With Christmas fast approaching, Christine Austin scours the aisles for her top wine choices.

Here is my selection of the best white wines to make your Festive Season go well. There are wines for easy drinking, wines to enjoy around the table and a few to hide away until the house is quiet and you have time to sip something special.  My choice of red wines and fizz will follow in the next couple of weeks.

Not everything I have selected is on offer – some wines are really worth their full price.

Here are my top 20 Festive wines.

£8 and Under

Soave 2017, Spar £5.50

Astonishing value in this light, floral, citrus and herbs style of wine. Quality well above its price point.

Grillo 2017, Sicily, Spar £6

The range of wines at Spar has been transformed in the last 12 months and now offers terrific flavours at good value prices.  This wine is made from the Grillo grape from Sicily that used to be made into Marsala but since that market has faded away, the citrus and almond flavoured grapes are made into table wine that has enough weight and texture to pair with chicken, creamy pasta and grilled fish.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico 2017, Tesco £6

Stylish in its curvy amphora-shaped bottle, this is fresh and lively with a sprinkle of herbs on the palate. Pour alongside a winter salad or freshly cooked mussels in white wine.

The Best Rioja Blanco, Marqués los Ríos 2017, Spain, Morrisons down from £7.50 to £6.50 until 1 January

The white version of Rioja made from crisp-tasting Viura grapes, aged for just a short while in oak to give peachy fruit, backed by light vanilla notes.  If there are olives on the plate, this will match perfectly.

Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling 2017, Australia, Aldi £6.99

Crisp and shot through with lime, lemon and crunchy green apple flavours, this is good as an aperitif, or it can accompany Thai-spiced fish cakes, smoked salmon or sashimi.

Taste the Difference Fairtrade Azana White 2017, South Africa, 13.5%, Sainsbury, down from £9 to £7 until 11 December

This comes from Bosman, one of the most Fairtrade of Fairtrade properties in South Africa. Chenin Blanc dominates the blend, so there are crisp apples and honeysuckle in the background with Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier adding complexity and depth. Try it with pork or creamy pasta dishes.

The Best Trentino Pinot Grigio 2017, Italy,  Morrisons £7

Grown in the cool-climate Trentino region, this has pears, crisp apples and a touch of nectarine with a crisp finish.

Finest Pecorino 2017, Tesco, £7

Bright citrus fruit and a rounded, food-friendly style make this a perfect wine to pour alongside prawns, calamari and creamy pasta.

£8 to £12

Fruit Orchestra Chenin Blanc Viognier 2018, South Africa, Co-op £8

Fresh tasting and full of apricot, peach and honey notes with an easy-drinking style. Pour this alongside a Christmas buffet and it will be a winner.

Les Canots Picpoul de Pinet 2017, Languedoc, France, Waitrose £8.49

Crisp and fresh like a Sauvignon without the gooseberry notes, Picpoul is a great alternative as an aperitif or to accompany fish and shellfish. Bone dry with grapefruit and green apple flavours with a definite a minerally tang.

The Doctor’s Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, Booths £9.25

With just 9.5% alcohol against the more usual 12.5% this is a lighter, more refreshing style of Sauvignon Blanc, with all the usual zippy herbaceous flavours.  There have been no clever chemical tricks to get lower alcohol, just careful control of viticulture and ripening.

Finest Limarí Valley Chardonnay 2017, Chile, Tesco £10

Hiding behind a Tesco own-label is an elegant, balanced Chardonnay from one of Chile’s top winemakers.  It comes from the ocean-hugging region of Limarí where breezes keep temperatures down and flavours bright and fresh.  With ripe melon and pear fruit and just a hint of creamy complexity this is perfect to go with roast chicken.

Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough, New Zealand, Waitrose £14.99 down to £10 until 12 December

Part of the exceptional promotion at Waitrose where 10 wines normally retailing between £14 and £18 are knocked down to £10, just for a few days. This wine has delicious lifted gooseberry and pink grapefruit flavours.

Laureatus Albariño 2017, Rías Baixas, Spain, Martinez Wines £10.79

Floral aromas with peach, tangerine and lemongrass flavours backed by crisp acidity. Normally £13.49, this is on offer until the end of December.

Gavi di Gavi 2017, Piedmont, Italy, Marks and Spencer £12

Fresh-tasting, white flower aromatics with notes of peach, lime and honeyand a crisp, crunchy almost-minerally edge.


£12 to £20

Pikes Clare Valley Riesling 2017, South Australia, Field and Fawcett £12.75

A sensational Riesling with light floral aromas, zesty, lime and grapefruit flavours and a clear minerally crunch. This is perfect with prawns, grilled sea bass or fish and chips.  Delicious now, but will keep 5 years.

Macon-Lugny Saint-Pierre 2017, Burgundy, Bouchard Pere et Fils, Campbell’s of Leyburn £12.99

From one of the region’s top producers this is a classic white Burgundy that will accompany your turkey with ease.  It will also go well with baked salmon, or chicken in a creamy sauce. Also available at Roberts and Speight in Beverley and Penistone Wine Cellars.

Bellingham ‘The Bernard Series’ Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2017, Western Cape, South Africa, Majestic £13.49, down to £10.99 on a mix six deal

Old vines are the new story from South Africa where old vineyards yield tiny quantities of delicious, concentrated, individual flavours.  This is all tropical fruit, citrus,  peaches and cream.  Try it with pork.

Chablis 2015, Magnum, Marks and Spencer down from £23 to £18 until 31 December

Perfect for a dinner party, containing 12 glasses of wine, this magnum of Chablis comes from La Chablisienne, the excellent co-operative in the heart of the Chablis region.  Classic in style with bright, crunchy apple aromas, citrus fruit and a lean, minerally finish.

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2016, Auckland, New Zealand, Harrogate Wines, £19.99

Often measured against top-fight Burgundy with very favourable results, this small estate is gradually being surrounded by an expanding Auckland so make sure you taste the wines before the land is built on.   This wine has finesse, complexity and a quality far beyond its price tag.




About The Author

Christine is a wine writer, broadcaster and a wine judge for several international wine competitions. She has a technical background and spent five years as a buyer for a major supermarket before moving to wine writing.She writes for The Yorkshire Post Magazine and organises the York Festival of Food and Drink. She has won both the Lanson and the Roederer prizes for wine writing.

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