Monday 27 January 2020

Christmas Corkers: 100 wines for the festive season

Whether you're looking for something that sparkles, an accompaniment to dinner or the perfect gift, Corinna Hardgrave has a bottle for every occasion

Wine buff: Corinna Hardgrave. Photo by Steve Humphreys Makeup by John Bowes for Brown Sugar. Blazer, €120, trousers, €75, both Marks and Spencer; top, €47, River Island
Wine buff: Corinna Hardgrave. Photo by Steve Humphreys Makeup by John Bowes for Brown Sugar. Blazer, €120, trousers, €75, both Marks and Spencer; top, €47, River Island
Oroperla Rosé Sparkling Wine
Jaume Serra Cava Brut
Mito Frizzante
Louis d'Or Brut Champagne NV
Lombard Brut Nature Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs
Taittinger Brut
Champagne Delacourt Vintage Brut
M&S Cava Brut
Jansz Tasmania Premium Cuvée NV
Herbert Beaufort Champagne
Krug Grand Cuvée
Tuffeau 2017 Blancs de Blancs Brut Nature
Recaredo 'Terrers' Brut Gran Reserva 2012
Maria Casanovas Pinot Noir Rosado
Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque 2008
Veuve Monsigny, Brut Grande Réserve, Champagne NV
Llopart Original 1887 Brut Nature Gran Reserva
Tesco Finest Picpoul de Pinet
Meyer-Fonné, Crémant d'Alsace, Extra Brut
Bellavista Franciacorta 'Alma' Gran Cuvée NV
Martivey Champagne Brut
Granzamy Brut
Tuffeau 2017 Blancs de Blancs Brut Nature
Pianeta Organico, Organic Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2018
Aldi Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling
Belrose Rosé 2018
M&S Loire Muscadet 2018
Júlia Florista Branco 2018
Couveys Chardonnay 2018
De Alberto Organic Verdejo 2018
Cazas Novas Vinho Verde 2018
Tbilvino Qvevris 2015
Fraga do Corvo Godello Sobre Lias 2018
Mandrarossa Grillo Costadune 2018
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV
Tesco Finest Pouilly-Fumé 2018
Baglio Bianco Catarratto 2018
Rijckaert Arbois Chardonnay 2016
Domaine des Baumard Savennières 'Clos de St Yves' 2016
L'Ecu Muscadet Sevre et Maine 'Orthogneiss' 2018
Bodegas Cota 45 UBE Miraflores 2018
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Chanson Chassagne Montrachet 2016
Bodegas Albamar Arrobas 69 2017
Domaine André et Mireille Tissot Arbois Savagnin 2015
Domaine Christophe Chablis 1er Cru 'Mont de Milieu' 2016
Sandhi, Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay 2016
R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rosado 2009
Vidonia 2018
Five Farms Single Batch Irish Cream Liqueur
Lustau Manzanilla 'Papirusa'
Palo Cortado
Offley LBV Port
Chateau Dereszla, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos

Christmas wine is not just for the big day, it makes sense to plan ahead and have a few bottles to cover all occasions, from casual whites and reds for informal occasions, to family favourites on Christmas Day, and a few more unusual options which are lovely to enjoy on the quieter days after Christmas. As well as red and white wine, I've included rosés, and some more unusual and low-intervention and skin-contact orange wines. There are also some delicious dessert wines as well as a selection of spirits.

As you'd expect, there's a bumper line-up of sparkling wine, and it's not all Champagne. There are so many different styles of bubbly, you could have a different one for each of the 12 days of Christmas.

Most of the larger independent off licences sell online, generally with free delivery over a certain sum, so it's well worth being a little adventurous and going for something different as well as your favourites. It's worth checking out some of the smaller online wine companies including, and, a new Irish company which exclusively stocks organic and low intervention wines.

So here's to stocking up with something really interesting this Christmas. Sláinte.

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Sparkling wines

One to gift: Oroperla Rosé Sparkling Wine

€14.99, 12pc, from Aldi

Oroperla Rosé Sparkling Wine

Great to serve as an aperitif, with starters like smoked salmon, or just to enjoy on its own, this sparkling rosé has a delicious stream of bubbles with red fruit and wild strawberry flavours. Comes in a gift box.


Under €15

Mito Frizzante

€9 reduced from €11.95, 11pc, from O'Briens and

A screw top Frizzante Prosecco, this has light, soft bubbles and bright pear and peachy flavours that are balanced with a touch of citrus. Fun on its own and perfect for using in cocktails.

