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Monthly Archives: December 2015

  • Wine Style Guide

    To accompany our previous post on how to taste wine, we've put together a handy style guide for you to use when tasting.  The printable guide below can help when choosing what style of wine to buy too, based on your likes/dislikes in flavour.

    Wine Style Guide

  • How to taste wine.. like a professional!

    If you're keen to become a bit of a wine buff then this step by step guide for how to taste wine is a great way to start.  Print this guide out and see if you can fill a few tasting notes out yourself, or even better you could host a tasting at home and compare notes with friends.

    How to taste wine like a professional

  • Festive Fizz

    The countdown is on, and corks are popping all over the country, as the festive season peaks. But with millions of shiny bottles of Champagne and sparkling wines stacked high in wine shops and supermarkets, and a vast selection on offer, the questions are, what to buy, and what to drink when?

    Champagne Taittinger, Brut RéserveBest for gifts……the Great Western Wine Champagne and sparkling wine range covers just about every gift occasion and budget, however, for a loved one, especially close family,  a beautifully packaged gift box of Taittinger Champagne will always deliver.  Choose either the traditional Taittinger Champagne Brut Reserve NV, in its shiny, white and metallic box -  an ethereal, elegant Champagne, subtle and charming , with Chardonnay dominating the blend. Crisp and stylish. If the budget will allow, go for even more impact with a magnum of the same.

    Best for Bling… There’s only one bottle for this – the red carpet, disco ball glitz that is Taittinger Champagne Nocturne NV  - you can’t miss this  delightful diva,  glittering in her sparkly purple dress, and nestled in a similarly ‘bling’ shimmering box.  Nocturne is a Champagne, which is just slightly off dry – not sweet, but not quite as dry as the Brut Reserve; it’s a fabulous Champagne to go with food, and I love to serve it with spicy style canapés.

    Champagne J-M Gobillard, Brut Grande Réserve Premier CruBest for Christmas Day….. Champagne has to be on the list for the main event; it’s the day the family comes together to celebrate and indulge. The average family spends a small fortune both on presents, but also on ensuring there is a feast on the table – so Champagne should be the order of the day, but you don’t have to fork out on many of the big brands, when there are delicious, lesser-known, and far more exciting gems to be found ; I’ve written about this before – Gobillard Champagne Premier Cru Grande Reserve NV is outstanding; rich, creamy, with hints of toast and roasted hazelnuts, and bold red fruit. It’s made by a small family grower, rather than one of the big Champagne houses, and at the moment is simply unbelievable value with £10 off at £19.50.

    Here’s my tip – Champagne always benefits from a little more ageing, it add complexity and richness. Based on this phenomenal deal, for this award winner, buy 2 cases – drink one this Christmas and stash the other one away until next Christamas; then drink the one you’re going to buy this weekend at Christmas 2016, and buy your Christmas 2017 case of Champagne at Christmas 2016 – confused? Don’t be . just keep a case in stock with a year to age for each festive season. Trust me . It works.

    Best for impressing guests…. Let’s face it, however relaxed, we like to appear when entertaining, we secretly always like to impress friends and neighbours, be it with home made canapés, perfectly styled and themed decorations,  or bespoke cocktails. So add to the wow factor, by serving your fizz in magnums this year ( one big, heavy bottle that holds the content of 2 normal bottles). It looks impressive, stylish, and certainly makes a statement.  If you want Champagne, then the glorious Gobillard Premier Cru Grande Reserve NV, also comes in a handy sized magnum! … and by the way Champagne ages more slowly in magnums, due to the ‘wine to bottle’ ratio, so that’s even more of a reason to hide a couple of cases away for the next year or two.

    Ruggeri, Prosecco Brut Quartese DOCG MagnumIf you want a better value alternative for fizz, but still want the ‘wow’ effect, why not try a top notch Prosecco Ruggeri Brut Quartese NV DOCG (1.5lt)? it’s bright, perky, with real personality, and style, coming from one of the top producers, and the best vineyard sites in the Prosecco region. Creamy, and floral, it has great character, is a big step up from standard Prosecco, with its lovely orchard fruit flavours, but won’t break the bank.

