Here is a selection of Christmas party wine I’d cheerily wave on the front doorstep of a festive party and then sneakily hide next to the toaster and keep to myself.
Tanners Chardonnay, IGP d’Oc 2012, (£6.15 per bottle when you buy six or more at www.tanners-wines.co.uk, or £7.40 each). I love this golden chardonnay.
It’s from the sun-soaked south of France and has apricots, even marzipan, and rich stewed apple on the nose. There’s sunlight-bright squeaky clean acidity with vanilla-studded apricots and peach which have plenty of linger power.
Also from Tanners, Rémi & Jérôme Merlot, IGP d’Oc 2012 (£5.74 for six or more, or £6.99 each). The fruity aroma is light, more blackcurrant than blackberry, and again it’s a southern French wine. I shared it with my sister and her hubby and as lamb and potatoes roasted the wine slid down easily. By the time the vegetables were cooking we were on our second glass. Perhaps it was as well we didn’t drink more before He Who Must Carve did exactly that. The wine (what was left) didn’t overpower the delicate lamb.
To another white. Matua Sauvignon Blanc (£9.99 at www.morrisonscellar.com and Majestic). Matua was New Zealand’s first sauvignon blanc, the winery was set up in 1973. It’s a top-drawer example of a fruity-sharp NZ sauv blanc, with grapefruit and gooseberry compote on the nose and hints of green pepper skin with new-mown grass. It has a wonderful burst of juicy acidity.
Now to some bubbles. Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato was launched in the UK a few weeks ago and is in Asda at £9.49. OK, for some, it might be a bit too sweet but chill overnight and let the mix of red apples and tropical peach fizzle and entice as in the mouth dried and fresh raspberries add another fruity twist. Great on its own or with cheese nibbles. For me, a surprising wow.
Miguel Torres Santa Digna Estelado Rose (RRP £12.49 from Hoults Wine Merchants, In the Pink, Trinas Wines, www.vintagemarque.com). This wine has been awarded Best in Category for Sparkling Wine at the Annual Wines of Chile Awards for two years running and is made from the grape País, normally used for Chile’s local wines.
It is a Provence-style whisper-pink and bubbles excitedly tumble a hedgerow of wild strawberries into the glass. But there’s also a cocktail of pears, pink apples and rosewater. Delightfully dry, not too sweet.
With my glass this week
Some chocolate. If you’re struggling with stocking filler ideas Brix Bites (£7.99, www.winegiftcentre.com) might do the trick.
There are four blends of Brix Chocolate for Wine, designed to nibble with all wines, from Champagne to shiraz. I tasted Brix Smooth Dark 54% Chocolate with another Matua wine, Matua Pinot Noir 2012 (£8, www.ASDA.com/ wineshop).
The wine was see-through red with cherries on the nose and redcurrant jelly to taste. So light and easy, like a flyaway feather in an orchard breeze. The dark chocolate blended perfectly, adding a depth of smooth mocha bitterness.
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Published in the saturday extra magazine November 30, 2013