It’s worth paying a little extra to secure a bottle of this special Premier Cru from Domaines Brocard, as it has even more weight and concentration. There’s great texture here, with notes of citrus fruit and fresh cream and a stony, chalky finish. Fantastic value and a brilliant expression of a very good Chablis vintage.
NV Taittinger Brut, Champagne( £37.99, 12%, Majestic, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose, Wine Rack )
Taittinger is in a rich vein of form at the moment, from this its non vintage blend right up the Olympian heghts of Comtes de Champagne. This is dry, toasty and well balanced with Chardonnay providing the freshness and lift on the palate. Appealingly dry for non vintage blend, using bottle age rather than sweetness for balance.
2010 Domaines Brocard Sélection, Chablis 1er Cru, Burgundy( £14.99, 12.5%, Sainsbury's )
One of a series of brilliant Chablis to emerge from this domaine (or domaines) in 2010, this is a textbook example of what Chardonnay can produce in a great year in the Yonne. It’s tangy and fresh with lovely chalky minerality and purity of fruit. Deliciously drinkable.
NV Hidalgo Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana, Jerez( £12.99 down to £9.74, 15%, Sainsbury's )
A bottle of my favourite Manzanilla for less than a tenner? Sign me up. This aged style from coastal Sanlúcar de Barrameda is an Andalucian classic. Rich and savoury, with yeasty, baking dough aromas, intense, salty, tangy flavours and a finish that goes on for so long it could outsell Viagra. An incredible wine at a bargain price.
2011 Taste the Difference Pouilly-Fumé, Loire Valley( £11.99 down to £8.99, 13%, Sainsbury's )
Made by the brilliant André Figeat, this is a winner every year at JS, even in tricky vintages like 2011. Focused, nettley and taut, this is bright and refreshing with notes of minerals, dill, cut grass and citrus fruit. Long and complex on the palate, this is at its best with goat’s cheese.
2012 Villa Maria Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Awatere Valley, Marlborough( £13.99 down to £7.86, 13%, Sainsbury's )
The cooler Awatere Valley is producing someof Marlborough’s most distinctive Sauvignons at the moment, lighter and fresher in style than those of the neighbouring Wairau Valley. This is a very elgant Kiwi number, which wouldn’t look out of place in the Loire, with tangy elderflower and citrsu fruit notes and a fine, stony finish. Very poised, very self-assured.
2010 Bellingham The Bernard Series Roussanne, Paarl( £9.99 down to £7.49, 14.5%, Sainsbury's )
There ought to be much more Roussanne planted in the hotter areas of the Cape than there is, given its suitability to such a climate. This one from Bellingham’s excellent Bernard Series is dry, and creamy with a smoky, spicy undertone and a herbal, refeshing finish. Let’s hope it’s an inspiration to others.
2006 Taste the Difference Hunter Valley Semillon( £9.99 down to £7.49, 10.5%, Sainsbury's )
Thsi has been on the shelves for a while at JS, which suggests that (baffling though it is to me) it isn’t selling. This is the weekend to rectify that, because it’s an amazing wine at the price. Light-bodied, in classic Hunter style, with notes of toast and lemon sherbet and a tangy finish from early picked grapes. Essence of the Hunter.
2012 Yalumba Y Series Viognier, South-Eastern Australia( £8.99 down to £6.74, 14.5%, Sainsbury's )
This is only the entry point Viognier from Yalumba, but winemaker Louisa Rose’s magic touch with the variety is gloriously apparent here, making this the best value example of the grape in the country right now. Aromatic and creamy, with hints of aniseed and white peach and a luscious, almost decadent finish. Yum, yum.
NV Sainsbury's Blanc de Noirs Champagne( £20.99 down to £15.74, 12%, Sainsbury's )
Well, that’s my Christmas Party fizz taken care of. This is outrageously good value, a superb own-label Champagne that ranks with the very best buys in the high street right now. It’s a toasty, bottle-aged blend of mostly Pinot Meunier with 40% Pinot Noir and it’s singing at the top of its voice. Small bubbles, great length, richness and complexity, with lots of extra weight from 30% reserve wines. Buy, buy, buy.
2010 Domaine Joly Puligny-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes, Burgundy( £29.99 down to £24.49, 13%, Sainsbury's )
If you feel like treating your nearest and dearest (or just yourself) on Christmas Day, I’d buy a bottle of this very smart white Burgundy from one of the best vintages of the last 50 years. Focused and rich, with lovely oak integration, mealy, buttery notes and a foundation of minerally, limestone-related acidity. The wine is great now, but will happily sit in your wine rack for another five years or more.
2010 Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage, Les Meysonniers, Rhône Valley( £15.99 down to £11.99, 13%, Sainsbury's )
The enfant terrible of the Rhône is at the top of his form right now, even on wines from lesser appellations, such as Crozes-Hermitage. This has classic Syrah aromas of tapenade and smoked meat, allied to freshness, brightness and length. It’s organic, its unoaked and it’s truly delicious.