Before turning to the serious subject of Christmas wine stickies, let me regale you with a couple of festive treats too distinctive to miss. The first is technically a cider, no ordinary cider of course, but a tarte tatin confection oozing liquid toffee apple and crunchy on the finish. Stand up the 2014 Neige Ice Cider, £19.99, half-bottle, Lidl. Second comes the Pedrino Alcoholic Tonic, £1.90, Waitrose, a marmaladey sweet yet bitters-tasting quinine and tonic drink made from Montilla’s pedro ximénez grape.
Science tells us that wine in magnums is superior to a 75 cl bottle, but you don’t need rocket science to see how impressive a magnum can be at Christmas. So what better way to get the festive juices flowing than with a magnum of the 2010 Chéreau-Carré Cuvée des Ceps Centenaires, Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, £22, The Wine Society, a lipsmacking bone dry white with an appley tang that beats many a Chablis.
When our judging panel was asked to select champagne, prosecco and muscat based on value for last month’s Which? tasting of Christmas fizz, we came up with some shocks but no real surprises. It was neither Veuve Clicquot nor Moët et Chandon that covered themselves with glory but the toasty-rich, nuttily dry Les Pionniers Champagne, £16.99, The Co-operative, and the outstandingly creamy and savoury Waitrose Blanc de Blancs Brut, £24.99, down to £19.99 from Wednesday, while Tesco’s finest* Premier Cru Brut, £18, also impressed.