With economics apparently making entertaining at home a “big thing” for 2023, I return to my theme of “a House Wine for your House”.
In selecting one, do as restaurants do and give priority to safe “go-to” bets that will appeal to most of your anticipated guests.
These are unlikely to be wines of astounding complexity but, rather, they should be flexible, easy drinking choices.
Something, in fact, for times when an uncomplicated glassful is all that is needed.
Once you have selected the content of that “glassful” (and Top Tips is a great place to aid that search), think about value and convenience.
That may argue for using one of the many “25% off” multiple buy deals to create a small stock.
Then you are perfectly equipped for impromptu callers – and have a bottle handy to take when it is you that is the visitor.
Today’s two selections seem well positioned for exactly that task, at Christmas and beyond.
In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.
Starting in France
2021 Domaine de la Tourmaline (from £7.49 at Majestic until 13 December and 11.5% abv):
It is really pleasing to see how wines from the Middle or Western Loire are soaring in quality – a combination of enthusiastic winemakers and climate change, I fancy.
For a good illustration of those leaps in quality, seek out this delightfully crafted muscadet.
While quite savoury at fridge temperature (3-5°C is too cold, around 9°C is much better), it does open up into an aromatic white wine exhibiting attractively smooth apple, pear and orange pith favours.
Those elements are supported by nippy lime acidity with sherbet influences and that classic muscadet richness when a wine has been aged on its lees.
Moving now to Portugal
2019 Extra Special Douro (£6 – instead of £6.50 until 1 January – at Asda and 13.5%):
Given their long experience blending ports, it is no surprise that Douro Valley winemakers can skilfully knit grape varieties together.
Here, they have produced something that is more medium bodied than port-like but still optimises the good points of its touriga franca, touriga nacional and tinta roriz constituents.
With floral aromas (and medium bodied as I say), it is centred around nutty, red plum and cherry flavours.
These are coupled with baking spice and vanilla components, good acidity and tannin that is well constrained.
See you again on Thursday when my Christmas coverage resumes with suggestions on ideal white wines for festive lunch tables.
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