2000 Lustau, Vintage Sherry, Jerez, Spain (£20, 50cl bottle, Marks & Spencer)
After 19 years in barrel, and not subjected to any form of solera system or blending, this wine is bottled, unfiltered and unfined, with 185g/L residual sugar and it is absolutely stunning. I wrote “heroic”, “awesome” and “staggering class” in my notes when I tasted this beauty, and I cannot recommend it enough. If you are remotely serious about sherry this is sure to be one of your greatest experiences this Christmas.
2003 Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr, Riesling Spätlese, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Mosel, Germany (£24.95, Yapp Brothers, 01747-860423, Yapp.co.uk).
This is another unmissable treat. Fourteen years old, liquid heaven and no trace of maturity in the glass, just absolute poise and perfection. With elegant grapiness balanced by crystalline acidity, this is officially a “sweet” wine, but I would drink it as a devastating aperitif. You will floor your guests with your unparalleled generosity and élan. Von Kesselstatt is an iconic estate and this is one of their many effortlessly classy rieslings.
2014 Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Sous Eguisons, Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard, Burgundy, France (£25, Berry Bros. & Rudd, 0800-280 2440, BBR.com).
Made from a parcel of vines situated under a cliff, “sous éguisons”, in St-Aubin, this wine sums up winemaker Caroline Lestimé’s consummate skill and thrilling touch, and it is half the price of her beloved Chassagne-Montrachets! The other vital point is that it is from the wondrous 2014 vintage, underpinned by lip-smacking acidity, unlike the leaden-footed 2015s which are being pushed hard in the market and which you ought to avoid!
2015 Stile di Campriano, Tuscany, Italy (£18.20, reduced to £16.15 each by the case, Haynes, Hanson & Clark, 020-7584 7927, HHAndC.co.uk).
My “lighter” red looks like it might be a Super-Tuscan given its name, and in a way it is, but in fact it is simply a renamed Chianti Riserva. Winemaker Rannucio Neri decided that it should wear the IGT Toscana badge in order to give him more freedom from the regulators’ often constricting wine rules. Made from 100% sangiovese, this is a glorious and silky Tuscan red which belies its lowly price. I raise my glass to Neri because one sip was all that was needed for me to fall for this mesmerising wine.
One of my 100 Best Australian Wines of 2017/18, there is nothing like this flavour on the planet. Rutherglen is a historic town and wine region in north-eastern Victoria and the liqueur Muscats and Topaques made here are legendary. Pfeiffer’s wine has spent four years in barrels picking up its amber hue and caramel and rose-petal flavour. Like the perfumed crunchy top of a crème brûlée in vinous form, this is the wine for mince pies and Christmas pud and it is a total and utter bargain. Do not miss out on this phenomenal wine.
My pick for the festive season
2012 Quinta da Romaneira, Reserva, Douro, Portugal (£41.95, reduced to £37.95 each by the case, Lea & Sandeman, 020-7244 0522, LeaAndSandeman.co.uk).
Crash, bang, wallop, this is my mighty red for the festive season – and it is a barnstormer. Drinking beautifully, with stunning depth of fruit, the Douro is coming of age as a great red wine region and this is one of the finest wines ever made in the valley. It will tower over you as you sink your teeth into its flanks, such is the majesty and unfettered wildness in this leviathan of a wine.