    Best for parties…. Keep ahead of the pack by setting a new trend; Prosecco is so ‘last season’ darling, instead impress your guests with your cutting edge choices and  show off your style and knowledge by serving Cleto Chiarli Pignoletto Brut NV, a delightfully fresh, and similarly  crisp, frothy fizz, from north eastern Italy, close to Parma and Modena.  In an imposing bottle, it’s not dissimilar to Prosecco, but made from the Pignoletto grape, and is a tad livelier and richer, with bright russet apple fruit, elderflower and peaches – you’ll get top marks for innovation.

    Best for Bucks Fizz and Bellinis…. One of my rules is never to waste Champagne or top quality Sparkling wine on Bucks fizz or cocktails – what’s the point of serving a beautiful bottle of fizz, if the flavour is changed totally by the addition of orange juice or peach nectar.  This is where you can cut a few corners and save a few pennies – don’t buy any nasty or green, but opt for simple, approachable, and great value styles of fizz, such as the lively, fruity Stelle d’Italia Prosecco.

    Peller Ice Cuvée Sparkling (Vidal Dosage)Best for mince pies….. the sweet, scented intensity of mince pies doesn’t work with very  dry wines, so indulge in a bottle of the gloriously fragranced and sumptuously rich Peller Ice Cuvee Sparkling NV ( Vidal Dosage), a delectable delight of a wine, full of golden promise – lively, fruity, and top class, with hints of apricots and ripe peaches, and a seamless silkiness, which comes from the addition of a small amount of the liquid nectar called ice wine, made in tiny quantities from the droplets of juice from grapes frozen on the vine in Canada. Also perfect with rich pates, and smoked hams, and spicy canapés.

    Best for Christmas pudding… after all the richness of the Christmas feast, I often crave a glass of something light, refreshing, and palate cleansing when the Christmas pudding arrives; a great favourite is Fontanafredda Moscato d’Asti Moncucco, served in a handy 50cl bottle, and with a refreshingly low 5.5% alcohol, which is sometimes what is needed at the end of Christmas lunch. It perks up the taste buds with its joyous, grapey freshness and lively, sherbet mousse. Bright, gently sweet, with  aromas of wild flowers, jasmine and freshy crushed grapes, it has a delightful freshness and citrusy lift, which provides a welcome lift and cuts through all the richness of the food.

    Best for Christmas Eve…. This is the time when neighbours and friends often pop round for a lunchtime drink, then family congregate in the early hours of the evening. I have 2 strategies for party fizz here…. Serve either  a top quality Prosecco, such as the Prosecco Ruggeri Brut Quartese NV, or make a statement with an equally good, but different fizz from Spain – Torello Cava Brut  Reserva NV Special Edition, is bold, bright, and full of lively, apple and pear fruit, with a creamy edge and a citrus twist. The bottle alone is a talking point, with its black and white, funky packaging.

    Ferrari Maximum BrutLater in the evening, with close family around you, bring out a true international award-winner, Ferrari Brut Maximum NV,       Ferrari ( nothing to do with the car, but on a similar level in terms of style, recently won ‘sparkling producer of the year’, in the 2015 Champagne and sparkling wine World Championships. Made in the traditional method from the Chardonnay grape, it’s the epitome of elegance, with rich, ripe, brioche, roasted hazelnut- infused aromas and flavours – warming, moreish, stylish and far better value than many cheap Champagnes.

    Best for Boxing Day buffet parties….. this is the day, when the festivities continue, often with wider family and friends joining in; but everyone’s still feeling replete from the Christmas Day food marathon. This is the time for the freshest, crispest, liveliest of dry sparklers, so try Chateau Rives-Blanches Blanquette de Limoux 2012, a great, and chat-worthy alternative to many other fizzes, and about as zesty and bright as they go. It’s made in the high hills of Limoux in southern France from the little known, and local, Mauzac grape. Fresh as a daisy, uplifting, zesty and perky, it’s a perfect Boxing Day fizz with crunchy apple, zingy lemon and tangy grapefruit character. Guaranteed to lift jaded palates.

    Ridgeview, Grosvenor Cuvée Merret (Blanc de Blancs)Best for a romantic Christmas proposal…..  It just has to be Rose! Do this in style with either Taittinger Brut Rose NV, full of gloriously elegant raspberry and strawberry cream flavours, enchanting in colour, delicacy and style; or impress with a point of difference – Gobillard Champagne Brut Rose NV is a a pretty, peach-hued and strawberry scented rose, with delicate wafts of red fruit, cream, and toasted hazelnuts… how could she resist?

