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Wines in the press December 17-19

Published:  21 December, 2010

The Guardian
As this is the last column before the new year, it seems only fitting to talk about Champagne, says Fiona Beckett. Or is it?

As Champagne has always been more about what's on the label than in the bottle she thinks in terms of value for money, there are better ways to celebrate.Which? reported recently, supermarket own-label fizz often tastes just as good as, if not better than, the grandes marques and Beckett recommends Waitrose's Special Reserve 2002 ( £22.99). In an informal blind tasting Beckett conducted, one person thought Moët was Prosecco, another that a Saumur Brut was Champagne. One of the tasters' favourites was a growers' Champagne Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut (on promotion at £24.95, Hennings Wine of Sussex). In terms of English alternatives Beckett recommends, Ridgeview Marksman Brut (£22, Marks & Spencer). For sparkling wine she opts for Cava Torre Oria Brut (£8.99, Oddbins), Jansz from Tasmania (£12.99) and Lindauer Brut Rosé (£9.99).

The Independent

Anthony Rose was watching the downshift challenge on Daybreak TV, when Martin Lewis said drop one brand level lower and you can save 40%, because people are fooled at Christmas into thinking they must have the best. But while it may be worth saving on basic brands, when it comes to wine, it's a false economy not to take the upshift challenge and enhance the enjoyment, he says. When ample supplies of fizz are required to get you in the festive mood, Cava is often the obvious choice because it's cheap, Rose recommends the Okhre Natur Organic Cava, £9.99, M&S. He thinks it's worth the extra for its "deliciously dry, appley bite and fresh mousse". For fish starters, Rose says Chablis Fourchaume, 1er Cru, Domaine Séguinot-Bordet, £19.95, Berry Bros & Rudd (0800 280 2440), will take you into another realm of complexity and the Château Feytit Clinet 2006, ( £35), will do wonders for the turkey.

The Telegraph

It's ironic that, we may spend hours prepearing the Christmas dinner, but the wine is often last minute, and the danger is that almost anything can end up on the table, says Susy Atkins. To prevent that happening bang down something appealing and apt on the table, fast, she adds. For the roast turkey dish by Diana Henry, white Burgundy has all the attributes needed. Sherry trifle is wine-friendly, but Atkins finds guests prefer a glass of slightly lighter, golden dessert wine. She recommends Joseph Drouhin Rully 2008, Premier Cru, Burgundy, France (Waitrose, £14.49) and Sainsbury's Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois, France (£4.48 for 37.5cl), which is refreshing but fully sweet, with orange marmalade and light caramel.

The Mail

Olly Smith is snowed in and is working his way through bottles of sherry, a drink he thinks is beautifully suited to keeping snug. You may think it's strictly for grannies, but I'm no granny and I love the stuff, he says. Many chefs are fans - including Heston Blumenthal - and Smith thinks it's well worth rediscovering the treasures on offer. In his opinion the perfect introduction is La Gitana Manzanilla that is widely available for under a tenner (£7.99, Then you can ratchet up the richness to a dry and nutty, Amontillado. Oloroso, he says is an "amazing" style of sherry that comes both dry and sweet and recommends the dry Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 12-Year-Old Oloroso Sherry (£6.86). The sweetest of all sherries and a match for Christmas pudding is Pedro Ximénez and Smith chooses Harveys Pedro Ximénez VORS 50cl, (Waitrose £20.49), Alvear PX Solera, (Oddbins £10.99) and Gonzalez Byass Noe, (Harvey Nichols £19.99).