December is upon us, Cliff Richard is on the radio, we’ve had a festive gingerbread bake-off in the office (see my ‘drinks bucket’ below), and there are just a matter of days before it becomes socially acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast.
This month also brings with it the dreaded Christmas party (what on earth will I wear?!) and whether you’re hosting family and friends at your house, or taking along a bottle to your mum’s, here are my recommendations for the party season.
A special toast
Champagne can be made from one or a combination of three grape varieties – Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. Blanc de Noir, meaning “white from black” is made from one or both of the two black grape varieties while Blanc de Blancs, meaning “white of whites” is made exclusively from Chardonnay, the white grape variety of the three.
There are many different styles of Champagne and your preference may be entirely different from mine, but for a party I favour the fresh and elegant Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV. Treat yourself to a bottle for £45 (down from £50) from Majestic Wine.
For something a little cheaper than Champagne, try Cloudy Bay Pelorus Brut NV from New Zealand. Made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir using the same traditional method as Champagne, this fruity wine has deliciously creamy bubbles, notes of citrus and crisp green apple, and a rounded, slightly biscuity aftertaste. Available for £19.99 from Waitrose, this sparkler is a treat but it won’t break the bank!
All night fizz
When your guests plan on settling in for the long haul, you can’t be cracking open bottles of Ruinart every few minutes (well I certainly can’t!) so stock up on Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Prosecco Conegliano DOC, made from the Italian Glera grape. Available in magnum 1.5l bottles for just £14.99 over the Christmas period, this fizz is smooth and crisp with ripe stone fruit flavours. It will certainly go down a treat amongst your guests.
For the sweeter tooth
For something a little different, try filling your flutes with a sparkling red wine from Brown Brothers. Cienna Rosso, made from the red Australian grape variety, Cienna, is bursting with fresh raspberries and strawberries, and has a creamy, juicy flavour on the palate. At only 7.5% alcohol, it will also ensure you keep dancing all night long and may even prevent any embarrassing office party situations (I make no promises!) Pick up a bottle for £9.99 from Ocado.
Whatever your party tipple this festive season, have a good one and keep an eye out this weekend for my final post before Christmas on what to drink on the big day!