    Best for New Year…. If it’s a big party, opt for Prosecco, or Blanquette de Limoux; however there is a continuing trend towards houseparties and more relaxed, intimate dinners. If that’s the case, welcome the New Year in, with a bit of British heritage – Ridgeview Grosvenor Cuvee Merret 2011 (Blanc de blancs) is one of the leading, and most award-winning English Sparkling wines in the UK ( and the world). English Sparkling wines are now world class, and frequently beat Champagnes at their own game in blind tastings.  From the Chardonnay grape, its accolades say it all – rich, creamy , textured, sophisticated, with warm, buttery, baked apple fruit, layers of cream, and a deep, complex style – lingering and unforgettable – certainly a wine to remember as we move into 2016.

    By Angela Mount

  • Alan's Wine of the Week

    Multi - Award Winning Peller Icewine Vidal 2013

    Wine of the Week - Peller Vidal Ice Wine

    Delicate gold colour with an aromatic bouquet of lemon marmalade, caramelized oranges, golden pineapple and a touch of honey. A rich, medium to full-bodied wine with explosive flavours of honey, golden pineapple, star anise and brown sugar and butter.

    Was £34

    Now £25

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles
    Prices valid until December 31st 2015

  • It's Party Time!

    We’re nearly there; with Christmas just around the corner, the focus is on present shopping and planning for the Christmas feast. However, in amongst all of this, there’s the added enjoyment (or stress, depending on how you see it) of Christmas parties, neighbourly drinks and family gatherings on either side of the Big Day.

    If you’re the host, this is another item to add to the list. So my advice is to keep it simple, keep it easy, and don’t go for anything too complicated.  Wine isn’t the star of the show at these events, it’s the supporting act; you don’t need to overspend; the key rule is high quality, versatile wines, that are going to blend into the experience and enjoyment of the evening, rather than try to make personal statements; not too showy – the last thing needed is either overpowering wines, full of tannin or oak; or thin, weedy, sour excuses.

    Top Tips:

    In terms of number of bottles to buy, work on an average 6 glasses per bottle, and an average half bottle per person.

    - Make sure you have plenty of interesting soft drinks for those who are driving – there are lots of sophisticated fruit-flavoured waters and drinks on the market.

    - Make sure you have lots of ice – for large parties, if you don’t have enough space to chill wines, fill large buckets with ice and water and plunge the bottles in to chill.

    - Glasses – if you’re having a large party, talk to the lovely team at Great Western Wine as they operate a glass loan service

    Here are my picks for a few that should fit the bill for the festive season:

    Drinks Party

    This could be a major party, or a simple gathering of friends and neighbours on Christmas Eve. Either way, these wines should work.

    Ruggeri, Prosecco Brut, ArgeoFizz has to be the starting point here. The options are yours – Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, or other; it all depends on the budget.  If you’re serving Bellinis, or sparkling wine cocktails, opt for Le Stelle d’Italia, a fresh, lively Prosecco, which is great as the base for a cocktail blend.

    Want to impress guests without going to Champagne level pricing?  Move up to top notch Prosecco, such as Ruggeri Prosecco Argeo, rich and creamy, with a gentle peachy character, and a definite crowd pleaser.

    For whites and reds, go for wines that are fruity, easy-drinking, with lovely, bright flavours.  The wine is to enhance the evening, not dominate it.

    Sauvignon blanc is the nation’s white wine darling at the moment, so if you’re going for this option – and it’s a great, crisp, lively party wine style, choose one with ripe, passion fruit flavours and mouthwatering freshness, such as the ever popular The Frost Pocket Sauvignon Blanc 2014, far more reliable and better value than the top brands on the high street.  

    Chateau du Vieux Parc La Selection CorbieresPinot Grigio continues to be a favourite, but be careful how to choose; this grape variety has had a lot of bad press recently, and there are some truly horrific examples around; but good Pinot Grigio is lovely; fresh, creamy, with gentle, appley fruit. The key is to buy wise and from the best areas – you won’t go wrong with a PG from the Alps, Pinot Grigio Colterenzio 2014.

