Top 10 wines for Christmas
As Christmas fast approaches, wine expert, presenter, and IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year Joe Fattorini lists his top ten wines to get your hands on over the festive period.
Summer, winter, whenever. This is my favourite party red, bar none. Pop it in the fridge briefly for a refreshing wine that drinks beautifully on its own, or with lighter bites. I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't fall for its charms.
Where to buy: Wine Direct, £8.25
One of my favourite wines of 2017. The darker, mocha and sun-ripened berry aromas are balanced by a refreshing lift. There's a brightness, an energy to the wine, and it makes it sing. It's Merlot with style and personality.
Where to buy: Empire Wine, $15.95
Fresh, aromatic and vivacious. This has the sort of lift and fruit that complements the best Christmas table. The mid-weight, ripe fruit is something you'll find everyone enjoys, but classic, French restraint means this wine doesn't demand to be the star.
Where to buy: Millesima, £14.17
If you're having salmon or a seafood starter, this is a lovely choice. Ripe citrus and stone fruit and a touch of Italian spice and bite. It's a grown ups' sauvignon blanc, with Italian style.
Where to buy: Wine Searcher, £14.27
Want to keep everyone round the table happy AND interested? Furmint is the answer. It balances the weight of chardonnay with the aromatic lift of sauvignon. There's floral intrigue in there too. This from the superstars at Puklavec is a richly textured treat.
Where to buy: Wood Winters, £16
There are wonderful Champagnes at Christmas, but give some room to the world's other great fizzes. This is one of my favourites from Trentodoc. It's less well-known than some regions, but a complex, citrus and toasty treat.
Where to buy: Tannico, £19.16
Rather than spending a fortune on Bordeaux, see what glories the South Africans are doing with Bordeaux blends. Four years old, this has gentle, soft, complex berry notes melding with spice and hints of leather and wood. Utterly delicious.
Where to buy: The Wine Society, £23
I'll be drinking this, as visiting the winery was a highlight of my year. They're specialists in fermenting in cement. That gives the wine a gorgeous, tactile mouthfeel and lots of fragrant red-fruit perfume. It also has a complex earthiness to match Christmas classics.
Where to buy: Red Squirrel Wine, £44
It's worth having a few versatile, good-value reds in over Christmas like this, with ripe, rich fruit but soft tannins and a juicy, malleable texture. Sicily is the Christmas wine lover's friend, especially with their gently spiced local varieties.
Where to buy: Exel Wines, £48.80
You deserve a treat – and this is a treat. Still youthful and energetic, it also has the complexity and integration of age. Share with one other person only. And take time to enjoy the fruit, the toast, the froth of the fizz. This is extraordinary wine. Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy it.
- “When we win those trophies, people around the world listen. They are serious awards. The opportunity to sell more expensive wines with more personality in independents and the on-trade has never been greater.”Neil McGuiganCEO, Australian Vintage, 2015 IWSC President
- “It’s a great honour to win especially as nowadays people are focusing on the quality not just the numbers, so it does mean a huge amount getting recognition from an institution as well sought after as the IWSC.”Chris BlandyOwner, Blandy's Wines
- “This will be a recognition that will help in building the brand further, and building its prestige around the world.”Victor FuentesDirector General, El Coto de Rioja S.A
- “The IWSC is a well renowned, well looked up to standard and a symbol of premium products so it’s a great achievement to win any award.”Andrea FreeboroughCellar Master, Nederburg Wines
- “The competition and the way it’s judged is outstanding. The wines go through the ringer so if you win any medal you should be very happy. The banquet night is something that all wine makers from around the world want to attend, so to come here is fantastic!”Neil McGuiganCEO, Australian Vintage, 2015 IWSC President