An Occasional Tipple: Festive wine

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“Close your eyes and open your mouth to see what Santa brings you”. I follow the instructions whereupon my beloved wife, the illustrious Madame G., pours the tiniest sip of wine on to my tongue and I am challenged to name that grape. It’s the ultimate festive drinking game! No time for games today, tipplers, too much wine to get through so it’s strictly (come on, Pasha!) down to business.

What to drink with your turkey? A soft, fruity and delicate red is the correct answer. My suggestion is the voluptuous, enticing and youthful 2012 Morellino di Scansano (£8.99, Lidl).

A deep, dark cherry nose with hints of violets leads to a supple plummy palate in this easy-drinking Italian red.

Alternatively, the fragrant, subtly spiced and very savoury 2013 Zebra View Malbec (£8, M&S) is sure to enliven your turkey with seasonal hints of nutmeg and clove perceptible alongside more pronounced blackcurrant and plum flavours.

If you prefer whites to reds, you’ll need something full-bodied and fruity with some oak. One possibility is the elegant, complex and delightfully dry 2013 Montagny Premier Cru (£10.99, Lidl) where citrus, mineral and butterscotch flavours mingle pleasingly on its rich, creamy palate.

Nowadays, many prefer roast beef or steaks to turkey, and the smooth, mellow and herbaceous 2012 Chateau Marjosse (£8.99, Lidl) which is full of black cherries, blackcurrants and plum flavours alongside strands of vanilla, thyme and soft tannins will be an ideal match.

We all need bubbles for our New Year parties and two superb bottles which won’t break the bank are available from The Wine Society (visit www.thewinesociety.com or telephone 01438-741177).

From New Zealand, the fresh, fragrant and ferociously crisp Miru Miru Hunter’s Marlborough Brut (£14.95) is a blend of traditional champagne grapes, given an exotic twist with hints of brioche and cashew nuts alongside generous orchard and citrus fruit flavours. As a slightly cheaper alternative the refined, bone-dry and zesty Blanquette de Limoux (£9.95) is full of apple, herb and nut flavours and is another certain crowdpleaser.

Upon which sentiment, I must leave you with my own seasonal wishes for a tip-top, tippling and, above all, peaceful Christmas.

Till next week, tipplers, sante!