    For party reds, keep it soft, keep it smooth. For a lighter style, opt for Chile’s Elki Sangiovese, a bright, soft, juicy red, with no harsh edges, just bursting with lively, berry fruit; or for a fuller, more warming red, go for the rich, wintry, yet velvety soft Chateau du Vieux Parc, Corbieres 2013.

    Supper Parties

    Amidst the hustle and bustle of  the run up to Christmas,  it’s also the time for weekend gatherings with friends.  For those moments of relaxation during a busy month, keep the wine choices simple.

    Champagne J-M Gobillard, Brut Grande Réserve Premier CruWelcome guests with a glass of top notch but bargain-priced Gobillard Premier Cru Champagne NV – I’ve written about this Champagne countless times in recent weeks and  I will probably continue to do so until New Year’s Eve – just because it is so, so good. From a small, family grower, it’s smooth, creamy, and silky soft, with a very fine mousse, and an absolute bargain.

    It’s all about easy entertaining at this time of year – with simple mezze, smoked salmon, platters of seafood, or a range of tapas, you won’t go far wrong with Ailala Treixadura 2013, a deliciously dry, yet full-flavoured white from Galicia, in  North West Spain, full of ripe, peach and apple flavours, with a smattering of herbs and a whack of lively citrus zest.  This wine is so versatile and never disappoints.

    Heartland Spice Trader, Langhorne Creek At this time of year, simple steaks, or a big bowl of stew are a great, and easy way to entertain. That makes wine choices easier also. I’d go for either the voluptuous and brooding latin charmer that is Tomero Malbec 2014, full of dense dark, rich fruit, spice, and hints of mocha, or the eternal, and very versatile charmer that is Heartland The Spice Trader  2013 – rich, glorious, and oozing charm, it’s impossible not to love this wine – bursting with ripe, blackberry fruit, layers of spice, hints of herbs - has to be one of the very best value reds around  at the moment.

    The Noble Wrinkled Riesling, d'ArenbergCristmas Eve

    Any of the wines I’ve mentioned before would be perfect for greeting guests on Christmas Eve. However, if it’s a quiet night in, by a crackling fire, with presents to wrap, and a festive film in the background, why not indulge in a little mince pie and an indulgent glass of The Noble Wrinkled Riesling, . Gorgeous; beckoning; irresistible, even if you think you don’t like sweet wine. Luscious, yet refreshing .You know you want to..

    Happy Christmas!

    By Angela Mount

  • Les Mougeottes Chardonnay IGP Pays d'Oc 2014

    Les Mougeottes

    Alan's Wine of the Week Les Mougeottes

    Lightly tropical fruity aromas marry with soft buttery notes. Dry and rounded on the palate with texture, richness and finesse that gives this wine charm and completeness.

    Smells, tastes and looks just like white Burgundy, but at a fraction of the price.

    £9.95
    £9.50

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

  • Wine Words

    What do they all mean?

    There are words that we use in wine that seem like a new language or have a particular meaning. This should help clear up a few things - click to print and you can have it ready for the next time you are tasting wine with friends!

    Wine Words

  • Susy Atkins Talks Christmas

    Last week, Susy Atkins; BBC1 Saturday Kitchen wine presenter, wine editor of the Sunday Telegraph Stella Magazine and also Delicious magazine, came to Bath to host an informal, intimate tasting of a selection of her choices from the Great Western wine list for Christmas.

    Susy has always had a relaxed, down to earth approach to explaining the mysteries of the vinous world, and engaging perfectly with the many audiences she addresses.  She talks about wine in a no-nonsense way, without any of the pomposity that many in our walk of life are often accused of having! She makes her events fun, informative, and gives guests confidence to try new things.

    Ruggeri, Prosecco Brut Quartese DOCGThis evening was no exception; Susy had selected a wide range of wines, covering pretty much all styles and price brackets, and welcomed her guests to the wondrous treasure trove of the Great Western Wine shop with a glass of Ruggeri Prosecco Brut Quartese DOCG NV (£14.95).  This is A list Prosecco, far more intense and complex than most. Why? Spot the letters DOCG – this means that its from the very best vineyards in the region, situated high up on the hills, and made by a family producer who is renowned as one of the very best of all Prosecco producers.  The impact of the Prosecco craze has led to the appearance of a sea of inferior, dull wines from less meticulous wineries, who just want to jump on the bandwagon of its success.  Full of bright, citrus, and ogen melon fruit, its fresh and creamy, with a lovely floral note.  Its at the top of the price range for Prosecco but well worth it, and better than far many cheap Champagnes around the same price. Perfect for Christmas Morning and for parties – impress your guests even further by serving in magnums (£30), which always creates great impact.

