Christmas white wine to chink as you open the pressies (or just because you neeeeed)

Limestone Rise English Christmas white wine

I can’t wait for Christmas Day and my first glass of white! Here’s a Christmas white wine selection to suit all pockets which you can pour as the family arrives, right through to Dad sneaking the last roast potato onto his plate.

Extra Special French Chardonnay (13.5% abv, £5, ASDA) This Languedoc  chardonnay is lightly oaked which brings some creaminess to the apple and citrus flavours, but don’t worry it’s not one of those in-your-face oaky assaults. It’s easy drinking but has enough personality to sit happily next to a plate of turkey and sprouts.
Christmas white wine factor: Pour a glass when you’ve finished the shopping

Limestone Rise (11% abv, £7.99 The Co-op) This is an English white from the Co-op, which 15 years ago was the first retailer to sell English wine before it became the “in thing”. This blend of bacchus and ortega grapes has sherbert, elderflower, a spring breeze and a really nice little bite of citrus and acidity.
Christmas white wine factor: Something different for the Christmas table

La Altelana Gavi di Gavi 2015 (11.5% abv, £7.99, Aldi) The label looks classy, take a bottle to a party and wow your hosts. Or save it for yourself and it’ll breeze through the prawns and be very happy with the turkey and crisp vegetables. It’s an Italian white with hints of green in the glass, with fresh lemon aromas and subtle minerality.
Christmas white wine factor: Refresh those taste buds after a long day eating

Fief des Pierres Blanches Quincy, 2015 (13.5 % abv, £8.99 Lidl) Mmmm … zesty! A great wine from the Loire Valley which is fresh and full of lemony aromas and tropical fruit flavours. If you’re a bit dulled from Santa’s Christmas Eve sherry this will really perk you up. Delicious.
Christmas white wine factor: Really fresh and great with seafood

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Chapel Down Bacchus (12% abv £9.99 from £12.99, Waitrose) Bacchus is the ancient Roman name for the classical god of wine. Who would have thought that my fascination with ancient history would have a nice link to my love of wine.  Bacchus is similar to sauvignon blanc – think grapefruit, elderflower and gooseberry with a zesty woosh alongside. The 2015 vintage won bronze at the Decanter awards.
Christmas white wine factor: How about English zing for the Boxing Day curry

Wm Morrison Chablis Premier Cru 2014 (13% abv, £15) Toast your Christmas Day guests with this terrific Chablis from Morrisons which has just won gold (again) at the latest International Wine Challenge awards. Chablis is perfect with a seafood starter as the vines grow on an ancient seabed. This wine has minerality, melon and grapefruit flavours, with a soft touch of vanilla.
Christmas white wine factor: An amazing white which always wins praise

Domaine de la Mandelière Robert Nicolle 2015 (12.5% abv,  £14.49 or £13.04 in a buy six deal at www.laithwaites.co.uk) This Chablis is from a small, family run estate on a ridge of limestone in the famous wine district. It is pale straw, with aromas of  crisp apple and a flash of citrus, which both appear on the palate with a signature wet stone minerality.
Christmas white wine factor: Poached salmon? Yes please

The Society’s Exhibition Pouilly-Fuissé 2014 (13% abv, £18, www.thewinesociety.com) Love, love, love! The Wine Society’s Exhibition wines aim to be the best examples of wine from a particular region – this one a classic Burgundian white.  This has bright citrus but with creaminess, cushioned by vanilla and an upright flash of minerality.
Christmas white wine factor:  Perfect with turkey and all the trimmings

Fess Parker, Santa Barbara County Chardonnay (14.2% abv, from £13.95 at The Wine Society and www.amathusdrinks.com) OMG. Which in this case stands for Orgasmic, Melony, Golden. This chardonnay is barrel-fermented, aged in French oak and it’s utter heaven. You could have it with your turkey. It’s full and rich enough to go with Christmas pud. But forget that. Sit. On your own. When the house is empty. And drink it with lashings of self-indulgence. Quality Street are made for sharing. This isn’t.
Christmas white wine factor:  It’s just a wow.

These wine reviews were first published in December 2016 in several regional UK newspapers including:

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

 

 

Christmas fizz which isn’t prosecco or champagne!

glass of bubbles, christmas fizz

Prosecco and Champagne can take centre stage at the office Christmas party, family gathering or girlie night  – but here’s some other Christmas fizz ideas which will fit the bill.

Provetto Spumante Bianco Brut (10.5% abv £4.99, Bargain Booze) This wine achieves the wow factor when used as a cocktail mixer. It’s a great way to add some festive sparkle to party drinks such as bellinis and mimosa-style creations. It’s not over-complicated but for a fiver it can be a fizz that gets the party started.
Christmas fizz score: 2/5

SPAR Cava Rosado (11.5% abv, £6) When you’re in a rush and you need a pink fizz you won’t go far wrong if you pick up this in your travels. It’s a pretty little thing, a strawberry pink, with soft aromas of fresh strawberries and just an edge of complexity which a cava brings to the party. In fact, why not take it to a party. For £1 more, buy SPAR’s Perlezza Rosé, which is a blush of pink bubbles to please any hostess.
Christmas fizz score: 3/5

The Society’s Cava Brut Reserva (12% abv, £8.25, www.thewinesociety.com) One of my friends said this wine was her “new fave”. You can’t beat cava. I love it. This crisp appley number is made from the traditional cava grapes parellada, macabeo and xarel-lo with a touch of chardonnay. It is rounded, squidgy and scrumptious – and at the same time remains elegant, in balance and with long-lasting flavours.
Christmas fizz score: 5/5

Codorniu Gran Crémant Vintage Brut Cava (11.5% abv £9.99 the Co-op) This wine has been developed exclusively for the Co-op. The label shouts class – then it has a complex, soft, fruity character which just can’t be mirrored by a simple prosecco. A fleck of toast nudges past pears and stone fruit on the nose, and to taste apples, lemons and stone fruit are soft but vibrant.
Christmas fizz score: 4/5

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Langlois Brut Crémant (12.5% abv, £13.50, winetrust100.co.uk) A wine with mmmmm factor.  This bottle of bubbly heaven is better than many of the champagnes on the market and costs a lot less, so you could even be cheeky and treat yourself to two bottles. It has a lovely creamy taste that will pop your cork. The label is owned by Champagne Bollinger.
Christmas fizz score: 5/5

The Chalk Valley English Sparkling Wine (12% abv, £14.99, aldi.co.uk and selected Aldi stores) This is an exclusive blend developed between Aldi’s wine team and Denbies’  winemakers. It has good citrus and apple aromas with a hint of spring flowers and a crumble of brioche; to taste it is tongue-tingling dry with a hint of creamy texture and apple flavours balance well with a shiver of acidity.
Christmas fizz score: 3/5

Montes Sparkling Angel (12% abv, £15.50 www.oddbins.com) This is the first sparkling wine made by Viña Montes and they’ve used the traditional techniques which create champagne. It is a blend of pinot noir (70 per cent) and chardonnay it spends 36 months on the lees to create complexity. It’s a wine of two halves – the nose has the dry intensity of walnuts and toast; then to taste it is much lighter, with fresh citrus and subtle stone fruits.
Christmas fizz score:3/5

First published in Raise a Glass, Trinity Mirror regionals December 2016

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