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.
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.
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.
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