Get ready for the festive wine season

Get ready for the festive wine season 2023.Maybe it’s an age thing, but Christmas seems to come round quicker and quicker every year. One minute it’s summer and the next we’re out hunting for Christmas trees and planning festive meals, be they for small numbers or large.

This year in particular, everyone feels like they need at least one small gift and a decent bottle of wine is always appreciated, whether you buy it yourself or receive it as a gift. There is also the eternal problem of what to buy. My own feeling is that shopping over the festive period has become somewhat excessive. Without exaggeration, however, a well-chosen gift, whether for oneself or for others, is a welcome part of the celebratory period. Wine has become an integral part of the festivities and serves a number of purposes at this time of year. The Wine Society, now widely recognized as the UK’s foremost wine club (undoubtedly my own opinion), can satisfy all your festive wine needs in one fell swoop.

Not only do they have a wide range of wines at very reasonable prices, but this year there is also a wide range of Christmas gift selections. With a new policy of free delivery, regardless of order size, choosing and sending a much-appreciated gift of wine suddenly became a lot easier.

A gift of membership to The Wine Society is, for any wine lover, a great gift in itself, costing just £40 for lifetime membership – and more! It works like a cooperative, each member owns one share, which can be passed on to their heirs through inheritance. The range of wine gifts is wider than ever, including such joys as ‘Champagne and Chocolates’ at £39, or a bottle of Saumur Brut de Gratien et Meyer with luxurious Italian chocolates at £26.

Port and Stilton, Smoked Salmon and White Burgundy, Festive Treat Box, Dow’s 30 Year Old Reddish Port, the list is endless with prices from £17 to £245. Fabulous gifts for friends and family, although some selections are perhaps the best to treat yourself. One of them is the Ultimate Christmas Day Case, with 6 perfect bottles on offer at £169.

Start the day with a glass of Alfred Gratien Vintage 2012 Champagne, an exceptional vintage for this elegant and deeply flavored Champagne. Toasted notes of brioche blend with refreshing Granny Smith apple acidity and a long finish. Step up to a white burgundy with your entry: Domaine François d’Allaines’ 2019 Santenay Les Bras. One of the lesser known Burgundy appellations and therefore excellent value for money. Creamy and buttery Chardonnay with well-integrated oak flavors from the fermentation and maturation in barrels.

After the “main event”, there is a choice between a wonderfully attractive and balanced 2016 claret from Saint Julien and a full and fruity 2020 Rhone from Chateauneuf du Pape. Chateau Peymartin is the second wine from the renowned Chateau Gloria, made from younger vines but with the same mastery. A perfect claret for roast turkey. Taste the fuller flavors of ripe fruit and spices of Chateauneuf with a Beef Wellington or Venison Leg. Settle into an easy chair after lunch with a glass of Fonseca Guimaraens 2008 Port, deep and rich fruit, with hints of mocha and molasses. When you’re ready for a light ham dinner, dry white wine from the Loire from Montlouis fits the bill. Domaine de la Taille aux Loups 2020. Beautifully crafted, first class chenin blanc, with great complexity and length.

A selection of wines designed to be enjoyed in style on Christmas Day.

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