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Christmas Cheers!

christmas wine

The festive time is upon us again and we look forwards to enjoying some extra time at home with our families and friends, maybe partaking in an extra glass or two over the break from work. We all need to enjoy this Christmas time, whatever our beliefs as an escape from the media doom and gloom that’s dominating our screens at present and also because we need that release and break from our routine as a focal point to the year.

The Chancellor has given us a small incentive to cheer up with a 2.5% reduction on the VAT rate, but unfortunately he has taken away the cheer with a 15p per bottle increase on wine duty, taking it up to £1.57 plus vat per bottle! Never mind, there are still bargains out there if you look closely. [Edit : Barrels & Bottles have not increased Duty ]

For drinking with friends and neighbors in gulping quantities, why not try a crisp Pinot Grigio from Villa Silvia in Veneto. Light and crisp with good fruit and a long finish, this dry white with a hint of Almonds is delicious at under £5 per bottle. There is a matching red in the Montepulciano grape which is also excellent for a lighter styled red wine. Pushing the boat out a little more takes us to Australia and the Waterston Bridge Tarrango, a hybrid grape variety developed in the 1970’s to give great fruit and alcohol yet a light colour and very ripe nose. This example is easy drinking for all the family and sells at just under £7.50 per bottle which won’t break the bank.

Christmas day itself is another matter. You have time to prepare a nice bottle or two for the family to enjoy so why not start with a chilled glass of Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne, simply the best non vintage Champagne on the market and currently selling in the mid £20s as opposed to the normal £38.95 per bottle. For a delicious red wine I recommend Chateau de Pez 1999 St Estephe, Cru Bourgeois, a high level red wine from Bordeaux with a good level of maturity but still youthful. Open the wine 4 to 6 hours before drinking to get the absolute best from it! Finish off with a glass of Vintage Port before retiring for the Queen’s Speech or a sleep.

We are currently offering vintages such as 1977, 1985, 1999 from houses such as Warre’s, Croft, Adriano Ramos Pinto and Niepoort and prices have sneaked down a little from last year’s high.

Whatever you choose for Christmas, make sure you get good advice on your wines before you buy. We have 4 fully qualified wine experts in store to help with in store or on- line purchases. A good wine advisor will offer you the best value wines in the price range you are looking for so don’t be afraid to ask questions before you purchase. Enjoy your wine drinking over the festive period and try something different whenever possible. Promise yourself a glass of Sauternes with your Christmas Pud, or just try a grape variety that you have never heard of like the Tarrango, you never know what you might discover!

An article by Andrew Coghlan for Business First

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