Six winning Christmas wines

From a 2004 Château Potensac at the peak of its powers to a top-flight Chablis exuding class and finesse, MoneyWeek’s wine columnist Matthew Jukes rounds up his favourite tipples for your table.

2004 Château Potensac, Médoc, Bordeaux, France

(£59.00, Magnum,bbr.comThere is no mystery here whatsoever as this is a well-known château and 2004 is a decent vintage. So why has it gained a place in this stellar line-up? The answer is that we are all so used to tasting young, vigorous wines that we sometimes forget just how beautiful mature wines can be. Potensac is owned by the Delon family and it shares a portfolio with none other than the mesmerising Saint-Julien Deuxième Cru, Léoville-Las Cases.There is pedigree here and at 16 years of age, this wine is at the peak of its powers. So £59 is the right price to pay for a fully mature, top-class claret and this is why it sits on this page. Oh, and £59 is for a magnum, not a bottle, so I am sure that you are already speed-dialling Berry’s before you have even finished reading this sentence. 

2007 Billecart-Salmon, Cuvée Nicolas François, Champagne, France

(£140, highburyvintners.co.uk; champagnedirect.co.ukBack in April, I reviewed 2007 Billecart Louis in my column and this phenomenal 100% Chardonnay cuvée pricked up my ears for the collection of 2007 releases from this elite House. A few weeks ago, 2007 Nicolas François was launched and it built on the grace and majesty of Louis by adding phenomenal depth, magical resonance and extraordinary promise. Made from 79% Grands Crus and 21% Premiers Crus, with 60% pinot noir coming from the Montagne de Reims and the Vallée de la Marne and 40% chardonnay coming from the Côte des Blancs, the dosage is six grams (of sugar) per litre and a perfectly judged 15% was vinified in oak barrels. I awarded this wine 19.5/20 in my notes, so it is as close to perfection as anything I have tasted.

1990 Bodegas Toro Albalá, Don PX, Pedro Ximénez Gran Reserva, Montilla-Moriles, Spain

(£19.95, half bottle, 55 branches and waitrosecellar.comI have no idea how a 30-year-old sweetie, which gains a mighty 19/20 score in my notes, can only tip the scales at 20 measly quid, but so be it. This ridiculously sweet, piratical, rum ‘n’ raisin-stuffed, prune and Armagnac tart-sozzled, treacle pudding-rammed, espresso bean-topped, figgy, nutty, elixir is the go-to drink with Christmas pud, mince pies, Christmas cake and every box of choccies ever made. It is so darned serious it is amazing and you only need a thimbleful to work its magic on your soul. Best of luck!

2018 First Flight Syrah, Graeme & Julie Bott, Northern Rhône, France

(£18.88, laywheeler.comI shortlisted a few heavyweight Hermitage, Cornas and Côte-Rôtie wines for this spot and all of them cost north of 50 quid. However, an epiphanic moment took place when Lay & Wheeler sent me this beautifully designed syrah made by Kiwis Graeme and Julie Bott. With vast experience in the region, they make Côte-Rôtie, Crozes, Saint-Joseph among others and 2018 is only their second vintage, but they are already ones to watch.  Their touch is exquisite, focusing on fruit purity, unquestionable accuracy and uncommon immediacy.  This young syrah is jaw-droppingly delicious and it has the perfume and texture of truly grand wine – so get in quick with this sensational discovery.

2018 Chablis, 1er Cru Vaillon Cuvée Guy Moreau, Domaine Christian Moreau Père & Fils, Burgundy, France

(£37.35, reduced to £33.20 each for a case of six, Haynes, Hanson & Clark 020-7584 7927 & hhandc.co.uk2018 white Burgundies are generally fleshy and forward by comparison with the upright 2017s and yet well-chosen Chablis has the benefit of both silky-smooth fruit and also keen, refreshing acidity.  Cuvée Guy Moreau is a top-flight wine and it exudes class and finesse. I have followed Moreau’s wines for an eternity and this is one of the most luxurious and layered releases I can remember. This is my chosen Christmas white from thousands of bottles tasted over the last few months and it wins this spot because it is a sheer work of art.

2013 Quinta do Noval, Late Bottled Vintage, Porto, Portugal

(£21.49, ocado.com; £22.45, amazon.co.uk; £21.87, cambridgewine.com; £24.95, masterofmalt.com; £24.95, whitmoreandwhite.co.uk; £22.95, corkandcask.co.uk; £19.79, thedrinkshop.comIf the famous port houses were ever classified in some Cru classé system like the Bordeaux châteaux, then Noval would be a “first growth”. While this late bottle vintage costs around twice the price of the more well-known named houses’ own versions, this is a very different style of offering. Taking nothing away from the other estates’ wines, Noval’s late bottle vintage possesses a true vintage stamp, with intricate detailing and fabulous tonal variation. It is a connoisseur’s port for those who are obsessed with the wines from this most dramatic of regions. With this in mind, £20 is a small price to pay for best in class.

Recommended

UK inflation is at a 30-year high and it hasn’t peaked yet
Inflation

UK inflation is at a 30-year high and it hasn’t peaked yet

UK inflation has hit 5.4% - its highest in 30 years. And it could be heading higher. John Stepek explains what it means for you and your money.
19 Jan 2022
Index fund
Funds

Index fund

Index funds (also known as passive funds or "trackers") aim to track the performance of a particular index, such as the FTSE 100 or S&P 500.
18 Jan 2022
Model Y: Tesla has nailed it once again
Cars

Model Y: Tesla has nailed it once again

The electric carmaker’s new SUV crossover, the Model Y, sets the benchmark in the sector.
18 Jan 2022
The UK jobs market is booming – but wages are struggling to keep up with prices
UK Economy

The UK jobs market is booming – but wages are struggling to keep up with prices

Britain’s jobs market is booming, with wages rising and plenty of of vacancies. But inflation is rising faster than wages can keep up. John Stepek loo…
18 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Five unexpected events that could shock the markets in 2022
Stockmarkets

Five unexpected events that could shock the markets in 2022

Forget Covid-19 – it’s the unexpected twists that will rattle markets in 2022, says Matthew Lynn. Here are five possibilities
31 Dec 2021
US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?
Inflation

US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?

US inflation is at 7% – the last time it was this high interest rates were at 14%. But instead of panicking, markets just shrugged. John Stepek explai…
13 Jan 2022
Tech stocks teeter as US Treasury bond yields rise
Tech stocks

Tech stocks teeter as US Treasury bond yields rise

The realisation that central banks are about to tighten their monetary policies caused a sell-off in the tech-heavy Nasdaq stock index and the biggest…
14 Jan 2022