RAISE A GLASS
IF YOU’VE been paying attention you’ll know I’ve shared some white wine ideas for Christmas. This week I’m starting down the road of the reds.
It could be a long road to travel, but I’m doing it in two journeys – this week, light, fruity, savoury, complex – next week more robust rich reds.
What does that mean for your Christmas dinner? I much prefer lighter fruity reds with a festive plate of flavours which can have so many mix and match combinations. A robust red can be overpowering – but if you love it, then you jolly well drink it.
Let’s move to my first choice.
Ursa Maior Rioja Tempranillo
(£6.50, Spar) is a very accessible Rioja which delivers bright red fruits on the nose and soft tannins and the same red fruits in the mouth. It is unoaked and retains a juicy freshness.
I love a fruity beaujolais, and, if you didn’t know, there are three styles you can buy. The basic Beaujolais AC, then the next appellation is Beaujolais Villages and finally, within the Beaujolais Villages are the Beaujolais Crus, a handful of villages with their own distinctive tastes.
For Christmas, Lidl has the crus wine
(£7.99). Fleurie is one of the most popular styles which is fresh and juicy with raspberries and a shake of pepper.
By contrast, a much more complex crus wine is
Dubessy Fleurie Chateau des Jacques Moulin a Vent 2016
(RRP £19.60, Sainsbury’s) which is dark and spicy, savoury and complex. Very tasty and elegant.
A lighter, softer beaujolais which will go with every course, is
Louis Jadot Combe Aux Jacques BeaujolaisVillages 2016
(RRP £11, Tesco and Ocado). A wine I enjoyed testing for you guys is
KWV The Mentors Petit Verdot 2016
(£14.99, slurp.co.uk, right). Petit verdot is a grape usually taking a back seat in a
blend, but here the South African producers have pushed it centre stage. It has a flash of cherries, spice, black fruits and pencil shavings. Trust me. Pencil shavings.
Finally, if a pinot noir is your preference (and it is mine!)
Tesco Finest New Zealand Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017
(£8.50) is well
worth the price.
Good pinot noir usually retails well above this, but it’s no slouch by comparison. That wonderful earthiness is there in spades and it’s got enough about it to give the parsnips and sprouts a run for their money. Reminded me of a football team I support. Goes down a little too easily. Gingerbread. Sounds very Christmassy, doesn’t it. Asda’s seasonal offering of
Extra Special Gingerbread Gin Liqueur
(£12) has an amazingly moreish nose of gingerbread (the clue is in the name I guess) and even more so, of caramel and cinnamon. It tastes soft and unctuous, not harsh in the least. I loved it. A pal saw it in my kitchen and said she adds it to prosecco!
Breaking news … I’ve just read
Aldi’s Gingerbread Gin Liqueur.
(£9.99, pictured left ) has won a gold medal at the Spirits Business Global Liqueur Masters. That’s another tip for free. You see, I keep on giving this Christmastime.
■ JANE is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers. Find her on social media as One Foot in the Grapes.
Also in my glass…