Oz’s wine tips for the festive season

Brrr!! It’s been such a cold start to winter this year that I feel I should be clutching a mug of hot toddy as I write this. But bubbles can always cheer me up, and after that a juicy white and a chunky red should keep me in buoyant mood till 2020.

Leckford Estate Brut
Hampshire, England
2014
£26.99

Waitrose 

You don’t really expect a supermarket to have its own vineyard, but Waitrose does! They’ve had a farm in Hampshire – Leckford Estate – since 1928, and in 2009 they couldn’t resist planting vines. This fabulous sparkling wine is the result. From the same grape varieties as Champagne, from soil the same as in Champagne, this a creamy, nutty, foaming delight – and it’s as good as Champagne!

Tesco Finest Fair Trade Chenin Blanc
South Africa
£7.50
Tesco  

I’m a great supporter of Fair Trade. I’ve been out into the farms and villages of Central Africa and South America and seen the astonishing change that the Fair Trade Premium makes to the lives of some of the planet’s poorest people. Fair Trade wine is most active in South Africa, and this fabulously fresh, honeydew melon and white peach-scented beauty is pure delight as a winter quaffer.

Testimonio Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tannat
Argentina
£10
Co-op

I can’t remember such a bitter start to winter – I’ve been wearing a scarf as I sit at my desk! So I need riproaring, gizzard-roasting reds, and Argentina is the best place to look. But I’m not choosing Malbec this time. I’ve found a throaty mix of Cabernet, Syrah and the rare Tannat grape all thrown together to create a powerful fruitbomb of blackcurrant and blackberry that is satisfyingly chewy and surprisingly scented with apple blossom.

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