Sparkling wines to welcome in the New Year with a pop

Crémant du Jura Brut, Domaine de Montbourgeau review

JUST when you thought you’d had your fill of celebrations, a new year beckons and it’s time to start all over again. Here’s some sparkling wines to help your 2013 go out with a snap crackle and a hand-clapping pop.

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Spumante DOCG (£7.29) Aldi has a frizz-frazz of light bubbles with delicate apples and pears on the nose and to taste. The Co-operative Prosecco Special Cuvée Brut (£5 from £9.99 until Dec 31) is one of the best deals, delivering both on price and taste. The wine is full of apples and will-o’ the-wisp almonds.
An online choice is Ombra Prosecco Frizzante NV (£9.99, www.virginwines.co.uk) where nectarines and tangerines play alongside ripe pears on the nose, and deliver a consistent bubble.

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Sweet wines are delightful at the end of a Christmas meal

Jen Pfeiffer Rutherglen Tawny

SWEET doesn’t  always mean  sickly and in the  interests of making your  Christmas special, with the person of your dreams.

It might not be one of  your things to seek out sweet wines to sip with your  Christmas pud or  cheese.

You may think they’re too expensive a risk if you shouldn’t like  them.  But you know  what, I’ve spent £30 on  shoes I’ve never  worn  that are still  hidden in the  wardrobe. (Oops, I  let that one slip.)

Sharing  wine at a  special time of year beats impulse buys hands down  and you don’t  have to break the bank either.

Tesco Finest  Dessert Semillon  (£6.79 half a  bottle) is a  consistent winner of awards and has honey and apricot  aromas and a  scrummy honey stone fruit taste.  Lovely  with  my taste-test  nibbles of Stilton, mince pies and a little pot of  chocolate mousse. Oh,  the sacrifices I make.

Torres Floralis Moscatel
Torres Floralis Moscatel

The golden-flower embossed bottle of Torres Floralis Moscatel  Oro (from £6.99 at    several stores. At  www.morrisonscellar.com  it is £6.49) is a treat to  look at and a  real  sweetie delight to taste.  Best with the chocolate.  It smells of  a tray of  grocer-fresh oranges   and home-made marmalade with the  sweet lusciousness  of  oranges and lingering  spice to taste.

Over at Sainsbury,  Winemaker’s Selection  Muscat de St. Jean de  Minervois is only £4.99  for half a bottle and  honey and oranges  aromas play around the  glass. Not as much depth as some, but hey  as a  change in pace for  the Stilton at less than a  fiver what’s not to like.

Jen Pfeiffer Diamond Tawny Naked Wines
Jen Pfeiffer Diamond Tawny

Fleury Muscat de  Beaumes de Venise  (www.henningswine.co.uk, £9.99)   comes from an ancient  Rhone winery and  generations have worked up a wine that is  fresh enough to enjoy  but sweet enough to take on your pud. Its yellow  lusciousness smacks  of grapefruit and  orange zest.

My real sweet  sensation  is Jen Pfeiffer: The Diamond  10 y.o. Rutherglen  Tawny  (www.nakedwines.com, £15.99  or £11.99 if you’re  an investing  Angel). It  smacks  of sophistication and mature  elegance.  Halfway between  a port and regular  red it is bursting  with flavour. It is  delightfully syrupy  without a heavy  unctuousness that  can make all  but the best  fortified wines  hard work. Think raspberries  coated in chocolate and  you get some idea.

I went into a reverie  when I tasted the  sublime Edmeades Perli  Late Harvest Zinfandel  2006  (£12.95, hailshamcellars.com).  With a  silky smooth first  sensation of brambles  and chocolate, and a  tingle-tangle taste of  fresh blackcurrants, dried cranberries, raisins,  chocolate, some liquorice. Deep joy.


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Published in the saturday extra magazine December 21, 2013

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express