M&S Cava Brut

€10.50, 11.5pc, from Marks and Spencer

Aged for a minimum of nine months in the bottle, this Cava, which is made from a blend of Xarel·lo, Macabeo and Parellada, is fresh and easy drinking with flavours of green apple, citrus and an earthy touch of fennel.

Jaume Serra Cava Brut

€14.99 reduced from €15.99, 11.5pc, from Spar, Eurospar, Mace and Londis

A fresh tasting Cava with a touch of honeysuckle on the nose and flavours of apple and lemon peel, and a toasty complexity, showing some time spent on the lees. Perfect as an aperitif or will work with light starters.

Castellore Organic Sparkling Grillo

€12.99, 11.5pc, from Aldi

Sicily does some really refreshing white wine, and Grillo is the grape which was traditionally used to make Marsala. This sparkling organic wine will appeal to Prosecco lovers with ripe peach, lime and a touch of spicy minerality.


Under €30

Veuve Monsigny, Brut Grande Réserve, Champagne NV

€19.99, 12.5pc, from Aldi

Made by husband and wife team Stéphane and Virginie Philizot, this Champagne is aged for 48 months in the bottle before it is disgorged, giving it a round flavour of ripe, green apples with crisp citrus and toasty notes.

Tuffeau 2017 Blancs de Blancs Brut Nature

€19.50-€19.95, 12pc, from First Draft, Lilac Wines, Grapevine, Blackrock Cellar, Ely Maynooth, Ely 64 Wine, Green Man Wines, all Dublin; Eleven Deli, Greystones; and Cass & Co, Dungarvan, Waterford Ultra-cool, this sparkling Chardonnay from the Loire has a crown cap closure and is deliciously refreshing with zesty flavours of crisp apple and a touch of citrus.

Meyer-Fonné, Crémant d'Alsace, Extra Brut

€27.50 approx, 12pc, from Baggot St Wines, Blackrock Cellars, Fallon & Byrne, Corkscrew, Ely 64 Wines, Redmond's, Liston's, Clontarf Wines, Green Man Wines, Dublin; MacGuinness Wines, Dundalk; Bradleys, Cork; World Wide Wines, Waterford; and Le Caveau, Kilkenny

A biodynamic sparkling wine made from a blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, this has concentrated flavours of crisp green apple, white peach, greengages and a floral touch of acacia and honeysuckle.

Martivey Champagne Brut NV

€25.99 reduced from €29.99, 12pc, from select Spar, Eurospar, Mace and Londis

Made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this has fresh, bright aromas of lemon and crunchy red apple, and is crisp and vibrant on the palate, finishing with a whisper of toast.

Granzamy Brut

€24.95 reduced from €34.95, 12pc, from O'Briens and

Made from 100pc Pinot Meunier, this has a touch of toast and spice, with crisp apple and fresh, savoury cherry. Beautiful on Christmas morning.

Over €30

Raventós i Blanc, Blanc de Blancs, Cava Brut Nature Reserva

€31, 12.5pc, from Clontarf Wines, Jus de Vine, Green Man Wines, Blackrock Cellar, Ely 64 Wine and

Made by the family who were the first producers of Cava in 1872, this zero dosage, biodynamic Cava is made from indigenous grapes Xarel-lo, Macabeu, and Parellada, and aged for 18 months on the lees, bringing floral aromas and soft, fresh fruit flavours, with some nutty notes.

Louis d'Or Brut Champagne NV

€27.95 reduced from €36.95, 12.5pc, from Mitchell & Son, and Avoca

A blend of Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this classic Champagne has aromas of dried white flowers, and has a rounded palate of red apple, citrus and a touch of peach.

Jansz Tasmania Premium Cuvée NV

€34.99 approx, 12pc, from Corkscrew, Baggot St Wines, Whelehan's, On the Grapevine, Blackrock Cellar, and O'Briens

The cool climate in Tasmania brings a wonderful freshness to this Champagne-style sparkling wine made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with crisp citrus flavours mixing with brioche and nutty complexity.

Maria Casanovas Pinot Noir Rosado

€32 approx., 11.5pc, from Green Man Wines, Ely 64 Wines, Red Island Wines, Clontarf Wines, Dublin

Made from 90pc Pinot Noir and 10pc Chardonnay, this rosé has a generous, creamy texture and is packed with intense flavours of ripe strawberry and cherry with a rich, savoury note on the finish.

