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Our best wines for Christmas

Choosing your Christmas wine can be a bit of a minefield. With so much out there, where do you start? It can be even trickier when you're looking to buy a wine gift as well. What sort of style do you go for if you're not totally sure what their favourite is?

Luckily there are a few tactics you can use to help you pick the perfect festive wine - whether for your Christmas table or for a present. We've put together a handy guide below with all our top picks to make it quick and easy for you to get great wines sorted in a few clicks.

One good place to start is to think about the style of wine you're after. Are you looking for a light and juicy white or something more warming, rich and full-bodied? Below we take you through a few great options.

I'm interested in a wine case - is there something you'd recommend for Christmas?

We have two cracking options this year - a 6 bottle case that's been curated with Christmas Day food in mind and a 12 bottle case with some real bangers that'll see you right through the festive season is a great choice if you've lots of family and friends to host.

Christmas Day Case

6 Bottle Christmas Day Mixed Case

We've designed this selection to take you right through Christmas Day itself - from the breakfast Mimosas right through to the end of the night cheeseboard. With great options to pair with the main meal - and we've covered a range of classic options including veggie dishes - and a tasting guide included, this'll make your festivities super easy. 

 Christmas Party Case

12 bottle Christmas Party Case

We've really spoiled you here with a cracking selection of wines that are perfect for the festive season. There are plenty of crowd-pleasing options in red and white inside covering a variety of styles, as well as some lovely bottles of fizz, a Sauternes dessert wine and a half bottle of Tawny Port, all with a great saving too. All that remains is to get the guests over!

 

Lighter Reds

Red wines with lots of juicy fruit and low tannins that appear pale in the glass are a great choice if you're not looking for anything heavy. They pair really well with traditional foods like Christmas turkey. 

Look out for Gamay and Pinot Noir.

Caves de Julienas-Chaintre, Beaujolais Fleurie "Joie du Palais"

The best wines in Beaujolais come from the 10 'Crus.' These are individual appellations that each have their own personality and style formed by the terroir of the land. Fleurie is known as "The Queen of Beaujolais" and produces wines that are light and delicate with a fruity, floral aroma and silky texture. It's a spot-on wine for charcuterie and cheese and is really fun and easy to drink, so a great one if you're hosting a party.

"We always try to have a good Beaujolais available and this has been a part of our range for years. It has everything we look for in a good Fleurie. The purity of fruit, the fresh floral elegance."

 

Terres Fideles, Montsable Pinot Noir

This is a new arrival in our range but already a winner. It's a lovely, light and fresh Pinot Noir with bags of personality. You'll find expressive notes of strawberries, raspberries and red cherries on the nose which follow on to the light, juicy palate. A very gluggable wine and super food friendly. Try it with a big charcuterie platter on Boxing Day or if you're having turkey or game for the main event, this would work really well.

 

Folding Hill, Pinot Noir

For a lighter red with a bit more refinement you could look to the wines of Burgundy but why not try something riper from New Zealand. Central Otago is the place to go for Pinot Noir, and this is a big favourite of ours. Open it up and you'll be greeted with  rich red fruit on the nose showing cherry and cranberry notes with well-balanced oak. On the palate it’s more finely textured with delicate cherry and raspberry fruit and the oak is toasty. Medium-bodied with fresh acidity and finishing with a little spice. Lovely stuff.

 

Lighter Whites

These are wines that are fresh and easy to drink with lots of fruit and refreshing acidity. If you're looking for a gift for a white wine lover, it's often a good idea to go for something like this rather than a richer, oakier style like a Chardonnay (unless of course you know they happen to love that). Lighter whites like these make a great aperitif and are good options if you're hosting a gathering.

Try Vinho Verde, Grüner Veltiner or Sauvignon Blanc.

