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James Allen spreads a little Christmas cheers!

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James Allen

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Season’s Greetings to you all.

Christmas is almost upon us and I’ve selected some interesting and very nice wines from our local wine merchants.

Pairing food and wine at Christmas is really difficult. While the turkey would suit a lighter red such as a Pinot Noir or even a full-bodied white like a lightly-oaked Chardonnay, there are obviously other, stronger flavours around such as stuffing, chestnuts, bacon and sausages.

Probably the best rule here is simply to drink the wine you like.

Champagne Pierre Boever, Grand Cru
Sublime Grand Cru Champagne
The Naked Grape, Hungerford. Two for £60 (or £39.99 a bottle)


Les Parcelles Sauvignon, Loire Valley, France
Sancerre-style Sauvignon Blanc showing a beautiful finesse and balance
The Naked Grape, Hungerford. Two for £20 (or £12.99 a bottle)

Lunari Civitas Pecorino, Terre die Chieti, Italy
Perfumed super-fresh tropical fruits with a core of fresh kiwi and nectarine fruits
The Naked Grape, Hungerford. £16.99

Ruminat Primitivo, Puglia, Italy
Pure black fruits, beguiling texture and intensity. Showing a deep, warm texture and powerful yet very drinkable palate 
The Naked Grape, Hungerford. £16.99

Pierre Vaudon Brut Premier Cru NV
Non vintage Pierre Vaudon is a versatile, vivacious wine. Pinot Noir grapes from Grand Cru vineyards make up 75% of the blend, bringing a real structure and depth of flavour. Matured in the bottle for 36 months, this is a harmonious, shortbread-scented, silky-smooth champagne
Haynes Hanson & Clark, Whitchurch. £30.15 per bottle (plus 10% case discount)

Château Tour Bel-Air, Montagne Saint Emilion 2014
From vineyards located 5km north of the town of Saint-Emilion, this is an elegant, full-yet-lively, cherry and cassis scented wine. The finish is supple, bouncy and refreshing
Haynes Hanson & Clark, Whitchurch. £13.15 per bottle (plus 10% case discount)

Côte de Brouilly, Domaine Gilbert Chetaille 2016
The 2016 has a beautifully bright, purple-ruby colour, with enticing raspberry-scented aromas. The palate is medium bodied and vibrantly flavoured, recalling pure, crunchy red berries
Haynes Hanson & Clark, Whitchurch. £12.65 per bottle (plus 10% case discount)

Bodegas LAN Rioja Vina Lanciano Reserva
The bouquet of ripe, red and black fruits is enhanced by herbal notes of mint and fennel. The palate is silky and elegant, showcasing ripe fruits and finely integrated tannins
Innathome, Newbury. £26.95

Château Lamothe-Bouscaut, Pessac-Léognan Blanc
The nose offers fresh citrus and floral notes. Well-rounded on the palate, with grapefruit and pineapple flavours. The oak is subtle and well-integrated, giving the wine body and balance
Innathome, Newbury. £28.95

Dandelion Vineyards, Red Queen of the Eden Valley, Shiraz
A complex, dark, brooding character, red and black fruits, pepper and spice, with liquorice and tar on the nose. Elegant tannins and lingering acidity help extend the finish and the overall balance is impeccable
Innathome, Newbury. £46.95

Chateau Peyreblanque, 2014 Graves
Unusually for a white Bordeaux this contains no Sauvignon Blanc. It is made with 80 per cent Muscadelle and 20 per cent Sauvignon Gris. If you start off your Christmas dinner with a plate of smoked salmon, try this instead of champagne, the combination of acidity and toasty oak with this white wine and the smoky, oily salmon is a match made in heaven 
Grapesmith, Barr’s Yard, Hungerford. £18.90

Chateau Beau-Site 2010, St Estephe
2010 was an all-time great vintage, and wines from St Estephe notoriously need some bottle age before drinking at their best. This is now drinking beautifully, dark fruits mingling with a lovely unctuous richness that lingers on the palate
Grapesmith, Barr’s Yard, Hungerford. £22.40

Chateau Cassagne Haut-Cannon, 2006, Canon-Fronsac
From a small estate rated ‘very good’ by Robert Parker, this little known gem offers gorgeous ripe fruit just starting to give way to complex, leather and spice notes
Laithwaites, Theale. £17.99

Salatin Millesimato 2016 Valdobbiadene DOCG, Italy
With two Golds and 94 Points from The Prosecco Masters, Salatin Millesimato is real step up in sparkling wine. From one of the finest cru areas for the fizz, it is bursting with apple fruitiness with hints of jasmine
Laithwaites, Theale. £13.99

All of the wine is pictured above in the gallery at the top.

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