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV

€69.99, 12pc, from Clontarf Wines, Donnybrook Fair, Redmond's, Green Man Wines, Ely 64 Wine, Terroirs, Baggot St Wines, Blackrock Cellar, Mitchell's, Fallon & Byrne, Dublin; la Touche, Greystones; Bradleys, Lucey's, Cork; World Wide Wines, Waterford; Alain and Christine Wine, Kenmare; and O'Briens

A really elegant Champagne, this has a mature and nutty nose, with deliciously French flavours of peach, nectarine, frangipane and brioche with fine persistent bubbles.

Lombard Brut Nature Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs

€45, 12.5pc, from Dunnes Stores

Made from 100pc Chardonnay, with grapes coming from top vineyards in the Côte des Blancs, this spends four years aging on the lees, bringing complexity and intense flavours of apple, brioche and a core of citrus minerality.


White, Orange & Rosé wines

Under €15


Pianeta Organico, Organic Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2018

€7.99, 12pc, from Aldi

Pianeta Organico, Organic Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2018

For Pinot Grigio fans, this is really worth trying. Fresh, with good definition of fruit, the juicy green apple and pear flavours are balanced with a touch of restrained minerality. Great with chicken or light vegetable dishes.

Aldi Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling

€9.99, 11pc, from Aldi

Great value, this mouth-wateringly crisp Riesling is typical of the style you get from Australia with a slight floral and herbaceous touch to the nose, and plenty of refreshing lime and green apple on the palate.

Belrose Rosé 2018

€11, 12.5pc, from Dunnes Stores

With a delicate Provençal colour, this rosé is light and easy drinking with plenty of soft peach, raspberry and cherry fruit.

M&S Loire Muscadet 2018

€8.80, 11.5pc, from Marks & Spencer

Crisp with citrus flavours, this easy-drinking white wine, which has been left to rest on its fine lees for 14 months, has the slight yeasty feel you get with a sur lie Muscadet.

Júlia Florista Branco 2018

€8 reduced from €9.95, 12pc, from O'Briens and

With fresh aromas of thyme and oregano on the nose and a crisp palate of ripe lime threaded with the fresh herbs, this is a bargain and vegan friendly too.

Couveys Chardonnay 2018

€10.99, 13.5pc, from select Eurospar, Spar, Mace and Londis

Food-friendly with fresh citrus notes of lemon and lime, flecked with minerality, vanilla and refreshing acidity, this is a simple but pleasing French Chardonnay. Pairs well with smoked salmon, fish, and turkey, so a good all-rounder.

De Alberto Organic Verdejo 2018

€12.95 reduced from €14.95, 13.5pc, from O'Briens and

Organic and vegan friendly, this crisp white comes from a single vineyard in Rueda. With a herbal nose of wild thyme, the palate has more fruit with just ripe peach and a splash of citrus.

Cazas Novas Vinho Verde 2018

€15, 12pc, from Baggot St Wines, Morton's, Lilac Wine, Martin's, The Corkscrew, Green Man Wines, Redmond's, Dublin; Wicklow Wine Company, Wicklow; and Bradleys, Cork

A blend of Loureiro and Avesso, this organic wine is grown on decomposed granitic soils, bringing a crisp minerality and lively flavours of apple and pear to this refreshing wine.

Tbilvino Qvevris 2015

€15, 12pc, from Marks & Spencer

A very accessible Georgian orange wine, made from Rkatsiteli grapes which ferment on their skins in a qvevri - a clay vessel which is buried in the ground. Silky with flavours of roasted peach skins, a touch of ground almonds and a note of grapefruit pith.


Under €30

Mandrarossa Grillo Costadune 2018

€15.95, 12pc, from Fallon & Byrne, The Vintry, Redmond's, McHugh's, Baggot St Wines, Jus de Vine, On The Grape Vine, Dublin; World Wide Wines, Waterford; 1601 Kinsale

Grillo is a Sicilian grape variety which was once more associated with Marsala, the local fortified wine. It's becoming increasingly popular as the wines are crisp and fruity with floral aromas and a fresh lemony palate.

Fraga do Corvo Godello Sobre Lias 2018

€19.99, or €16.66 when you buy 6 for the price of 5, from Mitchell & Son and Avoca

A Decanter Gold Medal winner, this 100pc Godello wine is organic, made from 30 year old, low-yielding vines. Floral with a crisp freshness, it has a textured, rounded palate of peach, lemon peel and a touch of wild herbs.