Casa de Vilacetinho, Grande Escolha Vinho Verde

A really fabulous Vinho Verde that will instantly remind you of summer holidays - a nice little boost on a freezing December night! This one has an attractive aroma that offers citrus, white plum and peach mixed with tropical and lemongrass notes, following on to a vibrant refreshing palate with lots of fruit and a refined minerally note. A great pre-dinner option.

 

Adegas Terrae, 7 Pulgadas Albarino

This year we had a shake up of our range which allowed to really focus in on some styles that are important to us and a great quality Albarino was high on this list. After extensive taste tests, this stood out for us. A nose of peach, pear, apple, melon and tropical fruit leads to a dry fresh palate, with great intensity and length on the finish. Flavours of peach, grapefruit, pear, green apple, lemon are vibrant and focused.

This is going to sing when paired with your fish or seafood dishes over the festive period, and it's very refreshing on its own too. 

 

Emile Balland, Sancerre Croq Caillotte

The classics never go out of style and there is non more classic than Sancerre. This appellation in France's Loire Valley produces the most elegant, crisp and dry examples of Sauvignon Blanc. This example from talented winemaker Emile Balland has green apple, pear, soft grapefruit and citrus and lemon, with a lean minerality and light flint notes. This is a delightful, pure and expertly balanced wine. Try this with one with light fish dishes (classic smoked salmon would work really well) or with asparagus or goat's cheese based starters.

 

Medium Bodied, Fruity Reds

If you're looking for a red that's a bit more in the middle ripe ripe, upfront fruit, wines like Merlot, Grenache, Montepulciano are your friends.

Siegel, Handpicked Reserva Merlot

We brought Siegel into our range last year and it's gone down a storm. This is a classic Chilean Merlot full of blackcurrants, blueberries and soft black cherries with smooth tannins and well-balanced acidity. There's a bit of leather on the nose and a slight roast coffee note to the palate, but this is really all about the fruit. This is a really versatile wine in terms of food pairings - lighter meat dishes or something lightly spiced, even roast veg. It's a nice wine to open midweek with tomato based pasta dishes if you're doing something a bit more casual over the break.

Lavradores de Feitoria, Douro Tinto

We were fortunate enough to visit this winery in Portugal's Douro Valley Blended from the vineyards of Feitoria's many growers on the highest steep vineyards in their Quintas, this Douro Tinto is always a fruity, fresh and elegant wine. Perfect for day to day drinking with an abundance of blackberry, black plum and cherry fruits and super smooth and velvety texture.

Pair this with simple pasta dishes or hard cheeses.

Domaine de Dionysos, Cotes du Rhone

This is a great Rhone blend Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah that is really quite yummy and well balanced. It has a ripe red fruit character with soft, supple and fleshy with notes of crushed raspberries,  given depth by black olive, pepper, lavender and wild herbs notes. It is very approachable with soft, mild tannins, that make it really quite quaffable. 

Enjoy this with a little charcuterie or serve up with some lamb chops.

 

 

Full Bodied Reds

For bigger, wintery reds, look to Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and chunky blends aged in oak.

Bardos CLEA, Ribera del Duero Reserva

A fantastic, full bodied Spanish red made from the Tempranillo grape. The aroma is big and complex with plenty of those things you'd want in a full red - black fruits, chocolate and fine French oak wood. It's really well structured and the acidity and tannins work together well to ensure the wine is really drinkable and food friendly. Acidity and tannins are nicely balanced and give structure that makes it drinkable, but also food friendly. Aftertaste is long and persistent.

Sottano, Seleccion del Enologo, Cabernet Sauvignon

We've been working with Sottano for many years now. Based in Mendoza, Argentina, their Malbecs are some of the best selling in our range and their Cabernet Sauvignon is also a bit of a star. Plenty of fruity cassis alongside coffee and chocolate adds great character to this Cabernet. It has a voluptuous, mouth-filling richness on the palate. The ripe, round tannins enable good balance and a long finish. Sottano use only their ripest fruit the Enologo wines and you can really taste it in this showstopper. This would be the perfect steak wine.

