Christmas wines that won’t break the bank

Posted on: 07 December 2012 by Gareth Hargreaves

Excellent wines for Christmas that defy their budget pricing

Festive winesAs December races by, your thoughts have probably turned to Christmas and the wines and drinks you will be sharing over the festive season.

We recognise money is tight at the moment, so we've tried to put together a selection that offers both good value and real quality.

The wines selection has been put together to offer a range of options for different occasions with everything from aperitif to dessert wines and brandy. We hope you find this useful and share with us any bargains we have missed.

Red wines


Bordeaux Superior Bordeaux Superior

Attractive fruity mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot brings all the colour and richness of raspberry and blackberry with a hint of spice complementing a gentle background tannin.

A very palatable wine which shows illustrates the improvement in French wines over the past 15 years. Another winner from the stellar Aldi wine range, available in most stores at a very reasonable £4.99.

Rating 3 out of 5



Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva

Deliciously warm and intensely fruity Rioja. Aged for three years in oak barrels this classic Rioja Reserva was 2012 International Wine Challenge Bronze medalist with good reason. Dark blood red in colour and dominated by intense plummy fruit.

Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva 2006  is an enjoyable, easy-drinking, wine at an attractive price.

At £5.99 an absolute bargain. Highly recommended.

Rating 5 out of 5


Chateau Civrac Element 2010 Chateau Civrac, Element 2010

100% Merlot, but made in a light and fruity style. Light body, and light tannin. Easy-going but absolutely spot-on and decidedly better than many low-priced Merlots, offering a very decent level of complexity. Hailing from the Cotes de Bourg appellation (Bordeaux) it is a happy fusion of old world character and new world know how.

Available from Chateau Civrac.

Rating 3 out of 5




Chateau Bouissel Classic Chateau Bouissel Classic

Heavy Negrette, complemented by Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch of Malbec. Full bodied with lots of fruit, this is a wine which effortlessly delivers zesty acidity and ripe tannins. Beautifully balanced 'drink now' (which will keep 3 to 5 years if you are patient enough) that is suitable for all occasions. South West France in a bottle.

Expect to pay approx £8.99 from Chateau Bouissel.

Rating 3.5 out of 5




Noster Nobilis Noster Nobilis

Smooth Spanish wine from the La Perla del Priorat winery, one of the Priorat region's oldest vineyards. Founded by Carthusian monks in 15th-century its wines have enjoyed consistent popularity. The Noster Nobilis is a balanced blend of Grenache, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon – none of the brashness of New World reds, but well worth a try.

ASDA £6.95

Rating 3.5 out of 5



Bolney Estate Lychgate Red Bolney estate - Lychgate Red 2009

Last but not least for the reds is the award winning Lychgate Red from Bolney Estate in Kent. This one really flies the flag for UK wine producers and illustrates the giant strides that have been made by home producers. While it may be a British wine its inspiration lies far from the Sceptered Isle. Made from Dornfelder and Rondo grapes it has a heady bouquet of red fruits and earthiness; juicy without resorting to the syruppy tang of some young wines. This is medium bodied warming dry red wine.

Price £12.50 from Bolney Estate and specialist wine shops.

Rating 3 out of 5



White wines

Bordeaux Blanc Bordeaux Blanc 2011

Served hard chilled this refreshing grapefruit-driven blend of Sauvignon and Semillon lacks some of the acidity of traditional Bordeaux – though at £4.19 it is a very smart wine indeed. Available from Aldi.

Rating 4 out of 5




Freeman's Bay Freeman's Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011

A crisp, zesty New World wine which doesn't quite match the quality of some of its Aldi stable mates. We were split over this one, it is a pleasant drink for sure but, as a new world wine, there is plenty of competition out there and at £5.49 it perhaps doesn't do quite enough.

Rating 3 out of 5





De Bortoli De Bortoli Chardonnay

Lovely mellow bouquet of fruit and oak. A wine which has been created to be enjoyed young; subtle natural acidity gives way to smooth hints of peach and melon. Another wine under a fiver that is well worth a punt this Christmas.

