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Wines in the press, December 7-10

Published:  10 December, 2012

The Guardian

Fiona Beckett is looking at red wines to have with Christmas dinner - and because Christmas is as much about mood as about food, she says the temptation is to pick a wine to impress, rather than one that will work with the turkey.

At this time of year supermarkets wheel out offers on Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rioja - out of the four, Beckett thinks Châteauneuf works best, although it sometimes fails to deliver all the label promises. Steer away from recognisable names, and you'll get equal pleasure from a good Côtes du Rhône such as Ogier's Rasteau Côtes du Rhone Villages (£9.39 in 24 Booths stores), she says. Rioja, is not the first bottle Beckett would turn to with turkey, but she recommends the "brilliant offer" on CVNE Imperial Rioja Reserva 2004 (Co-op 14.99). While Pinot Noir is often touted with turkey, Beckett tends to find its delicate fruit decimated by the sharpness and sweetness of cranberry sauce. She prefers a New World Pinot to Burgundy such as the "lush" Peregrine Pinot Noir Central Otago (Majestic £19.99 instead of £25 if you buy two or more).

The Observer

David Williams chooses two festive bargains and a very special wine for Christmas day. House Dessert Wine, Rheinhessen, Germany NV (£3.99, Sainsbury's) is his first choice. Mixing Riesling, Rivaner and Sylvaner grape varieties, this may not have the soaring purity of the best German sweet white wines, at four quid, who's complaining? He says. Les Jamelles Reserve Mourvèdre, IGP Pays d'Oc, France 2011 (£5.49, reduced from £6.99, The Co-operative) is just remarkable value for money, in his opinion.  He says the intense and layered southern French red made from Mourvèdre, shows off some really fragrant blackberry and a certain sweet spiciness. Lastly, Lacoste Borie, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France 2009 (£19.99, Tesco) is the second wine from the "excellent" Château Grand Puy Lacoste and is drinking beautifully now.

The Sunday Telegraph

Anyone inclined to show off with a special bottle of red on Christmas Day should heed a warning: mature, oaky or tannic wines may have their impressive qualities, but they don't go with the classic turkey course with all the trimming, says Susy Atkins. Instead she recommends heading south to warm French wine-making regions for smooth, ripe styles such as southern French Syrah, Grenache or Mourvèdre, or for Côtes du Rhône Villages. Atkins also says don't feel the need to have to splash out, as simpler, early-drinking styles suit the turkey and trimmings better than premium cuvées. Ditto the Australian Shiraz-Cabernet blends and Chilean Merlots. If you want the wine to be a talking-point, you could go for a more unusual Californian red Zinfandel. A proper red 'zin' has a delectably ripe but succulent raspberry and cassis note, with a sprinkle of black pepper, and works a treat with the full turkey spread. Atkins suggests trying Les Jamelles Réserve Mourvèdre 2011, Pays d'Oc, France (Co-op £6.99) or Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel 2010, Lodi, California (Waitrose, £12.99).

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW has culled a selection of wines from the 10,000 she tastes each year, to bring a selection of distinctive, superior and ready to drink wines, scoring 17/20 (a very high mark on her scale). She begins in Spain with Castaño, Heredad del Rey Selección Reservada 2010 Yecla which she says is a "brilliant value" wine from high altitude vineyards in the Spanish Levante (£6.94 Waitrose). Mirambelo 2010 Peza is made from Kotsifali and Mandilaria grapes grown on Crete and Robinson says it give a hugely distinctive wine with the scents of dried laurel leaves and no excess sweetness. This bone-dry fine wine is not that intense but complex, distinctive and interesting. (£9.25 Oddbins). From Australia she chooses Walter Clappis, The Hedonist Shiraz 2010 McLaren Vale which she describes as polished, fun, and pure. What's not to like? She says. (£12.99 Waitrose).