With so many Christmas wine options out there, don’t let your choice of festive tipples fall flat. From crisp aperitifs to cheese and pudding friendly digestifs, our wine buyer Lucy Lettice shares her top 14 picks.
La Jara Prosecco, £9.95
Your light and refreshing, one stop shop for all your celebrating needs, soft effervescents and easy to drink.
Tasting Note: Straw yellow with greenish reflections. Delicate scents of acacia flowers and golden apple. It is fresh, aromatic and sparkle with a light and delicate foam.
Food Pairing: Perfect as aperitif. Excellent with soups, salads and smoked salmon blinis.
Champagne Faust Carte d’Or, £27.95
If you don’t want to make that swap, this is Champagne at its best, rich yellow in colour, steady fizz in nature, and heaps of toasty bubbles on the palate.
Tasting Note: The Pinot Meunier grapes add fruitier flavours into the mix, bringing layers to the green apple, floral, and herbaceous flavours of the Chardonnay. The blend strikes just the right balance between sweetness and acidity.
Food Pairing: Delicious with creamy cheeses and spicy chutneys.
The best of English
A great intro to English wine – fresh fruit, surprisingly aromatic, fantastic value!
Tasting Note: A soft, aromatic wine that combines the soft floral notes of Schonburger with powerful richness of Siegerrebe. Distinctive, subtle sose petal aromas lead onto rich, spicy, lychee characters on the palate, and a soft, rich off-dry finish.
Food Pairing: Delicious on its own or as an interesting accompaniment to oriental and spicy chilli based foods.
English Lyme Bay Shoreline, £12.95
Produced on the same Lyme Bay coastline in Devon as some of Farmdrop’s fresh fish. Clean, crisp and chalky but very refreshing.
Tasting Note: Dry, light and aromatic wine with notes of nettle, lemon, rose petal and grapefruit.
Food Pairing: Best served with the finest seafood caught all along the English coastline. Try with crab, lobster and oysters.
English White Pinot Noir, £24.95
This wine is one to champion the best of Burgundy: oaky & oily complexity. It’s almost hard to believe it’s grown on Surrey soils.
Tasting Note: Pale straw in colour with some evident peach, honeysuckle and smoky characters. This complex wine displays a fullness and roundness that is rare in wines from England. Full bodied; rich and silky with a steely backbone of acidity.
Food Pairing: Enjoy lightly chilled as an aperitif or pair with roast cockerel, prawn tempura, or even spicy red meat dishes.
English Albury Classic Cuvée, £29.95
Nick, his daughter Lucy and a lovely Italian lady produce this wine made from biodynamic grapes. Winner of awards and winner of my heart (I’m adding a few cases to my basket this Christmas!).
Tasting Note: Subtle fruit on the nose, red berries from the Pinot and a little light citrus from the Chardonnay, long, mouth-filling palate that lingers and satisfies. Fresh and lively, ripe acidity complemented by a subtle sweetness.
Food Pairing: Pair with freshly made mackerel pâté with pickled cucumber
The People Pleasers
Côtes Du Rhône AOC, £10.95
A low sulphur wine which has developed plenty of character in the bottle already. Best to open this one and leave it to breath before drinking.
Tasting Note: This is a wine made to impress with magnificent characters of herbs, smoky bacon and cherries. A beautifully structured wine that is easy and effortless.
Food pairing: Once at room temperature a perfect accompaniment to- more substantial dishes, particularly those that feature heartier meats or cheese.
Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay, £14.50
I love this wine! So much character, and I know after a couple of years it will develop even more. Deep and rich, not for the faint hearted but a real show-stopper.
Tasting Note: A fine, classic Macon Villages bouquet with aromatic tones of pear, white flowers and a touch of exotic fruits. Gentle, creamy and yet perfectly balanced with a telling cut of fresh acidity and a trace of minerality.
Food Pairing: Great with oily fish such as tuna and salmon as well as cured meats.
Husband and wife Baptiste and Estelle took over the family domaine in the heart of Viré Clesse in 2004. Organic since 2006, they make slow fermentations using only natural yeasts.
Tasting Note: Bright and fresh with mineral notes and the charming floral and smoky character typical of the region.
Food Pairing: Perfect to pair with oily fish like soy glazed salmon or any white-sauce based sauce or Crottin de Chavignol goat cheese with toasted sesame seeds.
For those wanting to try something different…
Dom Vigneaux Syrah, £11.45
One of our few biodynamic wines, every bottle is different. A little fizzy, very fruity, medium tannins, abundance of complexity.
Tasting Note: Black fruit and plums/cherries on the nose, with an earthy farmyard character. Good structure on the palate, mouth-drying tannins and a long finish with hints of spice.Food
Pairing: For this spicy wine, only pair big bold flavours, rich sweet potato curry or spicy stew.
Vinho Verde, £12.45
Green by name but not by nature. A classic vino verde, crisp, clean and refreshing – great with fish.
Tasting Note: This is a wonderfully refreshing natural wine, with an exceptional sappy, mineral backbone, coupled with lively green apple and citrus acidity. The slightest spritz in mouth, further enlivens the palate.
Food Pairing: Crisp and refreshing, pair with creamy risotto or spicy paella.
Malvasia Orsogna IGT, £12.95
Another of our biodynamic wines, this wine is rich and earthy. Traditionally used to make Madeira, Malvasia is rarely 100% varietal but this one is!
Tasting Note: Tropical aromas of melon and papaya, fresh and juicy, with bright citrus notes of white grapefruit with a balance acidity.
Food Pairing: Salty salami would go fantastically with this earthy wine.
As a digestif
Reserve Port (half bottle), £12.95
Deliciously sweet port, great with goats and soft stinky cheese, as well as raisin-heavy Christmas Pudding.
Tasting Note: Complex, super ripe berried fruits are gently spiced, and its sweet and unctuous palate is both elegant and balanced too, with real length.
Food Pairing: Enjoy near a warming fire on its own, or with mature cheeses.
Amontillado Sherry, £13.95
Sherry is seeing a comeback. No longer is it just the grandparents’ favourite but for the real foodie. Pair this salty savoury wine with Padron peppers or quince topped cheeses.
Tasting Note: This Pedro Ximenez is structured and complex, it is dry and woody with hints of eucalyptus; full body.
Food Pairing: It will partner heavier foods such as mushroom-based sauces and aged cheeses.