Nine wines to buy this Christmas
- Credit: supplied
Time has run out for much pre-Christmas on-line bottle buying, so off to the shops...
At Majestic, it's easy to fill a mix-six box (single bottles are much pricier). A different, deliciously aromatic white, versatile with starters and more, Nero Oro Appassimento (£9) is made from part-dried bunches of Sicily's native grillo grape: lingering fruit, spice and a hint of honey. The big-brother red magnum (£18) is a splendid table centrepiece.
Stylish red alternatives include Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino 2018 (£17), great depth of flavour, elegantly balanced fruit, alcohol and oak. If cash is no object, Banfi's Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino 2015, £45, adds much complexity and maturity. Serve Domaine Gayda Chemin de Moscou 2017 (£20) to serious wine lovers – this epitomises modern southern French quality. Deep coloured, scented, multi-layered and memorable, it blends organic syrah, grenache and cinsault grown midway between Toulouse and Perpignan.
Over to Waitrose for some tempting seasonal offers. Barbadillo Solear (£9) is one of the freshest, smartest manzanillas around, a perfect aperitif – and try it with smoked salmon. There are plenty more fortified bargains, including delectable Quinta do Noval 10-year-old tawny port (£20).
Rioja neighbour and grape-sharer (tempranillo), Ribera del Duero is too often bypassed, though not at Waitrose. Torres Celeste 2017 Crianza (£10, available from December 23) is dark, enticingly tobacco-tinged, with clean, long-lasting fruit.
Don't forget independent merchants. At The Sampler in Islington a fine Burgundy-alternative is Moorooduc Estate chardonnay 2017 (£27.50), from Australia's cool Mornington Peninsula, rich fruit and carefully handled oak plus a mouth-watering crispness. Highbury Vintners can't match Majestic's price for Chemin de Moscou but has a bigger range of Gayda wines among good Languedoc-Roussillon and organic selections. At Jeroboams, the Christmas offer includes big discounts on tempting French and Italian classics.
Wine presents don't need to be bottles. Vouchers for vineyard tours or tasting experiences in England are easy to buy – search on winegb.co.uk for vineyards with on-line shops. A gift that could last for generations is membership of The Wine Society. The one-off £40 payment (half refunded on first purchase) buys a share that can be passed on and gives access to one of Britain's best-priced wine selections. www.thewinesociety.com