Christmas Day drinks: The best of white, red and everything bubbly in between
I always think that there is something magical about the pop of a Champagne bottle as the aromas of turkey waft seductively from the kitchen. Of course, that's putting two of my favourite things together - Champagne and Christmas.
So, for the Christmas line-up of wines, I have a few very interesting Champagnes, as well as a top quality Prosecco, and follow with wines that will take you through dinner, regardless of what you're serving.
These days, most Christmas tables have at least one guest who is vegetarian and although turkey is still the meat of choice in our house, I know that some people prefer to have a large rib of roast beef. There are wines for every taste here, and remember, there are no strict rules about what you should serve at Christmas. The most important thing is to have a wine that you love. Most of these are also available to buy online, so if you order soon, you can have them delivered right to your door. Sláinte!
Fizz & champagne
Bortolomiol Prosecco Prior Brut NV
€22.95 reduced from €26, 12pc, from Mitchell & Son, CHQ, Sandycove, Avoca Kilmacanogue and Dunboyne;
A focused Prosecco, the crisp flavours of green apple and orchard fresh lemon bring a beautiful freshness to this quality glass of fizz which is lifted with a gentle floral note.
Veuve Monsigny Blanc de Blancs Vintage Champagne 2011
€27.99, 12pc, from Aldi
A great price for a vintage Champagne, this is made from 100pc Chardonnay and has a perfumed nose with a toasty softness on the palate and developed flavours of rich brioche accented with spice. A beautiful aperitif.
Beaumont des Crayères Fleur Blanche 2008
€47, 12pc, from O'Briens and obrienswine.ie
With a beguiling floral nose, almost redolent of blue hyacinth, this beautiful Blanc de Blanc (meaning 100pc Chardonnay) vintage Champagne has a touch of flint, with citrus flavours overlaid with developed notes of clove, almonds and toast.
Laherte Frères Extra Brut Ultradition Champagne
€48-50, 12.5pc, from Green Man Wines, Fallon & Byrne, Blackrock Cellar, Mitchell & Son; all Dublin; Sheridan's Cheesemongers, Dublin and Galway; Ashes of Annascaul, Kerry; and siyps.ie and mitchellandson.com
A biodynamic, grower Champagne with little or no dosage, this blend of Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir has round complex flavours layered with citrus and stone fruit due to fermentation in large oak casks and 40pc of reserve wine.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV
€65 approx, 12pc, from 64 Wine, Baggot Street Wines, Blackrock Cellar, Fallon & Byrne, Donnybrook Fair, Green Man Wines, Redmond's, Deveney's, Mitchell & Son, Morton's, Whelehan's, Terroirs; all Dublin; Red Nose, Clonmel; World Wide Wines, Waterford; O'Briens and leading independent off-licences.
A really classy Champagne, this has a mature and nutty nose, with deliciously French flavours of peach, nectarine, frangipane and brioche with fine persistent bubbles.
Sipp Mack Riesling Tradition 2017
€15, when you buy two for €30, reduced from €18.25, 12.5pc, from Mitchell & Son CHQ and South Dock; and mitchellandson.com
Light and delicate, this Riesling from Alsace has crisp flavours of lemon and grapefruit and is a beautiful wine to serve with a starter of fish, prawns, goats' cheese or smoked salmon.
Exquisite Collection Mâcon-Villages
€9.99, 12.5pc, from Aldi
From the most southern part of Burgundy, this Chardonnay has fresh notes of quince, stone fruits, and honeysuckle. A good wine to drink right through the meal as it will work with turkey as well as a starter.
Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Reid 2015
€62-68, 13.5pc, from The Corkscrew and Redmond's, both Dublin
Another rare wine for connoisseurs, this is not at all what you'd expect from a Sauvignon Blanc. Fermentation and aging in large oak vats adds complexity and broadness with flavours of lime, nuts and a touch of herbs and smoke.
Stonier Chardonnay 2016
€23.95, reduced from €26.95, 13.5pc, from O'Briens and obrienswine.ie
Burgundy fans will love the reductive nose on this stunning Chardonnay from the cooler Australian region of the Mornington Peninsula. With a touch of flint, this has a focused palate of lime, green apple and a touch of cloves.
Domaine Tissot, "Les Graviers" 2016
€52-€53, 13pc, from Green Man Wines and Sommelier in Your Pocket, siyps.com
Almost Burgundian in style, this low allocation biodynamic wine from the Jura region of France is tantalising with complex and layered citrus flavours wrapped up in a rich toastiness with prickles of spice. Would be amazing with turkey.
Laurent Miquel Solas Pinot Noir 2017
€12.50, 13.5pc, from Dunnes Stores
Pinot Noir is a great Christmas dinner wine as it works beautifully with turkey, duck, goose and vegetarian dishes. Fresh raspberries, cherries and bramble blend together with a touch of wild herbs to make this nicely balanced wine.
Domaine Rolet Arbois Poulsard Vielles Vignes 2015
€25, 13pc, from Green Man Wines, 64 Wine, Jus de Vine, Searsons, all Dublin and searsons.com
With a surprising light ruby colour, this low tannin Poulsard has a spicy, oxidative quality on the nose and on the palate it is almost like a Pinot Noir, with flavours of cherry and red fruits, a touch of earthiness and a long finish.
Chateau Moulin-Borie 2015, Listrac-Moulis
€24.95, 13.5pc, from Molloy's and molloys.ie
If you're serving beef or a robust vegetarian dish, this left bank red has a ripe sappy nose, with plenty of lush dark plums on the palate and a backbone of firm, well integrated tannins. A nice present to bring if you're a guest.
€73.99, 13pc, from Mitchell & Son, CHQ, Sandycove, Avoca Kilmacanogue and Dunboyne; mitchellandson.com and wineonline.ie
An exquisite Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast in California this has aromas of ripe strawberry and cherry on the nose, and a concentrated, savoury palate of red fruit and a hint of vanilla. Beautifully structured with integrated tannins and mineral acidity. A real treat.
€23.04, 15pc, from Wines Direct at Arnotts, Westmeath and winesdirect.ie
From the Priorat area of Spain, this has a beautiful nose of fleshy red plums and raspberries, with a floral note of peony, and has a hint of spice on the palate, making it a good wine to serve with goose or red meat.
Domaine du Mas Blanc Banyuls Rimage 2012
€42.15, 17.5pc, from Wines Direct at Arnotts, Westmeath and winesdirect.ie
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.