Our Top 10 Christmas Party Wines
Christmas time can often be one that consists of equal parts joy and stress. If you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to have been put in charge of choosing the festive party wines for an upcoming soirée you may find that this role induces the latter of those two emotions rather than the former. Here at JN we believe that wine should bring nothing but joy and togetherness to you and those close to you so in keeping with the season of goodwill we have taken it upon ourselves to adopt the role on your behalf! Below are a number of good value suggestions that we are confident will deliver the pièce de résistance to your celebrations and hopefully go some way in the making of a Christmas to remember.
Domaine Manciat-Poncet Cremant de Bourgogne NV, £15.17 /€23.7.9 For those looking for a cheaper alternative to Champagne that does not compromise in complexity and finesse - look no further! This wonderful effort from Burgundy’s Domaine Manciat-Poncet utilises two classic Champagne grapes and is made in the ‘Méthode Traditionnelle’ – the traditional method of sparkling wine production in the famous region. As a result, we are rewarded with a beautifully dry, textured sparkling wine that offers up hints of orange blossom, lemon rind and creamy, toasty brioche. Beloved of consumers and critics alike, this wine represents excellent value for money.The nose entices with its abundance of ripe plums, blueberries, slight spiciness and heady whiffs of violets. Dark berry fruit, liquorice and notes of sweet tobacco and cocoa follow through onto a vibrant mid-palate with bright, svelte tannins and a silky texture. The wine shows exceptional balance with fresh, integrated acidity. Red plums, black olives and lavender linger on a mouthwatering finish.
Botter Prosecco DOC Spumante Quadri NV, Italy, £9.99 / €17.85 The Prosecco revolution shows no sign of relenting and who are we to resist? A staple of any get-together nowadays, it can be difficult to find quality, good value Prosecco amidst the huge selection. This wine from Botter thankfully marries reasonable price with good quality, showcasing refreshing Granny Smith apple flavours alongside aromas of white flowers and a persistent effervescence.
Bouvet La Petite Bulle Rosé NV, France, £12.50 / €17.00 The La petite Bulle translates as "the little bubble" and this rose is comprised of the classic Loire variety; Cabernet Franc. In the glass it sparkles with a gentle and elegant pink hue with orange inflections. Raspberry, strawberry and some cherry present on the nose and continue on the palate. The finish is elegant and dry, with notes of red berries lingering.
Weingut Salwey Spatburgunder Rosé 2016, £12.99 / €17.95 Although more traditionally associated with the summer, rosé wine unquestionably has a place at the Christmas party. While the paler, Provençal style may be more suited to warmer weather conditions, this earthier, slightly fuller-bodied example from Salwey in Germany is a perfect accompaniment to winter celebrations. Evoking rosehip tea, cranberry and red currant it is delicious on its own or when paired with the cold meats, cheese and other nibbles typically encountered at the festive knees-up.
Rustenberg Chardonnay 2018, South Africa, £13.99 / €18.99 Another wine commonly associated with the Yuletide period is white Burgundy. However, if humbly-priced red Bordeaux is difficult to come by then white Burgundy in the same bracket is nigh on impossible to find! Nevertheless, similarly-styled wines can be found at modest cost elsewhere in the world, not least the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. This Chardonnay, from the famous Rustenberg estate, reveals a plush aroma of buttery lemons and marzipan before an opulent, smooth body and flavours of ripe pineapple and honeydew melon, with well-balanced oak and acidity. A truly aristocratic wine at an affordable price!
Forrest Estate Heart of Stone 2018, New Zealand, £11.00 / €15.00 At every party there needs to be the ‘crowd-pleaser’ wine – something dependable and familiar that those less adventurous attendees will find comfort in. Over the last decade or two New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has become somewhat of a phenomenon in the UK and Ireland and, while there are some good examples to be found still, the vast majority of what we see on the shelves tends to be pretty lacklustre. Thankfully this example from organically-certified Forrest Estate combines good value with great quality and is guaranteed to find fans at any gathering – festive or otherwise! Our best-selling white.
Pikes Hills & Valleys Riesling 2018, Australia, £11.99 / €17.95 While we in the northern Hemisphere enjoy our Christmas merriments from the warm comfort of our homes the producers of this wine are likely enjoying a BBQ on a terrace or beach! This Clare Valley Riesling from Pikes is brimming with zesty lime, sherbet and white grapefruit flavours and will work perfectly as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to any seafood that may make an appearance at the festive party. Its hint of residual sugar will also suit those who prefer their whites to have a touch of sweetness too.
Château Monconseil Gazin 2016, Bordeaux, £12.39 / €16.95 Red Bordeaux wine is often associated with Christmas however finding modestly-priced examples can often prove to be difficult. Such wines can however be found in burgeoning regions such as Blaye, the ‘right-bank’ region from which this corker is derived. This sustainably-farmed offering from Château Monconseil Gazin displays the classic Bordeaux aromas and flavours of cassis, cedar wood, cigar box and violet at a price that will surely instil festive cheer.
Altosur Malbec 2018, Argentina, £10.50 / €14.95 For every crowd-pleasing white there of course needs to be a red counterpart. Argentinian Malbec has become a familiar feature on restaurant and bar wine lists the country over. The Altosur, from Finca Sophenia, is an approachable, lightly-oaked take on the style that exhibits black and blue berry fruit alongside sweet spice and a fresh, menthol note, culminating in a wine that is extremely versatile in its food pairing capabilities and a joy to drink on its own. Excellent value - our best-selling red.
Villa Wolf Pinot Noir 2017, £12.50 / €16.99 For those seeking a lighter, easy-drinking style of red to sip alongside canapés this excellent Pinot Noir from Germany’s Villa Wolf could well be the answer. Made in Pfalz under the stewardship of the inimitable Dr. Ernst Loosen, this beautifully fresh Pinot offers delightful wild strawberry, rose and Maraschino cherry notes at a gentle price tag. Try it slightly chilled – you won’t regret it!