Château Haut Maurin

Wine Buff | €13.99

So many readers tell me they love sauvignon blanc and who am I to question a great love? But this Château Haut Maurin allows you to expand your horizons without stepping out of your comfort zone too much. That is because this is a beautiful bordeaux blend of sauvignon blanc and semillion, made by fifth generation winemaker Jean Louis Sanforche.

The sauvignon brings it’s vibrant acidity with apple and citrus notes but the semillion also brings something to the table, developing structure and mouthfeel. The freshness on the palate makes this wine really easy to drink on its own or with some apéritifs. A crowd-pleaser for the party season but equally it transitions easily to dinner – we’re thinking some garlic prawn linguine or a simple but special roast chicken dinner.

Henri Bourgeois La Porte du Caillou Sancerre

O’Brien Wines | €22.95 (usually €25.95)

This is another wine for those sauvignon blanc lovers. It’s Christmas and you want to splash out on something you know you’ll enjoy. Sancerre is worth every penny and one of the best (if not, the best) expression of sauvignon blanc in the world. Henri Bourgeois is the 10th generation of this renowned winemaking family to have perfected this wine.

You get all those classic sauvignon flavours of lemon, lime and peach but it’s elevated with a pop of pink grapefruit and a hint of pineapple. Crisp with balanced acidity, the finish has a chalky minerality – its piece de resistance. Perfect for serving up with a goats cheese salad as your starter on Christmas Day or the classic ’80s prawn cocktail. It would also work great with a lovely salmon dinner.

Gabrielskloof “Elodie” Chenin Blanc

Avoca | €34.95

South Africa is one of the very few new world wine countries that has significant plantings of old-vine chenin blanc and they do it well.

This is a bold complex white wine. At first, you get layers of green apple accompanied with white peach and apricot. However, the oak barrels give it a buttery feel with a little honey on the palate. It’s got real intensity and length, a lovely expression of a vine that is unique. This is a wine that will bring you right through your Christmas dinner. It will work great with a shellfish starter such as prawns but this rich textured chenin blanc can also stand up to the more complex flavour of turkey, ham and all the trimmings. If it lasts, it will even bring you through to the cheese course, especially with some soft Irish cheese.

Rasteay Cellier de Monterail

Centra | €12

This is the kind of wine I love beside the fire with a cheeseboard. This southern rhone red is bursting with black fruit aromas and red fruit on the palate. You’ll pick up strawberry and a touch of plum and it’s elevated by a little spice and vanilla that gives it its full-bodied flavour. It’s a smooth and well-balanced red that will have you reaching for another glass.

The Rasteay Cellier de Monterail will work well with a winter roast or some pasta in tomato sauce but back to my original comment, bring on the cheddar. It can also carry the flavours of some antipasto meats. To really get the best out of this wine, open it in advance and let it breathe.

Liberty Nage

Nude Wines | €15.50

Nude Wines is run by Michelle Lawlor who has worked in the wine industry for 18 years across three continents. She is sourcing some exceptionally good wines that are made as nature intended, focusing on organic and biodynamic wines at affordable prices.

Case in point is this Liberty Nage, another rhone blend of grenache, syrah and carignan, with a dash of merlot. It’s made by Chateau du Nages, who make excellent-quality wines in the Costieres de Nimes region. All the grapes for this bottle are organically grown and the resulting flavour is layers of dark fruit, strawberries and a pop of cherry. Tannins are low and it has a silky mouthfeel. Bold enough to stand up to the flavours of your Christmas dinner yet soft enough to complement and not overpower.

La Lauvignière Chateauneuf-du-Pape Premium

Lidl | €19.99

One of my favourite things about getting wine from the German retailers is not the very cheap bottles but instead the good names at a reasonable price. Enter Lidl’s bottle of chateauneuf-du-pape. It’s got those lovely winter flavours of red cherries, plums, blackcurrant and blackberries. Leave it to open up and the chocolate flavours will start to sing through. It’s smooth and rich and far too easy to drink.

Chateauneuf-du-pape is known for demanding its high prices and although this isn’t the most full-bodied bottle, it is very good value for its price point. Perfect to enjoy during that lazy period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Put a stew on low, enjoy a festive movie while the flavours develop and enjoy with this red.

Cremant de Bordeaux

Marks & Spencer | €13.30

Cremant is a French sparkling wine that doesn’t have the price tag or the pomp of champagne but has lots of similar flavours. It is made in the same way as champagne, using the traditional method where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle and, like champagne, it must be aged “on lees” to give it that added complexity.

This Marks & Spencer’s Cremant de Bordeaux has lovely flavours of red apple and peach, followed by those signature brioche notes. With a fine mousse and a lingering finish, this is perfect to serve with party food – especially some chicken skewers and grilled prawns. At €13.30, it is the best value for money out of all our wines this season.

Castellore Organico Prosecco Rosé

Aldi | €13.99

There is nothing quite like that cork pop at Christmas. Although many think of rosé as a summer drink, I believe it’s cause for celebration any time of year.

This Castellore Organico Prosecco Rosé from Aldi is a bargain. Strawberries and raspberries shine through, giving a subtle pop of sweetness to this wine. Its got a good fizz, nothing too overpowering, and with a good clean, dry and refreshing finish it ticks all the boxes as a crowd-pleaser wine.

This is going to work great if you’re having a few friends over to toast the Christmas season, perfect with some appertifs. Or if you’re planning this with a meal, we’re thinking a nice creamy risotto.

H.Blin Blac de Noirs

Simply Better at Dunnes Stores | €36.79 (usually €44)

Alas, there is nothing quite like champagne and this is another excellent deal for the season. Interestingly, champagne can only be made with three grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.

Blac de noirs means it is only made with the white of red grapes and in this case, it’s 100% pinot meunier, which is quite rare but worth exploring. It has got real character, with juicy apples and pear, but also a little touch of hay and lemon peel. Those buttery brioche notes also come through and it has a persistent mousse, which gives it a rich and opulent feel.

For a different accompaniment to a cheeseboard, give this one a go. It will work especially well with hard and mild cheese but nothing too complex or you’ll drown out its delicate flavours.