    Champagne J-M Gobillard, Brut Grande Réserve Premier CruNext up was one of Susy’s favourites of the evening, and I share her view entirely.  Champagne Gobillard Brut Grande Reserve Premier Cru NV (down to £19.50 for December), is what is known as a ‘grower’ champagne. This means it’s made by the people who grow the grapes, in this case the Gobillard family, who has owned the vineyards for decades, and whose passion and craft is handed down from generation to generation.  Unlike many smaller producers, they don’t sell their grapes to the big Champagne houses and brands, they make it themselves – artisanal, family, special. The Champagne is part of their family. As Susy said '...it’s fresh, and excellent value for money, with complex, rich toasty, yeasty notes and a proper raspberry tang from a good dollop of pinot grapes.' Truly exceptional, and one of the very best Champagnes at under £20 this Christmas.

    Ailala Treixadura Ribeiros Do Avia Moving on to whites, Susy chose 3 very different styles, each of which has a role in the Christmas festivities. First up was a perennial favourite Ailala Treixadura Ribeiros 2013 (£10.95).  A warm, smooth, textured white from the cool, wind-swept region of Galicia in north west Spain. Most people will know Albarinho, the favourite white grape from this region, and Treixadura is less well-known but equally as good. With hints of pink grapefruit, lemon peel, ripe peach, and wild herbs, its modern, smart and full of character, with a bone dry yet fleshy style, and a whiff of sea-salt to liven it up further.  Very versatile, it has enough personality to match to most Christmas fare, and would be particularly good with a Christmas Eve baked salmon, or Boxing Day cold cuts and salads.

    Leyda Sauvignon Reserva Leyda ValleySusy chose a classic party wine next, from the UK's favourite white grape variety – Vina Leyda Reserva Sauvignon blanc 2014 (£7.95). This is from the Leyda Valley, close up to the Chilean Pacific coast, which means the weather is fresher, and at times, extremely cold, a weather pattern that suits the temperamental Sauvignon.  Bright, breezy and crisp, Susy was spot on in her suggestion of this as a Christmas party wine (and it’s a bargain price too) – less overt and intense than some New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, it’s bright, zesty, with a squeeze of fresh lime, and a passionfruit edge – crisp, refreshing and a lovely,breezy antidote for all the rich Christmas food.

    Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc, StellenboschMoving right along the style spectrum, Susy’s final choice of white was the iconic Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc 2013 (£23) – a worthy match to the richness and pomp of the Christmas feast.  From South Africa’s ‘King of Chenin’, Ken Forrester, this is rich, sublime and delicious, with layer upon layer of flavour and character, which will cope well with the myriad of flavours in the stuffings, trimmings, gravy, vegetables etc.  This is still a baby and has years to go, but it was showing beautifully, and Susy pointed out the freshness and zip in the wine. Packed with rich, indulgent, apricot, melon and candied orange fruit, with a hint of honey, it has incredible depth, balance and complexity.

    Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir Mornington PeninsulaNow, onto reds. First up, was a Christmas classic Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir 2013 (£19.95) – Pinot Noir is a classic match for the richness and sweetness of either turkey or goose, and this one certainly fits the bill. As Susy explained, the Pinot Noir grape, is temperamental and a bit of a diva. It’s happiest in cooler wine regions, as in its original home of Burgundy, in northern France. However, its quite at home in the windswept and often rainy territory of the Mornington Peninsula; far south, on the Australian coast, and battered by wind and rain in the winter. This is truly a hand-crafted wine – the viticulturalists and winemakers pick out the very best of the grapes, in each vineyard, to ensure the highest possible quality – painstaking work, but worth it, when you taste this silky, opulent delight.

    ‘Christmas red wines shouldn’t be too heavy’ said Susy ‘ but they need richness, softness, and a good aroma, and this one has it’.  Full of damson, and raspberry fruit, it’s stylish,  seductive, yet fresh and deeply enticing.

