Top winter wines


Crisp and dry whites

2008 Menetou-Salon, Domaine Jean Teiller, Loire, France £11.95
An elegant aperitif or the perfect pairing with starter fish dishes, thanks to its citrus aromatics.
Yapp Brothers (01747 860423;

2008 Viñas Riojanas Torrontes, Seleccion, Famatina Valley, Argentina £5
This great-value, superstar wine has lively lemon-sherbet notes and is the perfect party wine.
Jeroboams (020-7288 8850;

2009 Belmonte Sauvignon Blanc
John Forrest, Marlborough, New Zealand £9.49
More intellectual than many other Sauvs on the market, and best served with goat’s-cheese salads or even sushi. Virgin Wines (0845 543 8864;

Aromatic whites

2008 Greco di Tufo

Feudi di San Gregorio, Campania, Italy £19.95
This has lovely apricot-kernel and lemon-balm aromatics. Serve with creamy pasta and risotto or even dressed crab. Look out for Fianos and Falanghinas, too.
Roberson Wine (020-7371 2121;

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2008 Riesling Dry
Kesselstatt, Mosel, Germany £8.95
A pretty wine with lime-cordial nuances and thirst-quenching acidity, but, unusually for a Mosel, it’s been fermented dry and is low-alcohol at only 11.5%.
The Wine Society (01438 737700;

2007 Gewürztraminer

Cave de Turckheim, Sables et Galets, Alsace, France £9.99
Enjoy with Asian-influenced dishes, foie gras and chicken-liver pâté. This gem has a rosewater-and-lychee perfume.

Virgin Wines (as above)
2008 Monte da Peceguina Herdade da Malhadinha Nova, Alentejo, Portugal £13.95
Notes of baked apples and quinces make it perfect for mildly flavoured game or
crustacean dishes. The charming label was designed by the owner’s children.
Caviste (01256 770397;

Gently oaked whites

2007 La Tabardonne Domaine Saint Amant,
Côtes du Rhône-Villages Blanc, France £10.99
A rich, peachy full-bodied white with an interesting twist of herbs. Wonderful with roast turkey.  

2008 Yabby Lake Red Claw Chardonnay
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia £14.50
A sublime example of premier cru-quality Chardonnay. Australian winemaker Tom Carson drinks nothing but Burgundy at home, and its influence is clear here.
Swig (0800 027 2272;

2007 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru, Dents de Chien

Olivier Leflaive, Burgundy, France £19.69
The vineyard Dents de Chien (dog’s teeth) sits on the brow of the hill that overlooks Puligny-Montrachet. The serious soil gives honeysuckle complexities to this beautiful wine. It’s youthful, so decant it and keep another bottle or two in your cellar.
Corney & Barrow (020-7265 2500;

Clarets and Cabernet Sauvignons

2007 Viajero Cabernet Sauvignon

Reserva Privada, Curicó, Chile £4.99
Cabernet’s bright cassis fruit is followed by soft, dusty tannins thanks to six months’ maturation in French and American oak. A lot of bang for your buck
2006 Château Doyac Haut-Médoc

Bordeaux, France £12.70
Doyac overflows with black- cherry, damson and liquorice notes and fine, ripe tannins. It’ll easily see you through Sunday roasts and is still fine enough
to serve at smart dinner parties.
Haynes, Hanson & Clark (020-7584 7927;

2004 Château Beaumont, Haut-Médoc
Bordeaux, France £12.95
 This is drinking well now, with traditional black-fruit nuances and well-knit tannins. Be sure to decant it before serving to reveal its full array of aromas.
The Wine Society (as above)

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Syrah, Grenache and other Rhône varieties

2008 Saint-Chinian

Domaine Combes, Languedoc, France
£6.99, reduced to £5.24
until November 3
This Syrah/Grenache blend is warm and spicy with a perfume of wild herbs that makes this the perfect partner for lamb chops or Moroccan tagines.

