Fiona Beckett Crack open a good bottle to see in the new year
Now that it’s become almost obligatory to do dry January, there’s a fair chance you’re going to want to make the best of this weekend and drink something decent before you abstain. And, to my mind, New Year’s Eve is a far better occasion than Christmas to bring out a cherished bottle: something you can tailor the food around, rather than have to accommodate the bird.
Personally, I’d be happy to drink champagne right through the evening, whether I’m in party mode or curled up on the sofa in front of the telly, and although discounts on the big brands have to be taken with a pinch of salt, there are still some good deals around. The most attractive at the time of writing is the Co-op’s excellent
(12%), which is on
Champagne Les Pioneers
offer at £18.99. While you’re there, I suggest you pick up the same store’s
Famille Perrin Les Cardinaux 2016
(13.5%), a Châteauneuf-du-Papealike that’s on offer at the very unChâteauneuf price of £8.
If you want your local wine merchant to survive, it would be good to give them at least some of your custom over the new year. Lea & Sandeman, for instance, which has four branches around London, has a wonderfully elegant
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2015
from Cantine Dei that would be perfect if you’re cooking an Italian-style roast (£23.95, or £21.95 by the split case; 14%). Or, by contrast, try the sensuously silky
Tongue in Groove Cabal Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 Viña Ardanza Rioja Reserva Eggnog for the discerning drinker, and perfect for a New Year’s Eve nip. Montenegro is an Italian digestivo made in Bologna that’s especially popular in the north of the country. It’s more floral and delicate than the viscous, pitch-black amari of the south, such as Averna.