Festive wines and the choices

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There’s a host of wines on offer this week, so the options for Christmas are far and wide. With the release of the great Beaujolais nouveau range coming late last month, the thoughts of sampling the delights of the 100 per cent gamay grape wines is something that pleases many.

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As the nights grow darker and longer, people across the country are settling down in front of the fire with a glass of a juicy Cru as the perfect match to their evening meal. Sublime served gently chilled, these lighter bodied red wines have a sumptuous, fruity aroma and an appetising acidity followed by a refreshing rush in the mouth – a touch of summer in the darkness of winter.

Here’s a pick of the best for winter nights or the Christmas table. All wines are available through local stockists and independent retailers.

By Beaujolais

1) Moulin-à-Vent Les Michelons 2007 Louis Latour * Bronze medal IWC 2007

Les Michelons is a single vineyard chosen by Maison Louis Latour for its ideal southerly exposure and gently inclined slope. Fresh aromas of strawberry and raspberry develop on the palate, which is smoky, rich and warm. Of all the Crus Beaujolais, this is most capable of extended ageing. 12.99

2) Brouilly 2006 Domaine des Maison Neuves

From a quality-conscious grower that eschews the use of herbicides to give healthier vines and lower, more concentrated yields. A deep coloured wine, showing great finesse and fruit intensity. Ripe berry and currant flavours, soft tannins and balanced acidity on the finish. Ideal with white meat dishes. 9.99

3) Beaujolais-Villages 2006 Domaine des Nugues

Fermented in the traditional Beaujolais style using Carbonic Maceration, this wine shows a deep ruby colour, aromas of red fruits and spices, and has a pleasant finish. Made for immediate enjoyment. 9.99

4) Chénas 2006 Cave du Château de Chénas

From a co-operative whose cellars, dating back to the 17th century, providing ideal conditions for barrel maturation. The excellent 2005 vintage has given a wine with a deep purple core, a nose of ripe red cherries and red currants and soft, ripe tannins on the palate. Full-bodied for a Chénas, with crisp, balanced acidity. 9.99

On option of bubbles

5) [yellow tail] BUBBLES

This fresh and fragrant sparkling wine leaps from the glass to tickle and tantalize the senses. Flavours of tropical fruits combine perfectly with medium sweetness and a delightfully crisp finish. This luscious and lively wine will complement all occasions. You could enjoy Bubbles as an aperitif. 14.99

A taste of Italy

Reverting back to Italy and here’s a brace of wines from the Cusumano range based in Sicily and available through some independent retailers.

6) Cusumano Insolia Sicilia 2007

Light and floral on the nose with wildflower and some say faint butter cookie followed by ripe tropical fruit, especially mature pineapple. It finishes with a slight creaminess typical to Cusumano’s single varietal selections. Think of Inzolia somewhere between Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, but with an easy drinking personality all its own. 12.49

7) Cusumano Nero D’Avola 2006

Positively brimming with aromas of morello cherry, blackberry jam and juniper berries on the nose, the palate is hearty and vaguely spicy with soft, generous tannins and a powerful, bitter cherry finish. 12.49