Baglio Bianco Catarratto 2018

€19.95, 12pc from Baggot St Wines, Green Man Wines, The Drinkstore, Blackrock Cellar, First Draft, Dublin; Bradleys, Cork; and Le Caveau, Kilkenny

A really interesting skin contact wine from Sicily which is organic and unfiltered, the savoury umami flavours touched with baked apple make this a spectacular match for a rind-washed cheese like Durrus.

Tesco Finest Pouilly-Fumé 2018

€20, 12.5pc, from Tesco

The perfect match with goat's cheese, this Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley is a style that will suit everyone, steely and smoky with grassy notes and a silky texture.

Bodegas Cota 45 UBE Miraflores 2018

€23-€26, 11pc, from Loose Cannon, First Draft, Green Man Wines, Ely 64 Wine, Jus de Vine and Blackrock Cellar, Dublin

An unfortified sherry for a wine aficionado, this has a complex nose of spice, lime, white pepper and a touch of white truffle, with a deliciously savoury note. Beautiful with toasted almonds.

L'Ecu Muscadet Sevre et Maine 'Orthogneiss' 2018

€23.95-€25, 12pc, from Mitchell's, Sheridan's Cheesemongers Dublin, Meath and Galway; and

Complex with an intense savoury and herbaceous quality and a touch of grapefruit, this biodynamic wine is beautifully broad on the palate with a silky texture which is balanced with fine acidity. Beautiful with fried or grilled fish.

Domaine des Baumard Savennières 'Clos de St Yves' 2016

€22.95, 13pc, from Ely 64 Wine, Ely Wine Store Maynooth, Searson's and

For a more unusual white with a bit of texture, Savennières, made from the Chenin Blanc grape, combines a weightiness with naturally high acidity. This has the characteristic notes of quince and a fine minerality, making it a great match for scallops, lobster and turkey.

Rijckaert Arbois Chardonnay 2016

€25, 13pc, from Green Man Wines, Corkscrew, Martin's, Dublin

Beautiful with a roast turkey, this Jura wine has a floral, almost fuchsia, nose, underpinned by savoury notes of artichoke and lime. The palate is silky with flavours of fleshy pear and lemon, and touches of cloves and spice on the finish.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018

€24.95 reduced from €35.95, 13.5pc, from O'Briens and

A classic for Sauvignon Blanc lovers, this is the wine that started our love for New Zealand wines. Fresh and vibrant, it has zesty flavours of lime, grapefruit, nectarine and a touch of herbs.


Red Wine


Under 15

Madame Parmentier Régnié 2018

€9.99, 13pc, from Lidl.

The pink granite hills of Régnié are mineral-rich bringing nice aromatics to the wines. Here you get a floral nose and fresh flavours of crushed loganberries and raspberries on the palate.

Carrione Salice Salentino 

€8.99 reduced from €12.99, 12.5pc, from Spar, Eurospar, Londis and Mace

From Salice Salentino in Puglia, the heel in the southeast corner of Italy, this ripe red wine, made from local Black Malvasia and Negroamaro grapes has plenty of dark fruit, so pairs really nicely with Italian dishes.

Capala Primitivo 2017

€9.99 reduced from €19.99, 13.5pc, from Spar, Eurospar, Londis and Mace

In an impressive bottle, this juicy red from Italy packs a punch of flavour with ripe raspberry flavours and notes of smoke, spice and vanilla. Great with grilled meat and rich, tomato-based pasta dishes.

Beauvignac ‘Vielles Vignes’ Syrah 2017

€11.95, 13.5pc, from

Molloy’s Liquor Stores

Made from old Syrah vines, this has lush ripe fruit with flavours of stewed blackberry and plum, with a prickle of white pepper and spice, balanced with a distinctive savoury note of olive.

Monte Real Rioja Reserva

€12.95 was €21.95, 14.5pc, from O’Briens and

Rioja is always a great choice when it comes to buying wine as a present and if you like an oaky style, you’ll enjoy this 100pc Tempranillo, which has ripe red and dark berry flavours, all wrapped up in spice and vanilla.

Dadá de Finca Las Moras 2018

€10, reduced from €13, €8.33 when you buy 6 and save €10, 12.5pc, from SuperValu

A crowd pleaser and easy drinker for a barbecue, this Malbec blend from Argentina has ripe, red berry flavours softened with notes of vanilla.

