Christmas wines Part 2: Six chardonnay choices for your festive table

christmas wines white Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

In Part 1 of my Christmas wine posts for 2018 I was fresh and fruity. Now I have more depth and complexity. If you’re just catching up with me then … no …. I’m not describing the ups and downs of feminine emotions, but white wines for Christmas.

You might be thinking “what is this depth and complexity of which this woman speaks” – “and why is it interesting for my Christmas feasting?”.

Winemakers can call on a heap of different production methods to turn what could be a humble fruity white wine into something with a bit of interest. That can include aging or fermenting in oak, or stirring on the lees.

Chardonnay loves such treatment. Whatever winemakers choose to do, this grape always puts its hands on its pips and says “go on then, bring it on”.

All my Christmas choices in this post are chardonnay wines, more by coincidence than design, as I went on the look-out for wines which sit perfectly alongside food.


My first three chardonnay Christmas wines

I’ll start with Extra Special Barossa Chardonnay 2018 (Asda, £5.98) which is partially fermented in French oak. This is a great value white as there’s some complexity but not too much if you’re nervous about wines with statement. My notes said “apple, lemon, with a hint of baking spice”.

The Co-op has introduced several new wines this season and one is Vandenberg Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2018 (£10) which is a refreshing, not-too-heavy chardonnay from South Australia’s Adelaide Hills region. Aged in French oak, it boasts a creamy texture and you can taste the citrus and pear without your palate  being overpowered.

Tesco finest* Gisborne Chardonnay (£9) is nurtured in the Gisborne region on the North Island. Grapes are fermented in oak and the result is a wine which has lovely tropical fruit notes and a zesty finish alongside a nuttiness that intrigues.


My final three chardonnay Christmas wines

We’ll leap over to France for Macon Villages, Burgundy Chardonnay (£10, Marks and Spencer) which is a comforting hug of a white wine. A rich unoaked chardonnay, it is creamy and smooth with a sharp hit of apple and a whisper of peach and a long, delicious buttery aftertaste.

When I met Spar’s wine consultant Philippa Carr MW the other week, she told me her favourite wine in the retailer’s new range was Bourgogne Chardonnay (£9) and it is indeed rather tasty. It is unoaked and has a nice bite of apples and a good acidity.

We’ll stay in France for the classy Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuisse 2017 (RRP £20, Tesco, Morrisons, Nisa) where half of the grapes were partly fermented in vats and the other in oak barrels. This gives layers of freshness and fruit, but has a creamy, nutty mouthfeel which cushions those same delicious fruits. It is elegant and special.

All this talk is making me crave a glass of something with a mound of parsnips, sprouts, turkey and potato. Can’t wait.


Christmas 2018 wines Part 1: Fresh and fruity whites
Christmas 2018 wines Part 3: Six light, fruity, savoury, spicy reds


First published in over 30 regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales –  Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle  – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express 

Christmas wines Part 1: Seven fresh and fruity whites for under £14

christmas wines white wines Photo by Thomas Martinsen on Unsplash

I always think of white Christmas wines as being in two camps. Fresh and fruity wines which sit happily with seafood, or the creamier, more complex whites which add richness to the main course.

In my first festive wine missive for 2018 I’m bringing you some fresh and fruity white wines for Christmas. Next time I’ll add in some complexity. If I can as I’m not a very complex northern bird.

White Christmas wines to tingle Your tastebuds

I was rather taken with Clara Hills Albariño (£8, Asda) so I Googled and read that it’s won a gold gong at the Quality Food Awards. The grape is native to Rías Baixas in the Galicia region of Spain and this wine is quite lovely. It is zippy with notes of lime, pear and grapefruit and I’d be happy to share a glass on Christmas Day. Or maybe keep to myself.

I’ll move into France with my second choice, a Bordeaux white. Château Le Coin Sauvignon Gris (£10.99, Laithwaites) has a flash of lemon on the nose and a playfulness of stone fruits such as apricot and peach. The palate is intense with citrus freshness and a tingle of spice. This wine could add zizzang to your prawn starter and then pour through the rest of your meal.

We’ll stay in Europe (oooo, not in the Brexit sense) and wander lazily over to Italy with a glass in hand to try Co-op Irresistible Gavi Broglia 2017 (£8.50). It is a dry and refreshing wine, with delightful, if not a little shy, aromas of white peach and lemon. There’s also a subtle peep of orange peel in the mouth. Mmmmm, salmon please and a squeeze of lemon. This year wine won an IWC Great Value Trophy for the best white wine between £8 and £13.

We’re going to head to the southern hemisphere now. Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (RRP £8-£9, in Sainsbury) is a vibrant New Zealand wine, very confident in itself and the stone fruit and herbal nuances it delivers.

A dash across the Pacific takes us to Chile and another sauvignon blanc Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (RRP £13.75, Waitrose). The grapes are from the Aconcagua Valley and the classic herbal notes of sauvignon blanc are found here too, plus a dalliance with mango and mandarin fruits. They’re both tasty versions of this ever-popular grape, grown almost 6,000 miles apart.

One of my oh-so favourite wines for a seafood starter is riesling. I’m staying below the equator with McGuigan The Shortlist Eden Valley Riesling (£14, Sainsbury).  White peach, pear and lemons set the scene with this Australian wine, as a freshness and good acidity lift the palate and a subtlety of flint adds backbone.

Oh my, finally a pinot grigio (I know! I never mention pinot grigio!) but credit where credit is due and a nod to Spar’s Pinot Grigio Dolomiti (£7). The grapes grow in the north of alpine Italy and they deliver a nose of pears and lychees and to taste, a freshness and purity.


Christmas 2018 wines Part 2: Six chardonnay wines for your festive table
Christmas 2018 wines Part 3: Six light, fruity, savoury, spicy reds


First published in over 30 regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales –  Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle  – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express