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Wednesday 14 December 2011

Weekly Wine: Festive Finds

Christmas Party season is upon us! And I don't know about you, but by golly, we take the 'eat, drink and be merry' part at face value in my neck of the woods.

But if you're the one in charge of vino, it can be both pricey and tricky to buy things to suit everyone, so much so that you can give yourself a headache before the party has even started. This Christmas, be savvy and shop around for the deals on cases that contain a little bit of everything.

Quality Quaffers

If you're looking for something tasty to slurp (and slosh around the room as you gesticulate a bit too enthusiastically, if you're me) you don't need to spend all your pennies, but then you also don't want to serve the cheap and nasties. Luckily, some good names have put together reliable cases of party selections.

I'm slightly concerned to admit I've tried all of these wines over the past couple of years. And they're smashingly tasty all-rounders. Not bad for just over a fiver a bottle.

If you're looking to spend just that little bit more, then this is one of the best mixes I've found. Crowd-pleasing Pinot Grigio, the delicious Waxed Bat, and even traditional Claret. £6.67 per bottle well spent.

Christmas Day All Wrapped Up

There's so much to think about on the big day, and you probably want something a little more refined than your party wines. Champagne breakfast? Something special for the turkey? Good sippers for evening nibbles? Luckily, some wine merchants appear to have thought of everything.

This case make me a little giddy with excitement. Two gorgeous sparklers, a Rhone for turkey with all the trimmings, and two stunning Kiwi Sauvignons. They've even popped in a bottle of mulled wine. Awesomesauce.

A little pricier but really big on quality. Classic Chablis, (smoked salmon's best mate, if that's one of your festive traditions), plus good fizz, sophisticated Gavi and another couple of round reds to choose from for the Turkey feast.

Festive Fizz

If you want bubbles galore over Christmas, I'm just going to put it out there: Champagne is too expensive at this time of year when we all know you've probably already spent too much on everything else. There are a couple of deals to keep your eyes open for:

Codorniu Vintage Cava - half price at Tesco (£6.99 a bottle in-store, £6.64 when you buy six online)

If you've already seen me getting all ranty about finding decent, good-value sparklers then you'll know Cava is made in the same way as Champagne, just somewhere else and with different grapes. It might not be exactly on a par, but for the complexity and crisp, refreshing style it gives far pricier Champers a run for their money.

If you fancy mixing it up a bit, with rose as well as white fizz, then this might be right up your street. A lovely mix of different styles, from crisp Cava to light Prosecco and even an offering from up-and-coming sparkling wine guru, New Zealand. It's around £8 a bottle, and you won't find good Champagne for anything like that.

Lastly, Turkey with a Twist…

Just in case you don't want the traditional white Burgundy, or a classic Rhone with The Dinner (although both are good matches), try these from the New World:

Generally, I don't really recommend white with Christmas dinner because - while it's nice with just Turkey - you've got the whole shebang of cranberry, stuffing and pigs in blankets to deal with. If I had to pick one, I'd pick something like this top Chilean example. Buttery, complex, and round.

I'm told by my American friends that Zinfandel is the classic Thanksgiving Dinner accompaniment. This is a benchmark example, and bursts with cranberry flavour. It was my 'experiment' last year, and it'll be my total failsafe this time around.

Come and tell us what you'll be getting tipsy with over the season to be jolly - we'd love to hear from you on Twitter or Facebook!

Image from mbtrama's photostream, used under the Creative Commons License

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