Bacco Garnacha 2017

€13.50, 14.5pc, from Dunnes Stores

Made by Pamela Geddes, who moved from whiskey to winemaker, the fruit for this Garnacha is from old bush vines. It has a bright nose, brimming with fruit, and plenty of forest berries and a touch of spice on the palate.

Clos Malverne Pinotage Reserve 2016

€14, 14.5pc, from Dunnes Stores

The grapes for this wine are pressed in a traditional basket press before being moved to barrels for 12 months aging. With fresh red fruit and a touch of plums, a toasty bit of spice rounds the flavour out.

Tesco Finest Pinot Noir, Central Otago, 2018

€15, 13.5pv, from Tesco

From the South Island in New Zealand, there is plenty of ripe red fruit concentration which has a savoury balance, making this a great wine to have with food. Very adaptable, so will work with turkey, goose, vegetarian dishes and light meat dishes.

De Martino Gallardia 2018

€14.95 reduced from €20, 13pc, from O’Briens and

The Cinsault grapes for this wine come from a 35-year-old ungrafted, dry-farmed vineyard in Guarilihue in the commune of Coelemu in Chile. Wild fermented, it has fresh red berry flavours with a touch of spice.


Under €30

Du Grappin Beaujolais-Villages 2017

€23.95, 13pc, from Whelehan’s, Green Man Wines, Ely 64 Wines, all Dublin; Alex Findlater, Limerick; and Bradleys, Cork

From granitic soils which are typical of the Régnié region of Beaujolais, this is a really classy Beaujolais with an intense savoury nose perfumed with wild roses. On the palate, it is packed with flavours of red berries, bramble and orchard apples.

Malbec 2018

€22, 14pc, from Marks & Spencer

A cool looking bottle which has been sealed with wax, the grapes for this wine come from vineyards at 1,100 to 1,500m above sea level, which are fermented with wild yeast and aged in concrete vats for 12 months. Sappy, with ripe red fruit and ripe tannins.

Mandrarossa Bonera

€22-€25, 13.5pc, from DrinkStore Stoneybatter; Deveneys; Kelly’s, and Jus de Vine, Dublin

From a highly respected co-op which produces top quality wines from the western coast of Sicily, this blend of Nero D’Avola and Cabernet Franc has plenty of body with rich flavours of dark plums and a concentration of supple ripe fruit.

Xisto Ilimitado Tinto 2016

€23, 12pc, from Baggot St Wines, Lilliput Stores, Ely 64 Wines, Blackrock Cellar, Drinkstore, Green Man Wines, Lilac Wines, Martin’s, On The Grapevine, and The Parting Glass, Dublin

A wild ferment red wine made by Luis Seabra, one of Portugal’s top wine makers, this blend of indigenous grapes has bright flavours of red berries, red cherry and pomegranate with a textured quality and touch of  stony minerality.

Samt & Seide Blaufränkisch 2016

€26.95, 12.5pc, from Mitchell & Son, Sweeneys, Blackrock Cellar, and

Green Man Wines, Dublin

Aptly named velvet and silk, this beautifully fresh Blaufränkisch has perfumed cherry, plum and a light

touch of spice. Very adaptable, great for Christmas Day.

Musella Valpolicella Ripasso

€20.95 reduced from €22.95, 13.5pc, from O’Briens and

A blend of Barbera, Corvina and Rondinella, this is a beautifully balanced biodynamic wine which combines intensity and freshness. A wash of quality, ripe dark cherry fruit blends with a touch silky spice.

Bodegas Roda Sela Rioja 2015

€27.50 approx, 14.5pc, from Corkscrew, The Vintry, Deveney’s, D-Six, Jus de Vine, Sweeney’s, Lotts & Co, Blackrock Cellar, and Nectar Wines, Dublin

A vibrant Rioja with bright red fruit and cherry flavours, the oak is beautifully integrated so the sweet cinnamon and clove spices add to the complexity.

Chateau Perron Lalande-de-Pomerol 2015

€28.95, or €25 when you buy 2 for €50, 13pc, from Mitchell & Son, Dublin

Merlot dominated with 10pc each of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, this right bank Bordeaux has complex layers of red and dark fruit with earthy notes of wet leaves and a toasty finish.