Idun, Choregraphie

This was a big favourite at our recent Winter Wine Fair. Complex and elegant, this jumps out of the glass with sweet vanilla, juicy plums and tobacco. There's ripe plums and fruit cake notes - so it feels very festive - with a rich, full bodied texture and firm tannins. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec from 3 separate coastal sites by the Atlantic, the wine is then aged in French oak barrels for around 18 months. This will continue to age and develop for up to 10 years in the cellar but would pair excellently now with red meat dishes. 

 You can read more about full bodied wines for winter here.

Fuller Whites

A great option if you're after a white wine that's slightly richer and more aromatic would be to choose a Chardonnay or Viognier. 

Montsable Reserve Chardonnay

Fantastic value, richer style of Chardonnay sourced from 20-30 year old vines in the Haute Vallée de l’Aude. The nose opens with floral aromas, white peach, vanilla and toasty notes. On the palate it has a lovely creamy texture from 6 months in French oak. The fruit is ripe with more peach, lemon and lime while there's enough acidity it keep it fresh as it moves towards a classy finish with mineral hints.

Ideal with richly flavoured fish dishes, langoustines, lobster, trout or salmon, rich enough to handle creamy sauces.

Mont Rocher Viognier

Viognier is a wonderful grape variety that produces aromatic and floral wines. I love the peach, apricot and honeysuckle notes in this example from Mont Rocher. It is great introduction to the style and ideal with slightly spicy dishes.

It is enticingly aromatic and has a lovely floral aroma with hints of apricot and peach. The palate is smooth and rich yet refreshingly dry, with a touch of minerality and a lingering finish.

 

Natural Wines

The interest in natural wine keeps growing, and while there continues to be debate about what exactly a natural wine is, our take is this: if it is fermented spontaneously and has been made with minimal intervention and low levels of sulphur, we'd consider it natural. However, the quality of winemaking is key, and we want wines that have the energy and vitality of natural wine, with few of the funky flavours that occur in many examples.

If you know someone who's into their natties or are keen to try something a bit different yourself, these are some natural wines to go for.

Daniel Ramos, El Berrakin

A really focused Garnacha, produced completely in stainless steel vats. In doing so, the winemakers have really retained that purity of fruit. It's full of red berries, strawberries, raspberries, red cherries. Really fresh acidity and soft tannins. A great partner to charcuterie.

Achillee Pepin Blanc NV

Achillée is a sustainable, organic project that's been Organic since the 90's and really goes for the minimal intervention winemaking approach. We love this blend with a touch of skin contact. It has nice aromatics as you'd expect with a touch of spice and beautiful fruit and amazing energy. It’s worth anyone’s time, natural wine fiend or not.

Try this with a vegetarian Poké bowl or some grilled fish

 

 

 

Sparkling Wines

You've got to have a good supply of fizz at Christmas right? Here are some of our favs to try...

Champagne Lete Vautrain, Cote Brut 204 NV

We love working with smaller Champagne producers as you tend to get much better value. This is our house Champagne and it's a banger.  A well balanced fizz which is complex and round. Best served as an aperitif.

 

Palladiano Durello Spumante Brut

Prosecco is always a favourite and this is a slightly different spin on this super popular drink. It's made in Veneto just like Prosecco and uses the same method, only with Durello, a local grape variety. A lot of people end up preferring this to Prosecco when they try it. It's an immediate crowd pleaser - yet with texture and depth underlying the bright fruit. A fresh and elegantly dry sparkling wine with citrus and gently floral aromas that lead to a very refreshing palate of crisp green apple with a lightly honeyed character. 

Vallformosa, Blue Fin Cava Brut NV

A striking bottle of Sparkling wine that is the result of a collaboration between Vallformosa and top chefs and sommeliers from Barcelona and Paris to create a tribute the fishermen and chefs who live and work in the Bay of Cadiz to sustainably provide the celebrated regional delicacy of wild blue fin tuna. Pop the cork and you'll find a wine that is fruity with crisp apple as well as pear, citrus and hints of anise. The palate is soft and creamy with delicate bubbles and subtle pastry and nutty hints leading to a long refreshing finish. This is a very elegant and fresh cava and is ideal with wild red tuna but also versatile with many fish dishes and a delicious aperitif on its own.

