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Wines in the press - December 10-12

Published:  14 December, 2010

The Guardian
Cheese and red wine clash almost as often as they hit it off, says Fiona Beckett.

Particularly stinky French cheeses which can totally skew a subtle and elegant red. If you must have a pongy cheese, serve it solo with a sweet white. On the other hand Beckett thinks gooey bries tend to work well with fruity Pinot Noirs such as the lush Roaring Meg Mount Difficulty Pinot Noir from Central Otago (£13.99 on offer at Majestic). Red leicester makes a good match for red Bordeaux, and she advises to try mature parmigiano reggiano with an elegant Tuscan red such as the San Colombaio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2007 (£10.99 Sainsbury's).

The Financial Times
The third of Jancis Robinson's four-part series on festive wines looks at a selection of white wine with "real distinction". In her £15 and under recommendations she plumps for Sainsbury's, Taste the Difference 2009 Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine, which she thinks is "good stuff" for a supermarket wine and has a real lees-driven character. (£6.29 Sainsbury's). For £25 and under the Ten Minutes by Tractor, 10x Chardonnay 2008 Mornington Peninsula is one of her choices that she says is excellent at a reduced price of £15.95 (usually £24.35) Bancroft.

The Daily Telegraph
One of the hardest questions to answer is how do you know when a bottle of wine is ready to drink, says Victoria Moore. Most good wine merchants will advise you when they think a wine has reached the beginning of its drinking window. But what if you're given a single special bottle that you don't want to waste by opening too soon or too late? One option is to log onto, where you can read tasting notes by the public and use the information to form your own opinion. Moore advises that when it comes to keeping or opening wine, relax. It's all about your taste. "If you leave a bottle so long that it feels dodderingly geriatric and has renounced all pleasure, you can chalk it up to experience and pour yourself a glass of something else."

The Mail
Whisky is powerful, enlivening and outrageous - I think of it as the drink of the gods, says Olly Smith. You can divide whisky into several categories but the two big ones are single malts and blends. A single malt is made in one distillery and not blended with any other whiskies. Blends are made from malt and grain spirit and tend to be less pricey. But I urge you to sample the delights of Islay (you say it 'Eye-la'). It's the most full-on style and you could liken it to Shiraz in the wine world - bold flavours, smoky and utterly more-ish, enthuses Smith. He recommends Highgrove Islay Single Malt from the Laphroaig Distillery (rrp £69.95).

The Daily Telegraph
Susy Atkins recommends to pour something different on Christmas Eve such as bone-dry, pale, cold sherry to drink with Suzanne Sharp's crispy crisps, plus green olives, tapenade and cured meats. A boeuf bourguignon, happily, calls for classic reds, she says, but not the same ones that the turkey will squawk for. A soft, rounded French red with a savoury side is best with this dish. Atkins adds she's not touching the port, sweet madeiras or liqueur muscats until 25th and will instead with her mince pies, lightly chill and drink a bottle of Australian botrytis Semillon, such as Tesco Finest Dessert Semillon 2005, Australia (£6.29).