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Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster and The Jockey Club’s resident wine and food pairings expert, tips up the best festive fizz for the season.

 

It wouldn’t be Christmas without some bubbles to toast the festivities. So, whether you’re looking for a light and refreshing glass whilst opening presents under the tree, a fabulous fizz to get the party started, or a delicious drop for that special meal, below are some of my favourite sparkling wines to make Christmas extra special this year.

Photo credit: Nyetimber

Try Prince Alexandre Crémant de Loire AOC. This is a gentle style of French regional sparkling wine, made with a blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. Typical apple and pear characters of Chenin Blanc are married here with an appealing ripeness and freshness, giving it a real moreish quality. A great choice on its own or with light bites and mild cheeses.

 

Available from Waitrose £12.99

Cava from Spain offers many zesty wines too. Codorniu Cava Brut NV is a perfect example of this sparkling style and is made using the three classic Cava varietals, Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Parellada. With aromas of apples and a palate of crisp, citrussy fruit, this Cava is the perfect wake-up call for your taste buds. Wonderful with Christmas canapés.

 

Available from Sainsbury’s £8

 

Onto Italy now, and two Proseccos which have really caught my eye in the last year since Prosecco Rosé became an officially recognised style:

 

Ruggeri Argeo Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato 2020 Brut is made from Glera and Pinot Noir. It displays a lovely combination of redcurrant and raspberry fruit, with a soft silky and refreshing finish. Excellent for aperitivo time, in cocktails or with a range of canapés and light spicy dishes.

 

Available from The Great Wine Co £13.95

 

Villa Sandi II Fresco Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato 2020 Brut. Here the Glera and Pinot Noir blend delivers cherry fruit and floral notes, with the elegance and intricacy that is a hallmark of the Villa Sandi style. Perfect for the festive period and lovely with seafood or smoked salmon.

 

Available from Bellavita Shop £14.99

In South Africa the sunny climate helps to create beautifully fruit-driven styles of sparkling wine like this lovely pink, Graham Beck Brut Rosé Cap Classique NV which is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from across the Western Cape. Aromas of light red fruit such as cherry and raspberry lead to red berry and redcurrant on the palate, finishing crisp and fresh. Try it with devils on horseback with cranberry sauce.

 

Available from Majestic £16.99

Look to cool climate regions of Australia too for delicious sparkling wines such as Jansz Brut Premium Cuvée NV from Tasmania. This is a perfect blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which is rich, yet elegant with a subtle nuttiness delivering a really satisfying glass of wine. The finish is crisp, dry, refreshing and long. Its depth of flavour is a good match for turkey.

 

Available from Slurp £19.95

 

The UK has some wonderful sparkling wines, and here are two of my favourites which are sure to make the festivities go with a swing:

Photo credit: Nyetimber

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Coates & Seely Brut Reserve NV, Hampshire is a class act. Poised, balanced and inimitably stylish, this Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier blend will bring a certain elegance to any Christmas occasion. A lovely pairing with a range of festive canapés including Barkham Blue cheese & walnut salsa on red chicory specially created by Virginia Coates.

 

Available from Lea & Sandeman £32.95

NYETIMBER_rOSE_1.jpg

Nyetimber Rosé Multi-Vintage, West Sussex, Hampshire is a superb multi-layered, light red berry and spice delight with a creamy texture and long, elegant, silky finish, crafted by award winning winemaker Cherie Spriggs. This is lovely with fish and seafood platters and dainty party bites.

 

Available from Nyetimber £42

 

Finally, bring on the Champagne and three wonderful wines which I recommend for special festive moments, large or small:

 

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Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial, Champagne

Serve this intensely fruity Champagne over ice to get the full experience of super ripe tropical flavours and a mouth-watering freshness. Perfectly palate puckering and supremely cool on its own or with pastry canapés served with mango chutney.

 

Available from The Whisky Exchange, Waitrose, Harvey Nichols £45.00 - £57.50 

Moet-Imperial.jpg

 

Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial NV, Champagne

Chef de Cave Benoît Gouez has created such a lovely, balanced soft, refreshing and approachable style of Brut Imperial, which is a perfect match for so many dishes on the festive table.

 

Available from Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, all major retailers £38.00 - £44.50

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Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé NV, Champagne

 In 1818, Madame Clicquot invented the first known blended Rosé Champagne and today you can enjoy the lovely red fruits and the rich, voluptuous style, which is synonymous with Veuve Clicquot. A beautifully crafted Rosé Champagne and the perfect palate refreshment with a sophisticated Christmas buffet of dainty turkey sandwiches, bite-sized quiche, cold meats and salads.

 

Available from Tesco, Majestic, Ocado £47.00 - £55.00

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