Pick from good-value supermarket reds and whites, a brilliant own-label champagne, cheap yet cheerful fizz and a gorgeous port – our best buys for the festive season.
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1. Tesco Finest PX Sherry
It’s sherry, but not as you know it. This is an exceptionally sweet, molasses-dark, rich drink that tastes of liquidised raisins and black treacle. Serve over ice cream like the De Bortoli Pudding Wine in our boozy gift guide.
Buy from Tesco (£6, 37.5cl)
2. Tesco Finest Cotes de Gascogne Plaimont Producteurs 2017 France
Juicy, like biting into a pink grapefruit; and crisp, like a green apple. This white from Gascony is made from the colombard and gros manseng grapes. It’s a good sauvignon blanc alternative – and it makes fab spritzers.
Buy from Tesco (£6.50)
3. Taste the Difference Languedoc Rouge 2017 France
The red sibling of the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Languedoc White is also made by Domaines Paul Mas, and it’s equally good value – a figgy blend of grenache, syrah and carignan. Handy in the kitchen.
Buy from Sainsbury’s (£7)
4. Cuvée Royale Brut NV Crémant de Limoux, France
Limoux is a beautiful region, situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees, renowned for its extremely good sparkling wine. This is made in the same way as champagne, using two of the same grapes (chardonnay and pinot noir) plus a little (bracing) chenin blanc. Think digestive biscuits with orchard fruit and zesty lemon.
Buy from Waitrose & Partners, (£11.99)
5. Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port 2013 Portugal
The trick to getting the most out of port is to pour it on a cold night to enjoy its rich prune, cedar and spicy flavours.
Buy from Waitrose & Partners (£16.99)
6. Albacea Jumilla Monastrell 2017 Spain
A mighty red, bold in flavour (blackberries, blueberries and wood spice) and alcohol (it’s 15% but doesn’t feel it) and made from old vine monastrell. Superb.
Buy from selected Co-op stores (£10)
7. Les Pionniers Champagne Brut NV France
Consistently one of the best own-label champagnes around, this is always a treat to pour. If you can trade up to the vintage at £26.99 then do – it’s worth it. But both are excellent.
Buy from selected Co-op stores (£18.99)
8. Château Teyssier 2012 Montagne Saint-Emilion France
Doesn’t everyone want a splash-out red to sip over the holidays? It is Christmas after all. Sumptuous (this is mainly merlot, with 12% cabernet sauvignon and 2% cabernet franc) and effortless to drink. There’s a lot of wine for your money here.
Buy from Berry Bros & Rudd (£18.50)
9. Hill-Smith Estate Chardonnay 2017 Eden Valley, Australia
There is something very moreish about contemporary Australian chardonnay. Think oatmeal and bright lemon, and bring out the smoked salmon.
Buy from Waitrose & Partners (£11.99)
10. Taste the Difference Languedoc Blanc Grenache-Marsanne-Vermentino 2017 France
A favourite house white of mine for some time. Vermentino brings a hint of fresh green, the grenache a soft texture, and marsanne, very subtle hints of apricots and almond blossom.
Buy from Sainsbury’s (£6.25)
This review was last updated in November 2018. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.