Available from ASDA.

Rating 3 out of 5




Champagne, Prosecco and sparkling wines

Champagne Jacquart Cuvee Mosaique Champagne Jacquart Cuvee Brut Mosaique

Top of the pile in the fizz class is the Jacquart Mosaique. The press blurb promised 'a bouquet of fresh pear, fig and almond, with hints of orange blossom make this champagne perfect for Christmas!' We are not quite as eloquent but can honestly say this is a super drink. Light golden in colour with small, even bubbles, fresh on the palate offering a perfect balance between fruity flavours and crisp acidity.

Expect to pay around £25

Rating 4.5 out 5


ASDA Extra Special Brut Prosecco


ASDA Extra Special Brut Prosecco

Light quaffable sparkling wine with a distinct apple palate. Good value at
£7.98 but could do with being a bit sharper.

Available from 4 December at ASDA.

Rating 3 out of 5





Monsigny Brut Monsigny Brut

An elegant sharp and clean Brut that will have you questioning why you paid so much for those other bottles you have bought throughout the year. A very good champagne for the price – four hardly does it justice. 

Rating 4 out of 5





Blue Nun Gold EditionBlue Nun Gold Edition

Sparkling wine containing 22 carat gold leaf flakes has plenty of initial fizz and great novelty value but struggles alongside the competition of New World wines such as Jacob Creek. May amuse your guests though not for long.

RRP £7.99

Rating 2 out of 5





Asti - The Wine Selection at ASDA Asti – The Wine Selection at ASDA

As the bottle says: 'a moreishly sweet sparkling white bursting with ripe grape flavours'. There is very little to add – like summer in a glass (at Christmas).

Widely available, expect to pay around £5.

Rating 3 out of 5  




Dessert wines

PacherencPacherenc du Vic-Bilh

Sweet with a medium body, Pacherenc du VicBilh is a modern take on an 18th century wine. Making use of late harvested Gascon grapes, the producers deliver a sweet wine of concentrated flavours which brings caramel and fruits along with pleasant citric acidity.

Rating 2 out of 5




Sauternes Sauternes 2009

Very sweet but balanced Sauternes 2009 vintage. A golden aromatic dessert wine dominated by semillon from the Barzac commune. Split opinion during our tasting but a worthy inclusion on this list.

Available via The Wine Society £5.99

Rating 3 out of 5






Taylors Late Bottled Port Taylor’s late bottled vintage port 2007

£13.99 widely available

Intensely fruity, heavy berried mid range port. Not the most sophisticated of palates but a pleasant drink for the festive season. Taylor's late bottled port is available at Majestic and most good shops.

Rating 3 out of 5





Fletchers Ruby Port Fletchers Ruby Port

£5.99 available in all stores

Rich, oaky and intensely fruity with a wonderful ruby colour. This is budget level port which punches way above its weight. At £5.99 a must-have for the Christmas larder.

Rating 4 out 5


Fonseca Vintage Port Fonseca Guimaraens 1996 Vintage Port

A 1996 vintage port from the excellent Fonseca house, this helpfully comes with a little funnel for when you're decanting it. One of our biggest hits at Christmas, this is terrific stuff for the money.

Available from Waitrose, expect to pay around £26.

Rating 4.5 out of 5






Spirits and liqueurs

British Cassis Jo Hilditch British Cassis

This Great Taste 2012 gold medal winner is an intensely rich Herefordshire Cassis. Brilliant as a part of your festive Kir Royale, but be sure to use a dry champagne as the blackcurrent will dominate.

Available from and selected stores across the UK.

Rating 4 out of 5


Grand Marnier 2012 Limited Edition Grand Marnier 2012 Limited Edition

Luxurious liqueur in limited edition 'Paris' bottles. Marrying tropical orange flavours with cognac, Marnier Cordon Rouge is an elegant and distinctive drink on its own. However, it is also has great range and mixes well into any number of cocktails, long drinks and coffees. Available from specialist Whisky shops and Harvey Nichols.

Rating 4 out of 5

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