Gilbey’s does Christmas

Helen Coburn examines what Gilbey's has to offer this Christmas in gift boxes and special bottles for the big festive feast

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.

For full details of prices and stockists, email julia.kennedy@diagio.com.

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