Posted on 13.12.20 #189

My festive picks for the BBC’s Bill Buckley

Christmas is almost upon us, so here’s my festive selection for my regular wine hour with Bill Buckley at BBC Radio Berkshire.

Celebrations are going to feel rather different this year, but a nice bottle of Champagne will at least get things off to a flying start. My first choice is Waitrose Vintage 2008 Champagne (Waitrose stores and online, at a promotional price of £22.99 until early January), which won a coveted gold medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition, beating many much more expensive ‘Grand Marque’ Champagnes. I was a judge for this category, so I vividly remember tasting this ‘blind’ and then being astonished to find out, a few weeks, later that it was a supermarket own brand. Well done Waitrose for sourcing this classy cuvée!

I’m often asked whether it’s better to go white or red with the Christmas turkey and my answer is that either is fine. It’s what you fancy. My choice for a festive white comes from California, or more precisely, the Monterey Valley. Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay 2018 (£16.99 at – correct, there’s no co – and they have click and collect from their Berkshire store) which offers lovely bright tropical fruit and well-integrated toasty oak.

My choice of red is one of the most exciting wines I have tasted this year and it will work really well with an indulgent festive roast. Chemin de Moscou 2017 (£19.99 at Majestic on a Mix Six promotion – that’s six of any wines) comes from Domaine Gayda, in the Pays D’Oc and it’s an enticing and silky blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a Christmas feast without a sweet wine to round things off. They can be hard to find and often pricey, but Lidl has come up trumps in its latest ‘Wine Tour’ promotion with this little (Lidl?) stunner: Beerenauslese Rheinhessen Bechtheimer Pilgerpfad 2018 (£6.99 at Lidl) is a joyous combination of bright citrus and tropical fruit, beautifully balanced by a fine thread of acidity. It’s a real find.

Happy Christmas!

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