A round-up of the best tipples for the season by MoneyWeek wine columnist Matthew Jukes.
The best sweetie
2015 Donnafugata, Ben Ryé, Passito di Pantelleria, Sicily
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 oomph
to 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 Benoît Droin, Burgundy, France
(£49.80, Domaine Direct, 020-7404 9933, DomaineDirect.co.uk).
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 under
50 quid. This is not a typo. Droin is the purveyor of insanely accurate and thoroughly delicious Chablis. 2016 Valmur is tiptop quality and
I 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
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 Rhône, France
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, brooding
so 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 Rhône, France
(£36, The Wine Society, 01438-741177, TheWineSociety.com).
Made by the legendary Chave estate in Hermitage, whose wines I rate as highly as any white Burgundy producer thanks to its staggering élan 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 feast
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, LeaAndSandeman.co.uk).
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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