Christmas Bangers 

Looking for a tried and tested favourite that will definitely go down a treat? This year our Christmas bangers have been handpicked by our team, with more than 50 years in the trade. 

Domaine Alexandre, Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2021

From 60 year old vines planted by winemaker duo Guy and Olivier's grandfather. The quality fruit delivers a lovely crisp and clean Chablis with a bit more concentration and intensity. The nose is delicate with nectarine, lemon citrus and lots of minerality. Subtle fruity flavours develop quickly on the palate which has a soft body and a layered richness with light melon and lime fruit leading to with a fresh finish with decent length. Very precise and true to style.

Chateau Puybarbe, Cotes de Bourg 2018

The wineries signature wine, made only from their best selection of grapes and aged for 16-20 months in oak barrels. Powerful blackberries and black cherries with a hit of spice, oak and bold tannins. It has a silky texture and some balancing acidity that makes it very food friendly. A really fabulous merlot dominated Bordeaux. Drinking nicely now, but has the potential to develop over the next 3-5 years.

Kate says: "Chateau Puybarbe were introduced to our me back in the summer of 2020. It’s fair to say we were all astounded by the quality of the wines and the presentation. The labels walk the tightrope between classic and modern Bordeaux like a pro, with the wines proving to be equally as elegant."

Orange Wine 

Rallo Vicoletto Catarratto 2022

This wine is a slice of Sicilian sunshine. It has a beautiful mix of citrus, grapefruit, apple and melon fruit on the nose. These follow onto the palate, complemented by a subtle note of Mediterranean herbs and a backbone of fresh acidity. 10% of the wine is fermented on skins for 12 days. Bottled without fining or filtration.

What Port do you recommend?

Port is a Christmas essential, best enjoyed as an indulgent drop on its own or as an accompaniment to cheese and desserts. You can read more about our favourite port producer Niepoort over in our feature here, as well as our top Port picks.

Fonseca Port Bin 27 Gift Tin

This year we've brought in some Port by Fonseca. Founded in 1815, Fonseca is considered one of the leading Port Houses, famed for its Vintage Ports. The Reserve Bin 27 is a perfect example of the Fonseca house style, launched in Britain 40 years ago and blended from selected reserve Ports chosen for their smooth, round, full bodied palate and their fine, intense fruit character. It has a rich fruity nose of blackberry, cassis, cherry and plums, interwoven with notes of spice. Full bodied and round, with a smooth velvety texture and a rich luscious finish.

Try this with chocolate and berry fruit dishes, like brownie or truffles. It is also an excellent match for soft ripe cheeses.

Quinta do Vale Meao, 10 Year Old Tawny Port

However for something extra special, we simply must recommend the incredible wines of Quinta do Vale Meao. A vineyard steeped in history, this immense Estate is a standard bearer for the Douro and Portugal. What sets this tawny apart is that it has been aged at the Quinta, in the Douro Superior. This means it shows a very different developmental character to other tawny ports, most of which are aged in Vila Nova de Gaia, far cooler by the coast! 

Rich and toasty with nuts, coffee and chocolate aromas topped with hints of orange peel, all combined together by fine oak ageing. Rich and soft on the palate full of ripe fruit flavours mingling with burnt sugar, caramel, molasses, raisin and toffee notes that persist on a long, complex and elegant finish. This is wonderful, luxurious captivating tawny port that is ideal with dried fruits, chocolate desserts, pastries or of course some cheese particularly a hard cheddar.

Which wine is best with cheese?

Cheese and wine pairings have become a real area of expertise for us over the years. Find out what you need to know in our wine and cheese blog here.

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