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Wines in the press, November 29 - Dec 3

Published:  03 December, 2012

The Sunday Telegraph

Susy Atkins is dreaming of a "white-wine Christmas" with lashings of creamy, fine Burgundy.

She thinks the region's classic whites are a brilliant choice at Christmas, because Chardonnay delivers the full, buttery, rounded texture that marries beautifully with richer - even smoked - white fish, salmon and shellfish starters, plus the roast bird. But what about more adventurous white wines that can match with a lighter fish starter and a heartier turkey main? A hugely fruity, peachy Viognier will work with a full-flavoured starter; think lobster, crab or richly sauced white fish/prawns. Atkins says she loves Aussie Viognier with roast turkey, while white Rhônes are another option. Or you could splash on a decent Champagne which will dazzles with light, savoury starters and it can comfortably partner the turkey, too. Atkins says it makes a luxurious and thoroughly different match - as long as it's without all the trimmings.

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW is looking at Champagnes for Christmas. If price is no object, she says Selfridges has a very good range but for value plus quality, in her opinion Lea & Sandeman is difficult to beat. While on the other hand she recommends Vine Trail if you're looking at a merchant that specialises in the glory of Champagnes from small growers rather than big houses. But sparkling wines are also presenting Champagne with more of a challenge, such as the unusual, very lightly sparkling northwest Italian Valli Unite, Brut & The Beast 2011 Piemonte (£11, which Robinson says "fades fast but is such fun". Her most expensive recommendation is Billecart-Salmon, Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon 2002, Champagne (£140 which Robinson says is quite mature and resolved on the nose with admirable persistence. Although she adds it's a less complex finale than the Bollinger Rosé 2004 tasted alongside. "Fine rather than emphatic" is Robinson's conclusion.

The Mail on Sunday

Unlike Smith's pal James Martin, who famously doesn't approve of turkey, Smith says he's a big fan - as long as it's cooked so the flesh is juicy. But the real reason he can get behind turkey is that, thanks to its mild flavour, it pairs well with tons of different wines - both reds and whites. Smith says the first bottle with your turkey should quite simply be "brilliant". If you're serving a bread sauce or a fruity stuffing, he'd pick a rich white French Burgundy, such as Marks & Spencer Bourgogne Blanc Les Femelottes 2010 (£14.99). Alternatively, if you're dosing your bird with a giant meaty stuffing, Smith recommends Rioja especially rich Reservas and more savoury Gran Reservas. Chianti can work well too, he says but look for 'Classico' on the label. And for turkey curry on Boxing Day? You could go for a fruity white wine, such as Pinot Gris from either Alsace or New Zealand, but this year Smith will be sipping a bottle from his very own brewery; a Rocky Head Pale Ale.