Christine Austin selects 20 reds and whites that will make your Christmas zing – whatever your budget.
Whether you are gearing up for a massive invasion of family and friends this Christmas or just planning to settle down in front of a fire with a loved one and a glass of wine, you will need to make sure that you have plenty of stock. Bearing in mind the pound’s devaluation post-Brexit, and the fact that most merchants will revise their price lists in January, it makes sense to buy not just for the next few days, but for those long gloomy weeks of January too. Not everything I have selected is on offer – some wines are really worth their full price.
Here are my top 20 wines for Christmas.
Wine Atlas Marsanne 2015, Pays d’Oc, France, Asda, £5.48: Just the sunny, travel poster-style label will help winter go away. This wine is full of rounded peachy fruit with a hint of spice on the finish.
The Project Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Western Cape, South Africa, Aldi, £5.99: Mentioned just a few weeks ago, this is a wine not to be missed. A bright and breezy lime-and-pineapple Sauvignon made by Duncan Savage, one of South Africa’s best winemakers.
Krasno Sauvignon Blanc Ribolla 2015, Slovenia, Majestic, down from £7.99 to £6.49 on a mix-six deal until December 31: Just 16 per cent of Ribolla Gialla grape transforms this clean, grassy Sauvignon into a wine with softer edges and a rounder palate. Team it with a herby salad.
Paul Mas Vinus Clairette 2015, Languedoc, France, Morrisons, £8: Light and aromatic with ripe pear, lemon and wildflower freshness, Clairette is making a comeback in the Languedoc. A delicious aperitif.
Sancerre Les Ruettes 2015, France, Marks & Spencer down from £15 to £10 until January 1: Gooseberry fresh with hedgerow-trimming aromas, this has more minerally crunch than many others. Great with fishy starters or as an aperitif.
Tesco Finest Chablis Premier Cru 2013, France, £12: Every Christmas table needs a good Chablis and this is it. With crisp, citrus fruit and a crunchy gravel path texture, it will complement prawns, fish or even a late night turkey and cranberry sandwich.
Domaine de Tholomies Chardonnay Viognier 2015, Pays d’Oc, Bon Coeur Fine Wine, £10.99: A glorious combination of grapes with scented apricot notes and touches of mango and pineapple, backed by the rounded, citrus of Chardonnay.
Mâcon-Villages 2014, Jadot, Burgundy, Majestic, down from £11.99 to £9.99 until December 31: A really good food-friendly white that won’t break the budget. With clear melon, citrus, almond and vanilla notes this will go well with the turkey if your guests prefer a white wine.
Albert Bichot Heritage 1831 Chardonnay 2014, Burgundy, Waitrose, £15.99: Perfect with starters and fish, this comes from one of Burgundy’s top producers. White peach balanced by crisp citrus zest.
Seresin Chardonnay Reserve 2013, New Zealand, Field & Fawcett, £17.95: Not just organic but biodynamic too, this is an elegant, balanced Chardonnay that will shine on your table at Christmas. Citrus, ripe red apple and toasted almonds aromas with precise peach and nectarine on the palate.
£8 and under
Estevez Cabernet Carmenère 2014, Maule, Chile, Aldi, £4.79: Terrific flavour for money in this easy drinking wine with dark red fruit flavours and chocolate topnotes.
Old Vines Garnacha 2015, Campo de Borja, Spain, Tesco, £5: Lively, exuberant, cherry and plum-filled wine that will cope with party food or a turkey sandwich.
Gérard Bertrand Les Aspres 2013, Languedoc, France, Morrisons, down from £10 to £7 until January 1: Winter-weight Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah blend, made by one of the stars of the Languedoc, Gerard Bertrand.
Waitrose St Emilion 2014, Bordeaux, France, Waitrose, down from £13.49 to £9.99 until January 3: A classy Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend, with just a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2014, Clare Valley, Australia, Co-op, £9.99: This dark, inky wine is packed with blackberry and mulberry fruit, with minty notes and soft, supple tannins. Pour alongside game and roast beef.
Errazuriz Wild Ferment Pinot Noir 2014, Chile, Roberts & Speight, down from £12.99 to £11.69 on a mixed case deal: Delicious, deep-flavoured black cherry and raspberry fruits with layers of tobacco and toast. A food-friendly Pinot.
Clarendelle Bordeaux Rouge 2012, Majestic, normally £15.99, down to £12.99 on a mix-six deal: Made by the team at Ch. Haut-Brion and named after Clarence Dillon who owned the chateau, it has ripe cherry and cassis flavours, with silky tannins and a long finish.
Killerman’s Run Shiraz 2014, Clare Valley, Australia, Marks & Spencer, £13: Named after an old poacher who used to hunt rabbits on the property, this wine is robust, full of spice-driven bramble fruit with a fresh, long finish. It will happily accompany any rich dish, such as game, venison or sausages and mash.
Push the boat out
Contino Rioja Reserva 2010, Spain, Field & Fawcett, £20.55: Contino makes some of the best, silkiest, most rounded, balanced Riojas I have tasted and at least one should be in your Christmas cellar. Elegant, with layers of black fruits, balanced structure and a savoury finish.
Santenay Vieilles Vignes 2013, Burgundy, France, Yorkshire Vintners, £25: This is a strawberry-scented, savoury-backed, gentle style of Burgundy, ready now to enjoy with the turkey, but with enough structure to last several more years. Made from old vines, grown on brown limestone soils.