“It’s Christmas!” to quote rock legend Noddy Holder. I thought I should remind you too, just in case you have missed the incessant advertising which started in early September.
Next week Tipping’s Tipples will feature my now traditional 12 wines of Christmas round-up but I am starting things off now, with three wines that would be great for the big day itself.
Champers is a great way to kick off the Christmas celebrations. You could pick a bottle of cheap bubbles and add orange juice to make Bucks Fizz but I prefer my wines unadulterated. Champagne Jacquart Mosaique nv is one of the best I’ve tasted at under £20.
A blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, it is sourced from areas including Grands Crus sites in the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. It has a fine stream of persistent bubbles, with flavours of citrus and green apple, a toasty, nutty complexity and notes of brioche too. Drink as an aperitif or serve it with smoked salmon.
With turkey, chipolata sausage, cranberry sauce and rich gravy, opt for a silky textured pinot noir. Currently on offer at Waitrose is a great example from the Martinborough region of New Zealand, Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir 2011.
Smooth and velvety in the mouth, it is nicely balanced, with rich, lingering, flavours of cherry, rosehip, plum and cinnamon and a fresh backbone of acidity that will slice through everything on your plate.
Finish off your meal with a sweet wine. Brilliant with blue cheeses and all manner of desserts, as well as being a pudding in its own right, Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora 2011 is also reasonably priced.
This Aussie sticky has pronounced, intensely sweet flavours of orange marmalade, honey and apricot, which are counterbalanced by a zesty citrus acidity.
• Champagne Jacquart Mosaique nv, £18 at Majestic 17/20
• Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir 2011, Martinborough, £10.49 down from £13.99 at Waitrose 18/20
• Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora 2011, £7.49 at Waitrose 17/20