This Christmas wine is definitely a conversation piece, made by maverick maker Sam Berteka following his time studying the distinctive wines of Moldova. A blend of semillon and viognier, fermented together with natural yeasts and left in contact with their skins to give it ‘crunch’ and extra complexity, this is a bang on-trend orange wine and will please adventurous drinkers. Perfumed apricots and almonds, and plenty more besides, it can handle some spice and would be great with our ’nduja-stuffed porchetta or lobster mac ’n’ cheese.
Beronia is best known for its range of top-notch riojas but has recently branched out into the Rueda region to the south of Spain. Some of the grapes are picked and vinified early to make the best of their appley fruit and zingy acidity, while others are left longer on the vine to bring out their fruitiness and fragrance. The wines are aged on their lees to give added interest and texture then blended into this beautifully balanced wine that would be equally at home with dishes such as our meatball, sage & squash lasagne, confit salmon with golden romesco or a veggie centrepiece like our chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf.
A bright, modern chardonnay made from grapes grown in the Languedoc and Gascony regions of southern France. With just a touch of oak to give a succulent, nutty richness without overpowering its sunny fruit, this makes a cheery wine for a Christmas party as well as at the dinner table. A fine match with turkey or try it with our buttermilk-fried Frazzles chicken.
Samantha O’Keefe is a Californian wine-maker who moved to this lonely part of South Africa where she makes a range of brilliant wines that have made her a star in wine circles. This is gorgeous, pure and vibrant with great poise, and will please any guest who is partial to good burgundy. It’s also vegetarian and vegan, so is perfect if you’re going meat-free this season – a treat with our Persian aubergine bake or with a cold-cuts Boxing Day lunch.
A blend of bobal, tempranillo and merlot from the Utiel-Requena region in Spain’s Valencia province, this is a welcome change from the usual festive suspects. Fruity, but with a bracing texture that comes from its fermentation in clay amphorae called tinajas, it’s quite austere by itself but is very versatile with food. It would particularly suit our duck, chicken and sour cherry terrine, but could also hold its own at a multi-dish buffet.
Malbec is fast becoming one of our most popular grapes, and although it originally hails from France, Argentina makes some of the best-value examples around. Trivento is the top-selling brand in the UK with good reason. This is very easy to glug and ticks all the boxes of plummy fruit, warming spice and velvety tannins. Lovely with roast beef or our five-spice roast duck with clementines and port, or just to drink when friends drop in to say hello.
Best port for Christmas: Quinta do Nova 10-Year-Old Tawny Port NV
Port and a Christmas cheeseboard go hand in hand. Old tawny port has been aged in small oak barrels for a minimum of 10 years, producing something rich but not too tannic, and a little more delicate than ruby or vintage ports. This ageing process also means it will keep for weeks once opened if you keep it in the fridge. I like it slightly chilled, in fact, both as a wine with cheese and also as an aperitif.
Best dessert wine for Christmas: Brandy’s Arvada 5-Year-Old Rich Madeira
Pedro Ximénez is the grape that’s used to make the sweetest style of sherry, thick and unctuous with a texture like velvet. This one is made by the esteemed sherry house Lustau for Morrisons and is a must to have on hand at Christmas. Serve it alongside mince pies, pour it over vanilla ice cream or drink it by itself when you want something sweet but can’t face any more food. It’s Christmas in a glass!