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.
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.
Always good to see an Italian wine with some bottle age on a supermarket shelf, especially when it’s as good as this Sangiovese-based Tuscan red. It’s made in a modernised traditional style, with lovely floral, tealeafy flavours, fresh acidity and savoury, complex tannins. Drink it with a good winter stew and it will taste even better.
This is only the baby wine from this historic Cape winery (hence Kadette) but it’s still very impressive. A blend of mostly Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon with splashes of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, it’s elegant and poised with polished tannins, seamless integration between the varieties and lots of potential. Long and well balanced, this carries its 14% alcohol with effortless grace.
The coastal region of Elquí, close to the edge of the Atacama desert, is one of the most exciting in the world. And the wines from this Italian-influenced winery are leading the way. This has the cool climate pepperiness of Syrah (the Pacific is not far away) with notes of raspberry, tomato leaf and clove spice. Close your eyes and you could be drinking something very grand from the Rhône Valley.
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.
The almacenista (merchant) house of Emilio Lustau sources and blends some of the best Sherries in the world. This perennial award winner from Sainsbury’s is a classic Amontillado style: pale(ish), dry and very complex with flavours of hazelnuts, dried fruits and a savoury, umami-like tang. The wine needs food, preferably tapas or a hunk of Manchego cheese, to show at its best, but is a comtemplative, after dinner drink too.
It was a smart move by Sainsbury’s to source their Crozes from the biodynamic wild child of the Rhône Valley, Michel Chapoutier. Sourced from three different terroirs in this comparatively large appellation, it’s a classis example of a cooler climate Syrah, albeit an unoaked one. Blackberry spice and smoked meat are the dominant aromas and flavours here, underpinned by good structure and supple tannins. Try chilling it slightly.