‘Tis the season to drink jolly good wine!—


BEST APERITIF: Collezione Oro Prosecco DOCG (11%) £8.99 Aldi. A melon meets a meteorite! Soaring, bright and fruity this is as exuberant as it is excellent.

BEST PINK: Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir 2017 12.5%) Waitrose £15.99 Delicious! Delicately pale with pristine flavours of raspberries and cherries this is a delightful Aussie bubbly for Christmas.

BEST GIFT: Dom Perignon Legacy Edition 2008 (12.5%) £145 clos19.com Signed by both outgoing Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy, (who has held the position for 28 years) and incoming Vincent Chaperon, this iconic bottle is a collector’s item for serious wine fans.

BEST BARGAIN: Comte de Senneval Champagne Brut NV (12.5%) Lidl £11.99. Good depth and decent quality for a bargain basement bubbly.

BEST BLOW OUT: Agrapart et Fils Les 7 Cru Blanc de Blanc NV (12%) £57.99 Selfridges. A producer of the finest calibre with this bottle displaying hallmark finesse and haunting long-lasting flavours of sheer scrumptiosness.

BEST FOR PARTIES: Meinklang ‘Prosa’ Sparkling Rosé (Biodynamic) 2017  (10.5%) £9.49* winebuyers.com. Fruity and bouncy as a giant strawberry on a trampoline.  Great fun fizz for parties. *Offer price (down from £12.99)

BEST WITH SMOKED SALMON: Peller Vidal Ice Cuvée (11.5%) £27.50 greatwesternwine.co.uk. Gloriously fruity as well as refreshing, this Canadian cracker is a firm favourite at Smith Towers every Christmas with smoked salmon.

STAR BUY: Berry Bros and Rudd Blanc de Blancs Champagne Grand Cru Brut (12.5%) £33. Sensational – aromas of toasty nuts and croissants with tingling zestiness as you sip it. Look no further for sheer festive splendour.

BEST OF BRITISH: Marksman English Sparkling Brut Blanc de Blancs 2014 (12%) £26 Marks and Spencers. At this price it’s not just among the best of British, it’s up there with the best fizz in the world.

BEST BARGAIN: Extra Special Louis Bernard Vintage Brut Champagne 2007 (12%) Asda £24. Serious richness, complexity and toasty character matched with zip. Champagne sorted.

El Viajé de Ramón Bilbao Rosé (12.5%) Co-op £8. Fruity Spanish rosé that’s a big-hearted all-rounder and a decent crowd-pleaser.

Petale de Rose Chateau la Tour de l’Eveque Rosé AOC Cotes du Provence 2017 (13.5%) £17.95 Corney & Barrow. Silky, layered with intriguing flavours and an echo of splendid summertime for the deep midwinter.

BEST PARTY WHITE: Morrison’s Soave 2017 (11%) £4.35. Good fun white wine for a party served well chilled. Simple festive refreshment.

BEST FOR TURKEY CURRY: Viognier Grès du Trias, Vignerons Ardechois 2017 (14%) The Wine Society £9.95. Scented as an apricot, this is delightfully fruity to pair with a luxurious festive curry.

BEST FOR SHELLFISH: Grüner Veltliner Strass Allram 2017 (12.5%) Corney and Barrow £15.95. Sensational wine! Light ethereal, charming, delicate, elfish, pristine and perfectly poised for shellfish.

BEST WHITE BARGAIN: Finest Côtes de Gascogne 2017 (11.5%) £6.50 Tesco. This is grapefruit dynamite! Explosive citrus zing and a total steal at the price.

BEST BLOW OUT: Haywire Waters & Banks Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (13.5%) Okanagan Valley £32 redsquirrelwine.com. Absolutely delicious Canadian white that’s so dazzling it’ll outshine all the Christmas lights.

STAR BUY: Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (13%) £14.99 Waitrose. Peachy and zingy white that’s a reminder of just how good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can be.

BEST WITH TURKEY: Albacea Jumilla Monastrell 2017 (15%) Co-Op £10. This bold and beautiful red is bang on for a royal roast at Christmas with all the trimmings.

BEST FOR COLD CUTS: Domaine Tavian Brouilly 2017 (13%) Waitrose £12.99. Scented as a rose and joyfully light, this is bang on Beaujolais – doesn’t get any better.

BEST PARTY RED: M&S California Ruby Cabernet 2017 (13%) £5. Magic wine – this is plush, juicy, easy-drinking and excellent.

BEST RED BARGAIN: Extra Special Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 (13.5%) Asda £8.98. Pinot for under a tenner is hard to get right and this beauty nails it – light on its feet with fruity finesse.

BEST BLOW OUT: Manoella Wine and Soul 2015 (14.5%) Corney and Barrow £18.50. Sensationally rich and balanced with brooding depth and vivaciousness. Take it to a dinner party and everyone will worship the bottle.

STAR BUY: Terre à Terre Rouge South Australia 2015 (14.5%) Vagabond Wines £17.95. A treat for Christmas in short supply with just 590 cases made of this magical Aussie blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc.

Next week – Olly’s top Christmas picks for Spirits, Fortified & Low Alcohol Wines.

Olly’s 24 Christmas Wines appeared in EVENT Magazine, Mail on Sunday, 9th December 2018