John's Christmas Wine Choices This Year
Christmas Wine Suggestions 2015
It's That Time of Year Again!
Well, it’s that time of year again- early December. The ‘C’ word can now officially be mentioned. The war of the supermarkets has already begun, as they battle for your cash in the annual Christmas splurge.
This is when most retailers really ramp up the ‘wow’ factor in their wine offerings, and there really are some fantastic tasting wines at bargain prices to be had.
Here is a list of a few we’ve tried and enjoyed compiled for you to seek out for yourself, on the sea of shelves that were already awash with a wall of wine.
Aldi Exquisite Collection Hawkes Bay ‘Bordeaux Blend.’ New Zealand, £6.99
Hawkes Bay, Aldi
New Zealand may be better known for its zingy Sauvignon Blancs and silky Pinot Noirs, however tucked away in a remote corner of sheltered north island lies the gravelly plains of Hawkes Bay.
Here in the warmer soils, the traditional Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc thrive. You may also be surprised to see Malbec also mentioned in the blend, a variety permitted in Bordeaux but now little used due to its difficulty in ripening there- as if put in there by the New Zealanders just to show they can.
It all works though, creating a pungent, sweetly spiced red and black fruit flavour bomb. Pure Christmas in a glass- if you weren’t feeling festive before, you certainly will after a sip of this!
The Wine Society Label English Sparkling Wine-Ridgeview Estate, East Sussex, £20
English Sparkling Wine seems to keep going from strength to strength. It is beginning to get the reputation it thoroughly deserves, thanks partly to the south east of England sharing some of the same chalk geological soil formations as Champagne and the commitment and dedication shown by the winemakers.
This is an excellent example, and a bit of a bargain as far as we’re concerned with ‘Champagne method’ style wines. The perfect balance of crisp, fruit freshness and bottle aged richness, without the lingering acidity some Champagnes have.
It would make a great toasting wine, or one to proudly serve with your canapes on Christmas Eve.
Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Barossa Shiraz, Australia. Majestic Wine, £24
Two Hands, Majestic
This wine really is something special. The Barossa Valley is famed for its dense, fruity and spicy Shiraz from some of the oldest vines left in the world, with some dating back to the 1860’s. This is where this particular wine gets its name- the older the vines, the more battered, weather worn and ‘gnarled’ they become.
Older vines produce much less fruit, but each berry has much more concentrated and intense flavours. Ageing in new and old French Oak barrels has developed real depth of flavour here, with a satisfyingly rich, fruity, spicy, chocolatey taste that lasts in your mouth for ages.
Each sip is so moreish, you’ll be down to your last drop before you realise it! One for a nice rib roast joint of beef, and apparently goes exceptionally well with roast chestnuts straight out of the oven!
Tesco Finest* Swartland Chenin Blanc, South Africa. £5.50
Anyone who has been on one of our Discovery Courses will recognise this gem. It will go a real treat with the Turkey and all its rich, battery, bacon-y trimmings.
Lovely rich, ripe stone and tropical fruits backed by Chenin Blanc’s characteristic honeyed nose and a brief spell in new oak adding subtle vanilla spice accentuated by its warm climate origins and off dry nature.
At this price, this is an excellent Christmas Dinner wine you won’t mind having a few bottles of on the table.
Feeling a bit retro? Also a great accompaniment to your prawn ring with seafood sauce dip, ‘Indian Selection’ with mango chutney.
L'Or du Ciron Sauternes, Bordeaux France. Marks & Spencer. £12
L'Or du Ciron, M & S
This classic sweet wine with its luxurious notes of candied citrus peel and nuts also has a refreshing acidic streak that offsets its opulent richness.
Works fantastically well with a cheese board scattered with a handful of walnuts and dried fruit, or as an interesting contrast to a dense, sticky Christmas Pud.