Wines with Christmas credentials.

by Alan Kingsbury - Friday December 1, 2017 10:12 am

We take a look at wines with special characteristics for the Christmas shopping list.

Every party needs a white wine that packs a friendly punch at Christmas, and our favourite latest discovery is a very successful Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa.

Leaf Plucker Sauvignon Blanc (£6.99 Aldi) is awash with soft peach and pear flavours which are given a zesty, citric zing and rounded out by a lightly spiced vanilla lift.

Judicious barrel ageing in French oak is the secret here, resulting in a well made, tasty and fantastic value all-rounder.

Super-ripe

Red wines employing partially dried grapes have have become increasing popular in recent years but Italian company Masi have been producing their stalwart Campofiorin wine using this method for decades.

The Masi Campofiorin 2014 vintage comes dressed for Christmas in its 50th anniversary livery and is available from Majestic at £14.99 or £10.99 each in a case of six.

This quintessential, medium bodied food wine features lean, soft, woody tannins that allow the super-ripe cherry fruit flavours direct access to the palate.

Big 'n beefy 

If the December stew pot is working overtime and requires an unashamedly full bodied red wine at the table, Marques de Casa Concha, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (£13 Tesco) delivers modern Chilean know-how with a premium style.

Concentrated blackberry fruit is underpinned by firm tannins and layered with cedar wood, chocolate and leather richness.

No matter how beefy the recipe, this Cabernet Sauvignon will be standing to attention and ready to take on those herbs and spices.

Fit for a king

For seasonal poultry dishes with creamy sauces we enjoy a full white wine that has a deep texture.

With typically bold New Zealand confidence, The King's Thorn Pinot Gris 2016 (£13.99 or mix-six £11.99 Majestic) fits the bill.

From Marisco Vineyards' classy Kings Series, this is a big wine yet not overly assertive.

It manages to combine lush stone fruits laced with tropical sweetness and a refreshing, citrus tinged minerality.

No compromise

Many wines these days are being made with 13.5 -14.5% alcohol but for Christmas drinking these figures can add up to being a bit heavy on the head.

From south west France, Grand Héron Côtes de Gascogne 2016 (£7.99 or mix-six £6.99 Majestic) offers a lighter choice that does not compromise on taste.

Made by Plaimont with regional grape varieties Colombard and Ugni Blanc, this zippy little wine is big on the palate with lemon and grapefruit flavours delivering a refreshing acidity with a spritzy uplift.

Who would know that so much punch could be packed by a wine with only10.5% alcohol?

Winter warmer

Take a bottle of red wine, infuse with aromatics of orange, lemon and red berry fruits. Then spice with coriander, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, warm gently in a pan and inhale.

It's mulled wine of course, the olfactory spirit of Christmas present.

We could naturally make our own but if friends arrive unexpectedly, life can be made easy with a supply of Belgars Mulled Wine (£3.99 Ocado). 

In this time-constrained modern world, a case of this in store is a direct and very economical route to heart warming, festive conviviality.

Cheers!

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