Champagne, wine and a creamy cocktail for the best year yet!

You’d like to think that most readers would skip past the wine column today, wouldn’t you?

Saturday, 1st January 2022, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 9:01 am

After all, surely by now all reasonable people will have had their fill of good living. And yet we’d be fooling ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge that there are still a few hardy souls out there for whom nothing will never be enough.

Indeed, it is to such brave heroes that I am indebted today for keeping me in gainful employment and lending some purpose to my humble scribblings.

Let’s justify our hedonism to ourselves, tipplers. New Year’s Day needs to be celebrated, doesn’t it? And it’s Saturday too! Tomorrow is still the weekend and on Monday we have the New Year Bank Holiday. So there’s really no point in cleaning up our acts, embarking on our New Year’s resolutions and embracing sobriety until Tuesday at the very earliest, is there? Do we all feel better about ourselves now? Right, let’s crack open the champers and get 2022 off with a bang!

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At our lovely home, Rose Cottage, my beloved wife, the enigmatic Madame G, and I have set aside a bottle of the ferociously crisp, satisfyingly savoury and richly aromatic Comte de Senneval Champagne (£12.99, Lidl) to toast what seems certain to be the best year yet. Huzzah! Fresh, fragrant, fabulously fruity and impressively bubbly, this delightfully dry champagne is packed with intoxicating citrus and green apple flavours which are expertly complemented by beguiling backnotes suggestive of lemony biscuits. A perfect aperitif.

Whatever this year brings, dear friends, we will still need to eat. And if we’re eating red meat (sparingly, please), we’ll need a decent red wine. Today’s second recommendation, therefore, is the well-rounded, superbly balanced and intensely fruity 2020 Chateau Gillet (£8, M&S) which does a most convincing impression of an exceptionally fine claret at just a fraction of the price.

Dark fruit aromas alongside subtle spicing dominate a complex palate before a judiciously oaked, lingering finish – it will be an ideal match to roast beef or lamb.

Alternatively, if you’re eking out the last dregs of fun from the feast with fish, poultry or veggie fare, you’ll more likely want something white. Today’s final selection, the gently honeyed, fresh and fruity 2020 Viognier Pays d’Oc (£9, M&S) is an easy-drinking uncomplicated yet sumptuous French affair. A vibrantly aromatic bouquet leads to a lively, just off-dry palate that is full of citrus, apricot and melon flavours before a rich, buttery finish.

That’s enough fun and games for one week, folks. Time to hit the hay. With a hot chocolate to round off the festive season and to encourage some much-needed sleep. Throw in a generous measure of Bailey’s Irish Cream for added luxury. A dollop of fresh cream on top. Maybe a few marshmallows and a sprinkling of chocolate flakes. That should just about do. Almost a cocktail, innit?

Tuesday, or maybe even Wednesday/Thursday, some of those days should be time enough to take stock and commence our resolutions. Won’t it? Till next week, tipplers, sante!

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