Top 10 wines for Christmas

Turkey, sprouts, pud, brandy butter... Christmas eating works up a thirst. Find out what to drink with Stuart Walton for 4Food

Vinalba torrontes

Viñalba Torrontes 2009 (Sainsburys, £7.99)
Torrontes is the must-have white grape of those in the know. Making its home in Argentina, it produces a dry white with all the sappy, juicy, grapefruity quality of good Sauvignon, but with an other-worldly floral perfume (think jasmine) floating on top. A heaven-scented aperitif wine.

Costero Riesling 2009 (Majestic, £8.69, or £6.95 if you buy two)
Riesling is comparatively new to Chile's vineyards, but one taste of this and you'll wonder what took it so long. All the racy lime zest and mandarin fruitiness of the variety comes out in this one, and it's got a bit more oomph (13.5%, in fact) than most German examples.

Leeuwin Estate Prelude Chardonnay 2007 (, £16.50-17.95)
If you're looking for a sumptuous white wine to go with the turkey, or perhaps to match a show-stopping Christmas Eve fish dish, look no further. Often hailed as Australia's finest Chardonnay, this is a compellingly great, creamily oaked wine with flavours of buttered popcorn, pecans and baked apple. Fantastic stuff.


French Family Syrah Rosé, Vin de Pays d'Oc (Spar, £4.99)
Rosé wine isn't only for summer days. Its handsome colour makes it a natural at this most colourful time of year. Here is an attractive southern French pink with lots of appealing strawberry fruit, just the thing, as Pink herself once sang, for getting the party started.

Chateau descurac

M de Murviedro Reserva 2005 (Asda, £6.98)
From just outside Valencia in eastern Spain, this is a cask-aged red blended from three local grapes. It has that sexy, simmering combination of ripe berry fruits with vanilla and cocoa notes from the oak. You'd pay a lot more for wine this good from Rioja, but it will go equally as well with that Christmas Day bird for the red heads among you.

Asda Extra Special McLaren Vale Shiraz 2007 (Asda, £6.98)
Asda are on a roll with their festive reds, and this one will be a doozy with darker meats such as beef or lamb. It's a big, soft, supple, velvety number with layers of juicy blackberries in the flavour, a massively classy and complex wine for the asking price.

Château d'Escurac 2001, Médoc (Oddbins, £15.99)
This splashy red is a claret, and one chosen specifically because it's drinking so well now. Most such wines are sold young for you to keep but, having passed its eighth birthday, this is now beautiful, grown-up Bordeaux, with a hint of pencil shavings amid the ripe but restrained blackcurrant fruit. An old school classic.


Freixenet Cordon Rosado (Tesco/Sainsburys/Waitrose, £8.99)
Nothing looks grander on a festive occasion than pink fizz, and Spanish cava is producing some head turning pink wines now. There's a lovely raspberry scent to this one, backed up by the kind of lively bubbles that will get everyone in the mood to celebrate.

Jacquart Brut Tradition (Majestic, £24.99, or £14.99 if you buy two)
From one of the lesser-known quality Champagne houses, here is an opulent sparkler with a combination of freshly baked brioche, juicy pear and almond to it. It will make a high-class start to the main Christmas Day business, but if you're starting with smoked salmon, be sure to finish the Champagne first, or you'll lose some of its fabulous complexity.


Blandy's Harvest 2001 Malmsey Madeira (Waitrose, £13.29)
An aged Madeira from the island's benchmark producer, Blandy's, makes a fitting finale to a grand dinner. It's as rich as sticky toffee pudding, but with extra dimensions of flavour - dried figs, raisins and orange peel - carrying through to a long, luxurious aftertaste. To me, no fortified wine screams 'Christmas!' quite like old malmsey. And screaming 'Christmas!' is what we're all about, right?


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