourselves the option of choosing great value or upsizing to great quality in a variety of styles suitable for the festivities.

Obviously, ample supplies of fizz are required to get you in the mood. Cava is often the obvious choice because it's cheap; while the Codorniu Vintage Cava Rosé, £6.49, down from £12.99, Tesco, is pretty and strawberryish, the Okhre Natur Organic Cava, £9.99, M&S, is worth the extra for its deliciously dry, appley bite and fresh mousse. Ditto New World fizz, where the likes of the Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Brut, down to £9.74, from £12.99, Waitrose, is bordering on a bargain, but then so, in its own way, is Tesco's aptly named Tesco Finest Vintage Champagne 2004, £24.99, with its biscuity aromas and silky mousse.

For fish starters, you won't go far wrong with Tesco's apple-dry Finest Chablis, £8.94, but the 2008 Chablis Fourchaume, 1er Cru, Domaine Séguinot-Bordet, £19.95, Berry Bros & Rudd (0800 280 2440), will take you into another realm of complexity of stonefruit flavours backed by minerality. For anyone looking for a basic claret style, the blackcurrant opulence of the 2009 Taste the Difference Chilean Merlot, Curicó, £5.99, Sainsbury's, should satisfy undemanding palates, but for sheer class of merlot-based fruitiness, the 2006 Château Feytit Clinet, £35, waitrosewine.com,will do wonders for the turkey.

And Burgundy? Yes, go for value in the juicy, cherry-fruit succulence of the 2008 Ara Composite Pinot Noir, Marlborough, £9.99, down from £14.99, Co-op, but for true pinot seduction, try the savoury, cherryish fruit of the 2008 Domaine Roux, Volnay, £20, Marks & Spencer. Finishing on a sweet note, let yourself be seduced by Chile's refreshingly smoky 2009 Tabalí Encantado Late Harvest Muscat, half-bottle, £7.49, but don't miss out on the exotic lusciousness of the 2005 Clos d'Yvigne Saussignac, half-litre, £19.99, Majestic, with its nutty, orange marmalade undertones. To complete your Christmas wine shopping, see this week's 50 Best Wines for Christmas in The Information.

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Arts and Entertainment
books
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone