Six wines for the Christmas table

A round-up of the best tipples for the season by MoneyWeek wine columnist Matthew Jukes.

The best sweetie

2015 Donnafugata, Ben Ry, Passito di Pantelleria, Sicily (£76.70 and half bottle £41.10,; £39.99, half bottle,,; £39.95, half bottle,

My sweetie this year is this phenomenal Passito and it is, without doubt, the "Sicily's d'Yquem", for want of a better expression. I gave this awesome vintage a handsome 19.5/20 score in my tasting notes because the mandarin peel and wild honey palate is like nothing you will ever have experienced before. The ultimate festive sweet wine with enough oomphto tackle all desserts, including Christmas pudding and mince pies, this is a legendary creation.

An epic Chablis

2016 Chablis, Grand Cru Valmur, Domaine Jean-Paul et Benot Droin, Burgundy, France(£49.80, Domaine Direct, 020-7404 9933,

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The eagle-eyed among you will instantly spot that this is a Grand Cru wine, from an epic vintage, made by the great Droin family. For some reason, it squeaks in at under50 quid. This is not a typo. Droin is the purveyor of insanely accurate and thoroughly delicious Chablis. 2016 Valmur is tiptop quality andI have been buying this estate's wines from Domaine Direct for nearly 30 years.You must buy a case (which can be mixed) from this elite Burgundy specialist, to take advantage of this loony price. This wine will repay your senses like no other.

The best bubbly

2012 Le Mesnil, Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru, Champagne, France

(£34.99, Waitrose).

We all get a little silly about Champagne come Christmas and the New Year and so I have cut to the chase and selected one fizz only for all purposes, which nails epic flavour, serious class, beautiful restraint and also a knockout price all in one go. This may sound a virtually impossible task, and yet this Grand Cru chardonnay manages it without missing a beat. Do not overlook the exquisite flavours in this insanely competitively priced wine. I know bottles with a 1' in front of this price that look dreary by comparison.

A daring red

2015 Gigondas, Domaine du Grapillon d'Or, Southern Rhne, France

(£19.99, Waitrose).

I have avoided both Bordeaux and Burgundy with my red wine selections this year, preferring to splash out on white wines and save a few pounds on the reds. Intense, broodingand everso slightly scary, this Gigglejuice is a daring red for those of you who like to live on the edge. Decant it and drink it with wintry dishes or cheese.

A white with depth

2014 The Society's Exhibition Hermitage Blanc, Northern Rhne, France

(£36, The Wine Society, 01438-741177,

Made by the legendary Chave estate in Hermitage, whose wines I rate as highly as any white Burgundy producer thanks to its staggering lan and dramatic depth of fruit, this own label Wine Society effort nigh on knocked me off my feet when I tasted it and I needed to ask the scorers if the price was right, given it is definitely one of the wines of the year! Drinking beautifully, and a match for any top-notch turkey or goose, this is the sophisticated white choice for your Christmas feastthis year.

A rugged Tuscan

2015 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Dei, Tuscany, Italy

(£23.95, reduced to £21.75 by the case, Lea & Sandeman,020-7244 0522,

My second mighty red has a degree of flair and gentility beneath its windswept, rugged, Tuscan exterior. Dei is a favourite producer of mine and I love the shape and size of their wines.This offering is along the same lines as a lusty Saint-Julien, but with a wildness and dash that few clarets can muster. This is a wine that will bring out the bounder in you while romancing your senses and impressing your guests.

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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.