Festive cheer: The 12 bottles of Christmas

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

From sparklers to the dessert wines, Terry Kirby reveals the drinks that will get you in the festive spirit...


Knightor Brut NV

In deep midwinter, what better to be reminded of the Cornish countryside in spring, contained in every mouthful of this sparkler made from traditional champagne varieties plus Seyval Blanc and Reichensteiner, grown on the sunny slopes around Portscatho and Looe. Effervescent, invigorating, simply delightfully English. £25.10, wineincornwall.co.uk; £26.99, ewwines.co.uk

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs

For that special celebration or a Christmas gift, this is as good as it gets in the top echelon of champagne. Supremely sophisticated and ethereal, with subtle flavours of brioche and lemon zest. The Majestic price is a steal. £80 (as part of a purchase of six mixed bottles; normally £100), selected Majestic stores; £120, cellarviewines.com

Taltarni Taché Rosé 2010

Wonderfully different sparkler from southern Australia, the colour coming from a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes added to the normal champagne mix. Slightly richer, more rounded and definitely drier than most New World rosé fizz, this would be excellent for parties and to accompany nibbles or tapas. £18, winetrust100.co.uk


Chimney Rock Elevage Blanc 2008

Made in California's Napa Valley but designed to taste like fine Bordeaux white – Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris grapes aged with stunning results: creamy, complex, rich, balanced with fine acidity and with a long finish. For your finest crustacea and prime white fish. £31, cellarviewines.com

Yealands Estate Black Label Gruner Veltliner 2013

Austria's finest grape gets the Kiwi make-over here with a predictably fine outcome – this is full-bodied, dry, with touches of pepper, smoke and pears that linger long and cleanly on the palate. Best with scallops with black pudding, lightly spiced Asian seafood or roast chicken. £11.95, winedirect.co.uk; £12.75, greatwesternwine.co.uk

Caruso e Minini Grecanico 2012

An excellent addition to M&S's range of budget-priced whites, this Sicilian wine made from the grape used for Soave is ideal for seasonal gatherings, good to drink with or without food. Refreshingly zesty and tangy, with some floral overtones, but remaining dry and crisp. £6.99, Marks & Spencer


Dominio de Cair 2009

Red wines in winter must be robust and warming, bringing summer sun into cold days, so taste the heat of Spain in this rich Tempranillo. Dark fruits, chocolate, touches of herbs and spices make for an enticing mix to accompany rich dishes such as roast goose or cocido madrileño, a Spanish festive alternative. £22, harperwells.com; £22.95, halifaxwinecompany.com

Château La Liquière Faugères Les Amandiers, 2012

Wines from Faugères are usually at the heavier end of the scale but this Carignan/Syrah/Grenache blend is a revelation – still fulsome, but supple, lots of bright, berry-fruit flavours and incredibly moreish. Very food-friendly, particularly for lighter game or poultry. £10.35, hhandc.co.uk

Caliterra Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010/2011

Every festive season requires a versatile red, and this Chilean fits the bill. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes get a touch of Malbec and Shiraz for complexity and there are masses of brambly fruits to the fore, with some sweetish spice in the background. £8.23, thedrinkshop.com; £8.99, elliescellar.com


Yalumba Museum 21-year-old Antique Tawny

Australia's fine fortified wines should be more celebrated over the festive season and this is a perfect "sticky" for rich, sweet puddings. An exotic mix of grapes, including Shiraz and Touriga Nacional, deliver complex, smooth flavours of caramel, honey and dried fruits. £26.99, simplywinesdirect.com; £32.50, fortnumandmason.com

Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Saint Albert 2011

For those who find some dessert wines too sweet. Unfortified, made from late-harvest Gascony grapes such as Gros Manseng; amazing vanilla and apricot aromas lead to lovely citric freshness on the palate. The locals drink it with foie gras, so try chicken-liver pâté, or it's terrific with lighter, fruity puddings. £13.95, corneyandbarrow.com

Quinta Do Noval Late Bottled Vintage 2007

From a pioneer of the late-bottled vintage style, an unfiltered, layered, almost rustic port, which fills the mouth with massive unrestrained flavours of rich, dark and dried fruits, with chocolate and leather somewhere in the mix. Classic accompaniment to Christmas pudding and blue cheeses. £19, ocado.com; £19.95, finecheese.co.uk

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before