Toast of the town: The best Christmas wines

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

SPARKLING

Taittinger Prelude Grand Crus NV

A real special-occasion champagne is essential in any Christmas case of wine. From one of the few remaining major houses still in the hands of the family which founded it in the early 18th century, the Prelude is a Chardonnay-Pinot Noir blend aged for at least four years, so that initial citrus tastes develop into something richer and creamier, with a long, lingering finish. Savour on its own or with smoked-fish canapés. £35.99 (normally £37.99), winerack.co.uk; £39.95, champagnedirect.co.uk; £37 (each, when buying six bottles or more; normally £43), majestic.co.uk

Coates & Seely Rosé NV

There are now domestic alternatives to traditional champagnes. This critically acclaimed English sparkling rosé, the first vintage from a revived vineyard in Hampshire, is a perfect demonstration of how we can now beat the French at their own game – a lovely pale-salmon-pink in colour, flavours of strawberries and raspberries and a stunning crispness. Supremely refined and a simply gorgeous celebration drink. £27.95, coatesandseely.com; £29.99, thewinecompany.co.uk; £31.99, winepantry.co.uk

Mount Bluff Brut NV

Some simple bottles of fizz liven any festive occasions and this very dependable Kiwi sparkler does the job brilliantly. Made in traditional bottle-fermented style from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is enlivening, balanced, surprisingly sophisticated and would be perfect as an aperitif with canapés and nibbles as well as for party drinking. £10.99, Marks & Spencer

WHITE

1er Cru Raclot Jean-Marc Boillot Rully

If you are having, say, turbot or sea bass as your main course this Christmas, or need an alternative to sparkling to accompany crustacea, here is a classic white Burgundy from the Côte Chalonnaise, where great-value wines can be found. This is great Chardonnay the European way – precisely made, freshly mineral and full of subtle citrus flavours. £17.17 (each, when buying 12 bottles or more), goedhuis.com

Piccini Memoro Bianco

Following last year's Memoro red and adopting a similar mode, Piccini has drawn together Viognier grapes from Sicily, Chardonnay from Trentino, Vermentino from Maremma and Pecorino from the Marche, to create something very different, each grape adding its own qualities and complementing each other. The result is surprisingly full-bodied, creamy, smoky and spicy and needs pairing with rich fish dishes or roast poultry. £9.49, Tesco

Lefkes Moschofilero 2011

One of the highlights of the wine year was the Eastern Mediterranean range from M&S, showcasing some undiscovered gems from the region. This very dry, fabulously crisp, lemon- and-herb-flavoured white from Greece should be drunk over the festive season to remind us of summer holidays, help a fellow country in need, and because it's great to wash down a mezze-style buffet or oily fish dishes. £8.49, Marks & Spencer

RED

Valserrano Finca Monteviejo Rioja 2006

A single-vineyard Rioja from the Bodegas de la Marquesa, which may have been founded in the late 19th century, but now produces very modern wines. Spending only 18 months in new oak, the fresh and full red and dark-fruit flavours dominate and leave a rich, satisfying and long finish. The bottle to open for roast beef or goose or to accompany some strong cheeses. £22, jascots.co.uk

Montes Alpha Pinot Noir 2010

Who needs overpriced California Pinot (or Burgundy for that matter) when you can find unbelievably good-value Chilean wines that do the same job for your turkey or venison? Initially thrillingly vibrant on the palate, this stunning wine then reveals complex flavours of cherries, red fruits, chocolate and vanilla on the palate and finally a velvety textured finish. £11.90, slurp.co.uk; £11.95, winedirect.co.uk

Domaine les Yeuses 'Les Epices' 2010

Fantastic value and highly versatile, this Syrah vin de pays from the Languedoc is capable of being both a party bottle and also great to accompany robust foods or those turkey sandwiches. Lovely, perfumed aromas, with characteristic spices and sun-baked black fruits on the palate, but all held together in an appealingly soft, rounded fashion. £7.49 (each, when buying six bottles or more; normally £8.99), majestic.co.uk

DESSERT

Sandeman 20-year-old Tawny Port

Opening a once-a-year, by-the-fireside bottle of barrel-aged tawny, where the wine has turned golden and mellow, taking on complex flavours from the wood, is one of the great joys of the festive season. The perfect accompaniment to the Christmas pudding, blue cheeses or bowls of nuts and fruits, particularly dates. But, alas, once opened, port does not keep for long, so you just have to drink it all up. £29.95, leaandsandeman.co.uk; £36, selected Waitrose stores

Seifried Nelson Sweet Agnes Riesling 2010

In parts of Europe, Eiswein dessert wines are made by allowing grapes to freeze on the vine and so concentrate flavours, but in New Zealand, the Austrian-born wine-maker here freezes the Riesling grapes after late harvesting. But it works: the result is really pure apricot, mandarin and honey flavours with a light citrus undertone and a clean acidity to keep it from being too cloying. Serve very cold with properly sweet puddings. £13.05, farehamwinecellar.co.uk; £13.99, laithwaites.co.uk; £13.99, waitrosedirect.com

Mas de Madame Pays D'Oc IGP 2010

Muscat from the Languedoc is a perfect bottle for those who think pudding wines too sweet but find a white wine or sparkling overwhelmed by rich desserts. This is highly aromatic, packed with rich tastes of almonds, peaches and stone fruits but is light and fresh on the finish and is just deliciously different with fruit-based puddings or just a plate of cheeses and grapes – Muscat, if you can find them… £9.35, jascots.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
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

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Investigo: IT Auditor

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: A global leading travel busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

    Immigration: Obama's final frontier

    The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

    Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

    You know that headache you’ve got?

    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    10 best satellite navigation systems

    Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

    Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
    Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

    Paul Scholes column

    England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

    Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
    Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

    Frank Warren column

    Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines