Not your traditional wine recommendations for Christmas

Article date: 24 November 2018

Un-traditional christmas wine

Are you going to have a traditional Christmas and what does that look like? Maybe it reads like a check-list. Champagne (check), smoked salmon (check), turkey (check), port (check), and so on. Check.

Uncheck. Let’s not be boring (I mean traditional) this Christmas. I’ve got a few simple asks. Seek out the new, the unusual and, above all, forget pairing wine with food – don’t, as the Americans say, sweat-it.

Wine is wine, food is food, and sometimes the twain shall meet. But in all honesty, who cares? It’s an occasion. Pull a cracker, wear a silly hat, groan at the terrible jokes and pour of a glass of something unexpected.

I’m not saying stick any old wine on the table (although that is an option); just make a decision, stick with it and be happy. So here are some suggestions to help you make that non-traditional decision.

Sparkling

Defintiely no champagne.

Finest Franciacorta NV

Finest Franciacorta NV, Italy – £15

Recommended by Hamish Anderson, The Telegraph

“This is mostly chardonnay and is a rich, buttery fizz with toasted brioche and ripe pears. A characterful aperitif, but with the requisite weight to drink throughout a meal”

Buy from Tesco

Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir

Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills, Australia 2017 – £15.99

Recommended by David Williams, The Guardian

“this vintage blend of the traditional trio of local varieties offers classic cava sour apple tang and toastiness, and abundant creamy fizz”

Buy from Waitrose & Partners

Nyetimber Rose NV

Nyetimber Rose NV, England – £29.99 (reduced from £39.99) from 28 Nov to 1 Jan

Recommended by Victoria Moore, The Telegraph

“A very pretty, slightly floral, red berry-scented and very assured pink sparkling wine from this prestigious English producer”

Buy from Waitrose & Partners

Reds

No claret. In fact, nothing French at all.

Villa Vincini Il Gran Rosso Veneto

Villa Vincini Il Gran Rosso Veneto, Italy 2017 – £6.50 reduced from £7.48

Recommended by David Williams, The Guardian

“dark plummy merlot with the black-cherry tang of the local corvina grape in a sweetly fruited style for the main event or cheese course”

Buy from Asda

Leeuwenkuil Bushine Cinsault

Leeuwenkuil Bushvine Cinsault 2017 Swartland – £10

Recommended by Victoria Moore, The Telegraph

“beautiful, scented red wine… reminds me of sweet cranberries, juicy mulberries and spice”

Buy from M&S

Thymiopoulos Atma Xinomavro

Thymiopoulos Atma Xinomavro Macedonia, Greece 2017 – £11.99

Recommended by David Williams, The Guardian

“this is bursting with wild personality: tangy raspberry, cherry, mountain herbs, with just the right level of food-friendly grippy tannin”

Buy from Waitrose & Partners

Whites

No Chablis or anything else Burgundian.

Klein St Grenache Blanc

Klein Street Grenache Blanc Western Cape, South Africa 2018 – £6.50

Recommended by David Williams, The Guardian

“breezy peachy-floral Cape example offering enough weight for any festive white-meat roasts”

Buy from Morrisons

TTD Gavi 2017

Taste the Difference Gavi 2017, Italy – £9

Recommended by Victoria Moore, The Telegraph

“Tastes like fresh lemon juice running over limestone beside a bay tree”

Buy from Sainsbury’s

Tesco Finest Falanghina

Tesco Finest Falanghina Campania, Italy 2017 – £9

Recommended by David Williams, The Guardian

“this falanghina offers a soft, fluent mix of white flowers, orange and lemon zestiness, and minerals”

Buy from Tesco

Artisan Tasmanian Chardonnay

Artisan Tasmanian Chardonnay, Tasmania, Australia 2016 – £16.99

Recommended by David Williams, The Guardian

“richly involving chardonnay layers nutty-wheatiness with bright ripe fruit and the crystal-clear, plate-perking acidity”

Buy from Aldi

Dessert wines

Sweet wines from the unexpected.

Muscat of Samos Vin Doux

Muscat of Samos Vin Doux Greece 2017 – £8.99, 37.5cl Recommended by David Williams, The Guardian

“A golden syrupy mix of apricot, blossomy honey and sweet lemony-citrus”

Buy from Waitrose & Partners

Justino's Colheita

Justino’s Colheita 1996, Madeira – £45

Recommended by Terry Kirby, The Independent

“a rare, exceptional single year vintage… notes of chocolate, coffee, caramel overlaid by rich dark fruits. Yes, it is expensive, but it will keep for another couple of decades”

Buy from Laithwaites

Sherry

Not the sweet stuff.

Mil Pesetas Manzanilla Sherry

Mil Pesetas Manzanilla Spain NV – £6.50, The Co-op

Recommended by David Williams, The Guardian

“this new bone-dry sherry in the Co-op range is a festive all-rounder”

Very Rare Dry Palo Cortado

Very Rare Dry Palo Cortado NV – £9

Recommended by Victoria Moore, The Telegraph

“Palo Cortado is one of the most rare sherry styles… This smells of roasted Brazil nuts and coffee grounds, lovely at Christmas”

Buy from M&S

Port

Ok, so you can’t avoid tradition all-together

Tesco Finest Vintage Port

Tesco Finest Vintage Port Douro, Portugal 1997 – £20

Recommended by David Williams, The Guardian

“this is typically excellent value for a properly mature vintage port with soft berries, leather and spice, and a texture as comfortably rumpled as a favourite armchair”

Buy from Tesco

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