Wines: a golden Christmas
Raise a toast this Christmas with one of these Gold Star winners at this year's National Off-Licence Association Awards 2015-2016 to match with the festivities. All are available at many independent off-licences nationwide, see all winners at noffla.ie.
1) Chenin Pinot Grigio 2014, Meerstein, Western Cape, South Africa 12pc - Winner: Under €10 New World White
Invigorating and delicious flavours of quince and tangy lemon and lime. Ideal party wine or with a chicken curry and squash.
€9.99 at O'Donovan's, Cork citywide; Florrie's, Tramore; Cappagh Stores, Galway and Foley's, Sligo. In Dublin: The Goose and McGrath's, Drumcondra; Cheers Coach House, Ballinteer and Gibney's, Malahide.
2) Lab 2014, Lisboa, Portugal 13pc - Winner: Under €10 Old World Red
Simple black berry palate with a hint of spice from oak ageing. Happy to go solo as a party wine with cocktail sausages and spicy chicken wings.
€9.99 widely available nationwide
3) Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut, France 12pc - Winner: Under €60 Champagne
Nostalgic aromas of Marietta biscuits dunked in tea and mirrored on the palate, lifted by lemony acidity. Christen a Christmas brunch with croissants stuffed with smoked salmon, asparagus and scrambled eggs.
€52.99 at O'Brien's nationwide; O'Donovan's Off-licences Cork citywide and Ardkeen Stores, Waterford
4) In Vino Erotico Blanc 2014, Coteaux du Libron, France 13.5pc - Winner: Under €15 Old World White
A delicious depth of flavours of peach skins. Fuller bodied to match roast turkey or pork with a stuffing of diced dried apricots, onion and sage. €14.99 widely available nationwide
5) Merlot 2013, Classic Series, Montes, Colchagua Valley, Chile 13.5pc - Winner: Under €15 New World Red
Quintessential Chilean Merlot with vibrant fleshy and spiced plum palate. Happy with spiced beef or venison.
€14.99 at The Old Stand and Miller & Cook, Mullingar; Egan's, Portlaoise and Bradley's, Cork. In Dublin: Londis, Malahide; McHugh's; Hole in the Wall; Sweeney's and Fresh
6) Rosado 2014, Gran Feudo, Navarra, Spain 13pc - Winner: Under €15 Rosés
Strawberry bubblegum scents. Chalky dry with fresh flavours. Perfect for St Stephen's Day grazing on cold meats or turkey and ham sandwiches.
€11.99 at Daly's, Boyle; Brosnan's, Scull and Joyce's Supermarket, Galway. In Dublin: Martin's; Mc Hugh's and The Vintry
7) La Marca Prosecco Spumante 11pc - Winner: Under €25 Sparkling Wine
Pretty and feminine fizz with classic white blossom, pear and white peach palate lifted by the spume of bubbles. Invite to a party or a supper revival.
€24.99 at The Vintry; Martin's; Fresh Stores, Dublin; Deveney's, Dundrum; Baggot St Wines; Holland's, Bray; O'Donovan's, Cork and independent off-licences nationwide
Value buy: Raspberry & Rosehip, SynerChi Live Kombucha
Made in Donegal, this is a reviving and restorative organic health drink of micro-brewed teas and tisanes.
€2.49 at select SuperValu; Spar; Applegreen; Avoca shops and health food stores. synerchikombucha.com