2008 Le Petit Caboche
J-P Boisson Vins de Pays
de Vaucluse, France £7.75
It’s 100% Grenache and packed with fruits-of-the-forest flavours and nuances of cinnamon and cloves. Perfect poured with tomato-based pasta dishes or
a traditional ploughman’s.
Yapp Brothers (as above)

2006 Spinifex, Esprit
Barossa Valley,
South Australia £17.25
Mixes flavours such as mocha, chocolate, fresh tobacco, wild cherry and prunes. Spot on with big-flavoured dishes such as braised oxtail or venison.
Caviste (as above)

2007 Crôzes-Hermitage, Cuvée Les Galets

Domaine des Hauts Chassis, Rhône, France £15.95
This Crôzes has a meaty, savoury black-pepper character that’s immensely appealing and is perfect to serve with game.
Berry Bros & Rudd (as above)

Pinot Noir

2007 Craggy Range, Calvert Pinot Noir
Central Otago, New Zealand £19.99
The Calvert vineyard is bio-dynamically farmed, and wild thyme carpets the rows between vines. It has an enticing black-cherry aroma with fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity.
Bon Coeur Fine Wines
(020-7622 5244;

2007 Rully

Domaine Jean-Baptiste Ponsot, Burgundy, France £12.94
If you’re a fan of red burgundy, this is a superb wine with Christmas-cake spices to see you through this year’s festivities without breaking the bank.
Domaine Direct (020-7837 1142;

Weird and wonderful

2007 Tempranillo Mas Oliveras
Catalonia, Spain £6.49
Packed with vibrant red fruit and liquorice flavours, it’s refreshing with well-integrated tannins.
A cracking wine for the price.
Corney & Barrow (as above)

2006 Kepos
Ampeleia, Tuscany, Italy £15.99
An impressive step away from the old-fashioned tannic styles  of Tuscany, this has a nose of wild cherries, backed up by a hint
of liquorice and savoury tar.
Corks Out (01925 267700;

Port and Madeira

Malvasia 20-year-old Reserve Lote 7199

Barbeito, Madeira £49
Enjoy its rich, dark, sweetness with floral and caramelised orange nuances-it’s the perfect foil to Christmas pudding.
Worth  Brothers (01543 262051;

1991 Niepoort, Colheita Port
Portugal £40
A Colheita is a Port aged in vast oak barrels and similar in style to a traditional tawny, but is vintage-specific instead. This has undulating folds of honeyed spice and orange blossom.
Philglas & Swiggot (020-7924 4494;

NV Seppeltsfield Grand Muscat

South Australia £14.99
If you’re new to Aussie Muscat, Seppeltfield is a great starting point. Made in a solera system similar to sherry, it has notes of rose petals and liquidised toffee.
Premier Vintners (020-8870 3550;


NV Claude Carré, 1er Cru, Blanc de Blancs
Champagne, France £24.95
Crafted from just Chardonnay, this has a nutty golden richness
of ripe orchard fruit, and the finish is mellow but still crisp.
Festival Wines (0800 024 2969;

NV Dumangin Fils, Brut Grand Reserve

Champagne, France £24.50
This boasts depth of flavour and a full, almost creamy, finish. Unusually, it has 50% Pinot Meunier, giving apple and pear-blossom nuances.
Yapp Brothers (as above)

NV Geoffroy, 1er Cru Pureté Brut Zéro

Champagne, France £26.75
Bone dry with a tantalising crispness of crystalline green-apple fruit. A mouth-watering aperitif-literally.
Berry Bros & Rudd (0800 280 2440;


La Gitana Manzanilla

Hidalgo, Sherry, Spain £7.49
A savoury tang and bone-dry, lemon-peel notes. Serve it ice cold. Javier Hidalgo recommends drinking La Gitana with langoustines.
Widely available

2007 MR, Mountain Wine
Telmo Rodriguez, Málaga, Spain £12.95 for 50cl
The hand-picked vines grow at a high altitude, which explains the cool, aromatic freshness of sun-kissed apricots and juicy mandarins. Perfect with citrussy puddings.
The Wine Society (as above)

2005 Waitrose Sauternes
Château Suduiraut, Bordeaux, France £10.99
Classic Sauternes with a rich, honeyed texture and complex palate of marmalade and golden syrup. Stock up on the 2005, as it’ll get better over the next eight years.

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