Christmas Time, Mistletoe and Wine


And sherry, port, bubbly... Whether it’s to set your turkey off to perfection or to add some sparkle to a family gathering, wine is an important part of any Christmas celebration. You also don’t need to break the bank to find some bottles that will keep everybody happy. Food and drink writer Neil Davey shares his top tips for top tipples this Christmas. Check out Neil’s blog here.


Having shaken off its Seventies image, we’re waking up to what the Spanish have known for years: good sherry is lovely. Sainsbury’s are a particularly good bet: a 12-year old Pedro Ximenez (Christmas pudding in a glass) or their excellent Taste The Difference Dry Amontillado are available for £6.49 a bottle. The latter is a smart aperitif or great with cheese.


A lot of the supermarket own labels are worth a look – Sainsbury’s and Waitrose in particular – but there are some fine Proseccos out there for under a tenner and there’s always Lindauer Brut NV, one of the most reliable fizzes for under £10 – and sometimes to be found for under £8.


English turkey? Why not an English wine? Stop sniggering at the back. Chapel Down Bacchus (Waitrose, £9.49) is a dry delight with a bouquet of elderflower that can almost make you forget the snow and remember the summer. Almost.


Personally, we’re raising a glass of the berry-rich, spicy Mount Difficulty Pinot Noir 2007 (generally available, c. £20) but if we crack and drink it early (it’s happened before, it’ll happen again), the back-up is the Renato Ratti Langhe Nebbiolo 2007 (£10.99) from M&S. Partly because we like saying the name out loud but mostly because it’s a big and fruity bottle of loveliness.


Happily, a generous relative always sends over a fine Port to finish Christmas off in heady style. If it doesn’t arrive though, we’ve a Warre’s LBV 2000 in reserve: a Decanter Gold Medal winner and generally available for under £20. You could also do a lot worse than the ripe cherry hit of Quinta du Noval Unfiltered LBV 2003, which can be found for under £10 online.

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