    Quinta Do Crasto, Douro SuperiorSusy’s next choice was one of my favourites Quinta do Crasto Douro Superior 2013 (currently reduced to £13.95).  She has visited this most beautiful of wine regions, not long ago, and waxed lyrical about it's majesty, beauty, and supreme calm and stillness.  I can vouch for that – the scenery is spectacular – soaring, steep terraces, with terraced vineyards perched at vertiginous angles – in one of the most quiet, tranquil places on earth. The Douro is most famous for Port; but over the last 15 years, it has quietly built up a phenomenal reputation for top quality red wines. This is a real jumble of grapes, called  a ‘field blend’, but focusing on the Touriga Nacional as the key element.  Its rich, spicy, and full of fig, raisin and chocolate-stashed flavours. Sumptuous, voluptuous and warming, Susy recommended this with richer meats than turkey, so if lamb or beef is on the agenda at any stage, this is the wine to choose– and it would  also be spot on with a slab of local cheddar!  She also gave an early Easter hint, that this would be great with Easter lamb.

    PX, Bella Luna, JerezThe final wine of the evening was a thick, sticky, chestnut brown, mellifluous liquid called  La Luna PX (6.95 for 37.5cl). This is a glorious, dense, dark, treat, which  is the perfect partner to Christmas pud and mince pies. Yes, it’s a sweet sherry; and it’s absolutely fabulous.  Sherry is making a long-overdue revival, both in terms of the tangy, salty dry Finos, and the sweeter styles. This is simply glorious . You only need a small glass, but it’s the perfect small glass with a mince pice, whilst wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, or as an indulgent treat after the hectic Christmas cooking.  Thick, treacly, with the essence of raisins, and rich mocha and toffee notes, Susy was spot on with this choice.

    A fun and relaxed evening, and lots of happy guests… Christmas wines sorted!

    By Angela Mount

     

     

  • Alan's Wine of the Week

    Château Favray, Pouilly Fumé 2014

    Alan's Wine of the Week

    Starting with an aromatic flowery/fruity bouquet and finishing with clean, crisp citrus style fruit, great length and limestone/minerally tones. A round, lush wine - elegantly classic.

    £14.95   £12.95

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

  • Christmas Gift Guide

    Gift Guide

    Looking to tick a few items of the Christmas list? Forget the stressful trawl around the stores, or endless online searches.  A lovely bottle of wine never fails to deliver, but pick wisely, and match your gift to the recipient!  

    Here are my tips for the best gift options from Great Western Wine this festive season...

    For the girl about town... Ferrari Maximum Brut with chiller tin (£19.95) 

    Looks smart, tastes smart.  This award – winning Italian fizz is made with the same grapes and in the same way as Champagne (and better than many of them!).  Elegant, rich, creamy and toasty in flavour, it comes with a smart monochrome, metal chiller tin. True Italian style and guaranteed to make an impression.

    One for the boys... Malbec twin gift pack (£25.70) 

    At the risk of stereotyping, most men like steak; most men also like rich, full-bodied reds. The result – a gift of Malbec, the hottest trend in red wine right now – a twin pack with one bottle from Tomero, one of Argentina’s top producers, and one from South western France, Cahors, the region, which was home of Malbec before Argentina made it famous.

    Impress the teacher

    For him...Late Bottled Vintage Port 2011, Qunita Do  Crasto ( £15.95) 

    Packed in a smart gift box, this is deliciously full, and crammed with rich, Christmassy flavours – prunes, cinnamon, dark chocolate and spice.

    For her...Fiabesto Prosecco Gift ( £12.95)

    Top notch Prosecco, looking stylish in a smart gift box, and tasting fabulous. Your child’s teacher will give you extra gold stars!

    Class present? The Christmas Box (£192)

    I can’t remember the average number of children in a class, but 20 seems to spring to mind. So if you’re clubbing together, donating £10 each, and you are in charge of collecting money, getting cards signed and buying the class present, here’s a quick fix. 3 bottles of Champagne, 3 bottles of a fabulous white Burgundy, 3 bottles of delicious red Burgundy ( perfect for turkey), and one each of top notch Port and Sauternes. Job done.

