Festive Riches

POSTED ON 19/12/2015

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.

Returning to sweet and sticky vinosity, Pillitteri Vidal Icewine, £14.99, half-bottle, Lidl, is Canadian ambrosia made from vidal grapes, frozen on the vine, producing a mouthwatering crystallised peach and pineappley nectar. I also love the lusciously rich, lime marmalade tang of the Cape sweetie, 2014 Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest Riesling, £14.99, half-bottle, Marks & Spencer. My surprise treat is Surrey’s 2014 Denbies Noble Harvest Botrytis Dessert Wine, £19.99, half-bottle, Waitrose, an outstanding homegrown sticky made from the ortega grape boasting wonderfully pristine flavours of ripe peach and intense honeyed richness.

After the Christmas meal, it’s port o’clock and there’s an unenviable number of fine examples to go with the Stilton, the Cashel, the Crozier or Beenleigh Blue. At 20 years old, Taylor's 1995 Quinta de Terra Feita, £25, Marks & Spencer, is amazing value rich , spiced Christmas cake port, and Maynard's 40 Year Old Tawny Port, £29.99, Aldi, a stonking buy, not just for its own box, but the voluptuous liquid toffee fudge, raisins and walnuttty finish.

De Bortoli’s rich Show Liqueur Muscat, £14, Tesco, is a molasses and marmalade-rich, nutty alternative, the spicily fragrant nut toffeei’sh Santa Cristina Vin Santo, £9.58, half-bottle, Waitrose, down from £11.99, and the 1996 Rivesaltes Vin Doux Naturel, £13.50, The Wine Society, more rich and nutty confections. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without an unctuous pedro ximénez and both the viscously rich Morrisons Signature Pedro Ximénez NV, £6, and, even prunier, more raisined and liquorice spicy Barbadillo Pedro Ximénez £10.99 - £11.99, Adnams, slurp.co.uk, Harrogate Fine Wine, should be poured over vanilla ice cream to be enjoyed at their hedonistic best.

Something for the Weekend 19 December 2015

Night In

2014 Paul Mas Clairette du Languedoc

A newcomer from the innovative Jean-Claude Mas, this is a bright, fresh dry white showing apple and pear scents and a mouthwatering fresh pear quality that works well as mouthwatering aperitif or with pasta and white fish. £8, Morrisons.

Dinner Party

2013 The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Premier Cru Chablis

For once the hype is true in this Premier Cru with its fine, intense aromatic power, while there’s a purity and creamy richness about the chardonnay fruit and an appetisingly mineral bone dry finish. £14.99, The Co-operative.

Splash out

2009 Château Laroque, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux

A magnificent, youthful Right Bank claret from a great Bordeaux vintage, with a sweetly ripe red fruits and cedary fragrance and opulently rich, intense cassis imbued with a vanilla oak for style and succulence. £22.99, down from £28.99, Waitrose.

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