Fedellos do Couto, Lomba dos Ares 2016

€30, 12.5pc, from Green Man Wines, Ely 64 Wine and Loose Canon, all Dublin

‘Fedellos’ means brats in Galician, which perfectly reflects the spirit of the three winemakers behind this low intervention wine from Ribeira Sacra. Made from a field blend of grapes which includes Mencia, it is textured with an intense concentration of red fruit over a dark core.

Over 30

Pavillon de Léoville Poyferré 2015, St Julien — JW

€45, 13.5pc, from Whelehan’s, Dublin,

With classic Bordeaux aromas of blackcurrant, bramble, and cedar, this will pair wonderfully with red meat, in particular a roast leg of lamb or rib of beef.

Etna Rosso Pietradolce 2018

€32, 13.5pc, from Deveney’s, Green Man Wines, Ely 64 Wine, and

Made from 100pc Nerello Mascalese grown 800m above sea level, this is scented with wild berries and herbs and a touch of spice and is fresh, and elegant on the palate with a good backbone of tannins.

Foradori Granato 2015 

€60, 13pc, from Green Man Wines, Baggot St Wines, Dublin; Bradley’s, Cork; and Le Caveau, Kilkenny

Made from 100pc Teroldego, an indigenous varietal of Trentino, this biodynamic wine has aromas of forest fruit after the rain, with a dark fruit intensity and a touch of spicy bramble leaf.

Chateau Paul Mas Clos de Mures 2018, Magnum

€35, 14.5pc, from Molloys

If you’re having a crowd, double the drama at your festive dinner with this giant magnum. A really beautiful blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, it’s perfect with lamb or beef. Also available as a standard bottle for €16.95.

Róisín Curley Beaune 2017

€55, 12.5pc, from Baggot St Wines, Grapevine, Whelehan’s, Clontarf Wines; Ely 64 Wine, Mitchell & Son, Drinkstore, and Green Man Wines

Keep it Irish this Christmas with Róisín Curley’s latest vintage from Burgundy, which is fine boned and poised, with a floral nose and layered strawberry and savoury dark cherry fruit. Wonderful with roast goose, duck or turkey.

D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz

€44.95 reduced from €54.95, from O’Briens and, and at full price in other independents

An iconic wine from the McLaren Vale, this is Aussie Shiraz in all its glory. Packed with dark, savoury fruit; blackberry blends with liquorice, spice and notes of cedar leading to a long concentrated finish.

Domaine de Fa Fleurie 2017

€34, 13.5pc, from Green Man Wines,

Ely 64 Wine, and

This biodynamic wine from Fleurie has a complex, savoury nose of sour cherry, leading to a purity of fruit on the layered, concentrated palate with blackberry, bramble leaf and fine silky tannins.

Chambolle Musigny 2017

€57.50, 13.5pc, from Marks & Spencer

With a lovely nose that mixes red berries with earthier notes of sandalwood, this is silky on the palate with a wash or red currants, dry flowers and spice. Great with duck or goose.

Cantine Nervi ‘Vigna Molsino’ Gattinara 2015

€67.99, 13.5pc, from Blackrock Cellar, Ely 54 Wine, Ely Wine Stores, Maynooth and

Made from Nebbiolo grapes, known locally as Spanna, that are grown at 350-420m elevation on the mineral rich slopes of the Gattinara region, this is beautifully savoury with a concentration of dark cherries and spice.

Rizzardi Calcarole Amarone

€70, 16pc, from O’Briens and

Only produced in the best vintages, this single-vineyard Amarone has depth and complexity with aromas of rose, violets and balsamic cherries, with more cherry, intense jammy plums and sweet liquorice on the palate. A real treat.


Sweet Wine, Sherry, Port & Spirits


M&S Very Rare Palo Cortado Premium Sherry, 375ml

€12, 19pc, from Marks & Spencer

Lustau Manzanilla 'Papirusa'

M&S has some great value in sherry, and with this one you get a balance of fruity and slightly more savoury notes with plums and sultanas blending with tangy lemon peel and nuts. A really affordable way to give sherry a go.

Lustau Manzanilla ‘Papirusa’ 

€24, 15pc, from Mitchell & Son, CHQ, Sandycove, Avoca Kilmacanogue and Dunboyne; and

Bone dry with fruity notes, this light, crisp sherry has a hint of sea salt on the finish from its aging in American oak casks in Sanlúcar de Barrameda on the estuary of the Guadalquivir River.

