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Christmas treats

Here are some suggestions which, if they’re too late to go on your shop shelves, could add a bit of zing to your own Christmas table

Wine writers are always warned about simply writing shopping lists but, to be honest, with a huge amount of tastings having happened this season and with Christmas coming, it’s hard not to succumb to the urge to share the names of good value wines recently tasted. Prices roughly retail.

Whites

Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2007 (Barry & Fitzwilliam €20). I’m not really a sauvignon blanc fan but I did enjoy this. With lovely, balanced, natural acidity, it’s got well-defined gooseberry and apple fruit and decent length. Good with all fish starters, especially cold salmon.

Domaine Alain Roy Montagny 1er Cru 2008
(Mitchells €19.95). Keenly priced Burgundy, crisp and balanced. For starters and cold buffets.

Wither Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2007
(Comans €15). Classy New Zealander, just beginning to show a bit of evolution. Nicely weighty citrus fruits; good value.

Domaine Sipp Mack Pinot Blanc 2007
(Mitchells €13.95). A light nose leads to a punchier palate with firm citrus and yellow fruits. Quite lengthy and would work with turkey and trimmings for those that don’t fancy red.

St Clair Marlborough Riesling 2008 (Findlater €13). Easy and refreshing with tasty lemon and lime cordial notes. An aperitif which can go to the table to accompany starters.

Reds

Chateau Magnol Haut Medoc 2006 (Gilbey €16 approx). This wine originally carried a retail price of around €22 but I’ve noticed some deals around, so if you’re buying you should negotiate. It’s decent Bordeaux and good value, especially at those recent keener prices, with warm blackcurrant and plum fruit. Perfect for turkey and game.

Southern Right Pinotage 2007 (Febvre €21). More than €20 for a pinotage? If you’re thinking no thanks, then think again. From the Hamilton Russell stable, it is very refined stuff with good acid balance, clean fruit and no rubbery notes. Yet it’s characterful, with fresh berry fruit; a good match for turkey and has a touch of that sweet fruit that goes very well with ham.

Museum Real Reserva 2003 (Mackenway €17). A Spaniard that’s been talked about this year and which won a NOffLA gold star; traditional, aged style with soft spices and velvety red fruit. For turkey or game.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2007 (Barry & Fitzwilliam €19). Harmonious stuff from New Zealand, with classic summer fruits and crunchy berry flavours. Good with turkey and ham but keep it for Stephen’s Day and you’ll find it perfect for the cold buffet.

Domaine Cristia Cotes du Ventoux 2007/Grenache 2007 (Superquinn €8 to €11).These are exclusive to SQ at present so they’re here as a good bargain for your own table! Very tasty with classy labels that give the wines a more expensive look

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