Everyone in the drinks trade is focused on Christmas right now, with hopes that it will give sales a decent lift to round out a difficult year. The recent Gilbey’s wine tasting showed a range of offerings which could be used for seasonal floor displays as well as encouraging gift purchases of more than one bottle.
From Faustino, there is a six-bottle Rioja selection in a wooden box for €89.95, with a two-bottle set of Faustino V for €35. There are also several Thomas Barton Bordeaux selections and a red and white gift pack of Santa Rita at €22.
Gilbey’s also had the excellent idea of having a special Christmas treats table, with suggestions for single bottle gifts as well as some decent Christmas dinner wines. Domaine Drouhin Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2007 was nicely weighty and at €32.
It was, I thought, better value than the Drouhin Arthur Chardonnnay on offer for €45.99, and not just because the price was less.
Trimbach Alsace Gewurztraminer 2006 (€18.49) was the perfect choice for an after dinner chunk of Roquefort cheese.
Chateau Magnol 2006 (€22.99) was classy, evenly paced stuff, with a touch of ripe Christmassy fruit beneath smooth blackcurrant, and it had the definite feeling of a treat.
Of course, pricing will be vital this Christmas and not every customer will want wines at over €12 to €15, even for a treat. This is when over-delivery on price point will really help. Terra Andina Carmènére 2006 (€9.95) does just that; it’s as good as some carmènéres at twice the price. There’s some real varietal character on the nose and palate, so don’t give it to anyone who’s a bit iffy about carmènére, but enthusiasts will love it.
Terra Andina Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (€9.49) is good value too, and the two wines would make a decent gift for the money.
Le Petit Jaboulet Syrah Portes de la Mediterrannee 2007 (€11.99) is an easy-going southern French offering, which allows you to get a prestigious name on the label at a reasonable price.
Chateau Plain Point Fronsac 2001 (€12.49) is beginning to dry out a little at the end but it gets a very appealing classic Bordeaux to the table at a keen price. It should be drunk now.
For those that are happy with softish structure, Cusumano Nero d’Avola 2008 (€11.99) is a fruity Sicilian with just a touch of savouriness to the finish; a very good wine for roasts and game.
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