Matthew Jukes' top Christmas tipples

MoneyWeek's wine writer, Matthew Jukes, let's us in on what he's stocking in his festive cabinet this Christmas.


A staggering rum

Diplomatico Rum Reserva Exclusiva, Venezuela (£40.00, 70cl bottle, reduced to £35.00 until 3 January, 131 branches of Waitrose,

This cult distillery is situated at the foot of the Andes in the Terepaima National Park. Made from sugar-cane honey and blended from 80% pot still rum and 20% light rum, it is then aged for 12 years before bottling in its awesomely designed bottle. The vanilla spice and gossamer texture of this rum is staggering. Normally this slot is set aside for a single malt or a cognac or Armagnac, but this year it rightly had to go to the most memorable digestif I have tasted in 2016!

In addition, my port pick is a cosmic creation 2011 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port (£61.00, Waitrose Canary Wharf, Epic in every way and made from even more concentrated berries than usual, thanks to a very dry growing season, I gave this wine 19/20 in my notes and remarked that in spite of its youth, it is so downright sexy right now that I could not keep my hands off it!

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A thrilling white

2015 Lirac, Cuve de la Reine des Bois Blanc, Domaine de la Mordore, Southern Rhne, France (£23.50, reduced to £20.95 by the case, 020-7244 0522,

I always seem to turn to the white wines of the Southern Rhne at this time of year and while white Chteauneuf-du-Pape often catches my eye, this year a rare white Lirac is in pole position for my turkey and goose enjoyment. Exotic, full and lusty with a fair whack of sweet oak, nutmeg and cinnamon coupled with peachy, succulent fruit, this is undoubtedly a heavily upholstered wine.

Before it gets too boudoir-like on the palate though the acidity and structure lines up the finish and it goes off like a firework of sheer joy. Epic and sophisticated, you cannot look anywhere else for insanely carnal white-wine thrills this Christmas.


A magical bargain

2002 Chteau Guiraud, Sauternes, 1er Cru Class, Bordeaux, France (£54.95, reduced to £283.80 for six bottles, or £47.30 each, Berry Bros. & Rudd,, 0800-280 2440).

Berry's scores a second wine in this six-pack of heroic brews and this reflects the sterling work that has gone into its portfolio of late. At 14 years old, this wine is ready to go and it shows every ounce of glory and splendour that you would expect from an estate which often rivals the great Chteau d'Yquem. I have always been a Guiraud fan, with its showy, flamboyant fruit and overt exoticism.

Taking into account the price, this must be one of the least expensive, cosmically over-engineered wines in the world. You must taste this wine. It is magical in every way and you will be sure to succumb to its charms in an instant.


Top of my Tuscan pile

2009 Brunello di Montalcino, Lupi e Sirene Riserva, Podere Le Ripi, Tuscany, Italy (£72.00, reduced to £64.80 each as part of a mixed case, Jeroboams, 020-7730 8108).

Owned by Francesco Illy, of coffee fame, I know this estate well, and I am a massive fan of Francesco's wines. Made to exacting, biodynamic principles and farmed on precipitous slopes, this incredible Brunello has gone from nowhere to the top of my Tuscan pile in only 12 months.

Spending 48 months in oak with a further 12 months in tank this sultry, ready-to-drink, hypnotic 2009 is a magnificent creation. It will be followed by the rich, chocolatey 2010 in due course and both are exceptional, showing completely different sides to this regal style of wine. This estate is set to become one of Italy's most important pioneers and you heard about it here first.


Impeccably balanced

NV Berry Bros. & Rudd Champagne by Mailly, Champagne, France (£26.95, reduced to £145.50 for six bottles, or £24.25 each,, 0800-280 2440).

Made by the co-op in Mailly, this inexpensive Champagne is one of my favourite sparklers of the year at any price. This is a hefty statement, but if you go back to this wine multiple times, as I did, you will notice more and more complexity on every visit. Made from 100% Grand Cru grapes, this is an impeccably balanced wine and I cannot understand it when people insist on spending more on dreary, mass-market rubbish in gaudy gift boxes, when it's what's in the glass that counts.

Matthew Jukes

Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.  

Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.

He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website,

Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’.  He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner. 

Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy.  His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.