One should not judge a bottle of wine but its label, but it has to be said that upon unpacking the mixed case from Premier Estates looked very attractive indeed. Prosecco DOC was a bargain at £7.99 a bottle, fizzy and creamy, packed with tropical fruit with notes of pineapple and mango. Excellent by itself and at that price it weighs in as everyday drinking. You could make a cocktail with it, but we thought it was far too good. Aussie Shiraz at £5.99 was packed with rich plum and blackcurrant fruits. Chilean Sauvignon blanc (£5.99) was again packed with tropical fruit and gooseberries and slipped down nicely. We are very impressed at quality, presentation and price.
My new found love of Prosecco means I’ve been neglecting some other excellent sparking wines. The Hardys Stamp Pinot Chardonnay is full of lime and stone fruit like apricot and nectarine, perfect for nibbles (ASDA £9.75). The William Hardy Chardonnay is bone dry, but creamy and packed with fruit – melon, citrus and a light note of oak, ideal to accompany the turkey (Ocado, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda £9.99). William Hardy Langhorne Creek Shiraz is full bodied and intensely fruity full of blackberry, with a hint of vanilla, but very softly tannic. Ideal with roast beef, or with cheese after Christmas dinner. (Ocado, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda £9.99) Twitter @hardyswinesUK
Grey’s Fine Foods import quality products from Spain, as well as an extensive collection of food, they also also have some wine boxes. The Christmas Wine Box at £50, contains three wines perfect for Christmas. Bottle aged for 9 months Cava Can Xa Brut is a fresh & delicate fruity sparkling wine with notes of lemon, mandarin and dried fruit. Limited production Murillo Viteri Rioja Reserva 2010 is characteristically full bodied and oaky with notes of vanilla and summer fruit. Delicious with your turkey or other roast. Alvear Pedro Ximenez is rich with notes of prunes, coffee, and chocolate, an indulgent sweet sherry to end your Christmas meal. The box is a lovely present to introduce someone to good, but affordable, Spanish wines.
Wines from the Co-op were very similar to last year’s selection, the Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir was as excellent as I remembered, packed with cherry, a hint of vanilla and smooth gentle tannins, at £7.99 (the same price as last year) you can easily afford, and should buy several bottles! Prosecco (£9.99) is smooth and gently fizzy with notes of pear and white apple – perfect for parties or for before dinner. Les Pionniers Champagne (£24.99) is more refined with apple and citrus and barely any acidity. Lovely.
The Waitrose offerings were excellent. Brut NV champagne (£19.99) was rounded, toasty and elegant, perfect for all occasions and worth keeping a bottle in the wine rack. Austrian Grüner Veltliner (£7.99) was packed with lime, greengage and a hint of pepper, well worth the price, and Ripasso di Valpolicella Classico (£11.99) intense, rich but with some freshness making it very drinkable.
Greenall’s original dry London gin is one of the countries most popular gins. Distilled to the same recipe for over 250 years it contains Moroccan coriander, Spanish lemons and Tuscan juniper. Lovely, crisp and refreshing it will suit those who like a London style gin, without the scented and floral notes. £15 from most supermarkets.
The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve, a smooth and easily drinking dram, with caramel and fruit and citrus flavours. Pale coloured, this Speyside malt comes from Berry Bros and Rudd’s own distillery in Rothes, just north of Craigellachie. Lovely after Christmas lunch sitting in front of a warm fire (or warm television). £39 / 70cl. From Waitrose and Ocado.
Chandon, Methode Traditionelle, this Argentinian blend of chardonnay and pinot noir is very soft, with gentle, fine bubbles. It has a complex nose; biscuitty and zesty without being acidic. Dry without being sharp. A great drink for Christmas morning with some smoked salmon. £14.99 a bottle, from selected retailers including Drinks Supermarket
Cîroc vodka, we have only really started to learn to appreciate premium vodkas and like this one, made in France from cold fermented grapes it is triple distilled for smoothness. Fruity and fresh, perfect for cocktails and mixers. £38 / 70cl bottle, most supermarkets.
Many thanks for all the samples received. All opinions our own.