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.