    Secret Santa

    For her...The Frost Pocket Sauvignon Blanc gift pack (£12.50) 

    You can’t go wrong with this reliable, passionfruit and lime zest –steeped New Zealand Sauvignon, prettily packaged up in a smart gift box.

    For him...Bordeaux gift pack (£13.95) 

    Delicious, soft, fruity classic Claret from the lovely estate of Chateau Sainte Marie. Smart. Sophisticated. Just like your colleague…maybe.

    Impress the boss...Ben Glaetzer The Wallace 2013 (£17.95)

    You can’t fail to impress the boss with this handsome statement of a wine; beautifully packaged, it’s what’s in the bottle that matters most. From one of Australia’s most iconic winemakers, Ben Glaetzer  this is a dark, brooding, rich, yet elegant red from the Barossa, tightly-packed with dense, dark fruit, mocha, warm spice, and a dollop of licorice. Smart;  top quality; polished.

    For Dad...Lot 90 XO Cognac (£55 down to £39.50)

    I think most of us have been guilty of running out of ideas and buying our dads a bottle of whisky or brandy. There’s nothing wrong in that, just make sure it’s a special one. Tesseron produce special blends of ‘lot’ cognacs, where the number on the bottle is the age of the main component. So here you have a 25 year old top notch cognac, lovingly aged and matured in cask to guarantee your position as ‘favourite child’ with your Dad!

    For Mum...Champagne Gobillard and Leonidas chocolates (£39.50) 

    Guaranteed to bring a smile to any mum’s face, especially when the Champagne is as good as this one. Gobillard is a family – owned ( grower) Champagne, which means they make it and sell it themselves, rather than selling the grapes to the big brands. Rich, toasty, creamy, with lots of ripe, berry fruit. Add in some sumptuous Belgian chocolates from top chocolatier Leonidas and the result will be a very happy mum.

    For the sister (or sister in law)...Chase Elegant Gin (£34.50)

    No spirit is cooler than gin right now, and this one is up there with the best. Gorgeous packaging; super-smart gift box; and inside,  a fabulously aromatic gin, full  of botanicals – not just juniper berries, but also infused with apples, elderflower and hops.

    For the brother (or brother in law)...Wiper and True 12 extraordinary artisan beers (£33.60)

    The craze for Craft Ales is set to continue, and what better present for a brother or brother-in-law. From our very own, local , boutique brewery, Wiper & True, a mix of Pale Ale, Small Beer, Amber Ale and Porter. The guys at Wiper & True are alchemists and craftsmen, creating magic and innovation out of hops, malt, yeast and water every day.

    I’m sure there will be lots of presents in store for your loved ones, but here are a couple of other ideas for indulgent ‘stocking fillers’

    If she's the love of your life...Taittinger Champagne Nocturne gift box (£45.00) 

    There’s a party diva in every girl, so indulge her with a bottle of this delightful Champagne, from one of the most prestigious Champagne brands, all decked out in purple, glitter ball glory.

    If he's the love of your life... Dalmore 12 Year old Whisky (£40.00) 

    From the Northern Highlands, this is a rich, smooth, mocha and spice infused malt from a prestigious distillery. Not only does it tastes great, it looks the part as well, with the Dalmore signature stag on both the bottle and the impressive looking gift box.

    If you're proposing this Christmas...Tattinger Champagne & Champagne flutes (£40) 

    This will go very nicely with the ring!  Impress her even more with this beautifully packaged gift set of the lovely, creamy, super-elegant Taittinger Champagne, complete with 2 champagne flutes.

    If she's your best friend...Prosecco & Leonidas chocolates (£28.45) 

    Keep your Best Friend sweet with this lovely gift of top notch Prosecco and a golden box of indulgent Belgian chocolates, from top chocolatier Leonidas. 

    If he's your best friend...Magnum of Marqués de Risal Rioja Reserva 2010 (£34, down to £25)

    Treat your best mate to a magnum of this ripe, smooth, elegant Rioja from one of the best known producers in the region. Perfect for Christmas.

    If money is no object...Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005 (£115)

    If luxury is the key word this Christmas, then look no further than this super-premium iconic Champagne, the flagship of the house of Taittinger. Supremely elegant, refined, creamy, and with a deep, lingering charm, it’s the ultimate in treats.

    By Angela Mount

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