Berton Botrytis Semillon, 375ml

€8.99, 11pc, from Aldi

Guild the lily on Christmas Day with this dessert wine. Made from the Semillon grape, with ripe notes of honey, tropical fruit and a touch of citrus, it works equally well with a fruit-based dessert or blue cheeses like Roquefort.

Killahora Rare Apple Ice Wine, 375ml 

€26 approx, 11.5pc, from Blackrock Cellar, Baggot St Wine, Whelehan’s, Terroirs, Dublin; Ardkeen, Waterford; Boyle’s, Kildare; Bradleys, Bakestone Café, Matson’s, Urru, Cork; JD O’Sullivan, Kenmare; McCambridges, Galway; and Savoir Faire, Westport

Ireland’s first ice wine, pure green apple cuts a fresh crisp line through a lush palate of toffee apple and restrained caramel. Beautiful with foie gras, blue cheese or dessert.

Gérard Bertrand Banyuls 2013

€19.95 reduced from €23.95, 15pc, from O’Briens and

Banyuls, from the Catalan slopes of the Pyrenees in the Roussillon region of France, is made in a similar way to Port. This is rich with sweet raisins, dried cherry, fig, dried orange peel and a spicy sandalwood finish.

Domaine du Mas Blanc Banyuls Rimage 2012

€42.15, 17.5pc, from Wines Direct at Arnotts, Westmeath and

From the south west corner of France, this Grenache-based fortified wine is made in a style similar to Port, and has a concentration of ripe blackberry, plum and raisins with a touch of cocoa. Beautiful with Christmas pudding or blue cheese.

Maynard’s 40 Year Old Tawny Port

€39.99, 20pc, from Aldi

With 40 years age on this Port, you’re talking about something really special. With rich flavours of figs, roasted coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg and liquorice, it is silky and alluring and oh so perfect with Christmas pudding.


Offley LBV Port

Offley LBV Port

€32.99, 20.5pc, from Clontarf Wines, McHugh’s, Hole in the Wall, Ely Wine Store, Dublin; The Wine Centre, Kilkenny; and

Unlike vintage Ports, which are designed to be aged for decades, a late-bottled vintage Port is designed to be drunk sooner and gives you a good insight into how a vintage Port tastes. This is packed with complex flavours of black cherry, plum and spice with rich chocolatey and cedar notes.

Fercullen 18 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey

€140, 43pc, from The Celtic Whiskey Shop, L Mulligan’s, Mitchell & Son, James Fox, Redmond’s, The Powerscourt Distillery Visitor Centre, and

Matured in bourbon barrels for more than 18 years, the complex flavours of this whiskey unfold into smooth layers of creamy malt, warm spice, ripe fruit with almonds and vanilla.

Five Farms Single Batch Irish Cream Liqueur

Five Farms Single Batch Irish Cream Liqueur

€35 approx, 17pc, from SuperValu, Centra, Molloy’s, Whelehan’s, Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dublin; Bradley’s, Cork; Ardkeen, Waterford; O’Briens,, and leading independents

Most cream liqueurs contain less than 1pc whiskey, this has a hefty 10pc and with cream sourced from five farms in Cork it is packed full of lush caramel flavours.

Ballykeefe Lady Desart Gin

€37, 40pc, from SuperValu

Winner of gold at the USA Spirit Ratings 2019, this gin which has fresh juniper and citrus flavours, has 12 vapour infused botanicals, which include three rare oriental peppers, handpicked in the remote mountain regions of Vietnam and Cambodia.

SkelligSix 18 Gin

€50, 40pc, from select independents in Kerry and Dublin

New on the market, this small batch gin, which is distilled in Caherciveen, Co Kerry, has 10 botanicals which reflect the local terroir and include foraged yarrow, Douglas fir and birch sap bringing herbaceous depth to the citrus and anise flavours.

Boyles Old Tom Gin, 700ml

€29.99, 40pc, from Aldi

Exclusive to Aldi, this special edition gin, produced by Blackwater Distillery in Cork, is made in an old style, developed in Georgian London. It comes in a beautiful gift box with a book of cocktail recipes. Perfect for gifting.

Chateau Dereszla, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos

Chateau Dereszla, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos

€34.95 (500ml), 11.5pc, from Mitchell & Son IFSC, Glasthule, Avoca Kilmacanogue and Dunboyne

A premium Tokaji Aszú, this has been aged for a minimum of two years and has developed luscious flavours of honey, nuts, apricot and candied citrus peel. Stunning with foie gras starter, a white chocolate mousse or blue cheese.

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