By Rose Murray Brown MW   Published in The Scotsman 9 December 2017

My top twelve wines for serving this Christmas:

France:  TETE A TETE PINOT GRIS RIESLING 2016 Pfaffenheim
(£7.99 Lidl)
Let’s get the party started with this very expressive affordable Alsace blend.  You do not often see these two grapes in the same cuvee, but this example from the Pfaffenheim cave co-operative works rather well with Riesling giving acid zip and freshness and Pinot Gris adding a smoky musky undertone and rounded texture: 13%

Italy:  PETITE ARVINE 2016 La Crotta di Vegneron 2016
(£12.95 The Wine Society
A hidden Italian gem which scored high points at our recent tasting.  This fragrant spicy unoaked white hails from the beautiful Alpine Valle d’Aosta region near the French and Swiss borders north of Turin.  The rare Petite Arvine grape is usually found across the border in Switzerland’s Valais region.  It makes delicious zesty creamy whites with a real vibrancy and mountain freshness which would work well as an aperitif or light fish starter: 13.5%

South Africa:  JORDAN ESTATE BARREL FERMENTED CHARDONNAY 2016 (£12.99 Rude Wines    ***STAR VALUE***
Looking for an elegant gently oaked Chardonnay to serve with your turkey, this was a clear winner in our tasting for value for money.  With its rich toasty aromas, light smoky palate, fresh vibrant acidity and a good length of flavour, this Stellenbosch Chardonnay  really delivers:  13%

France:  BOURGOGNE BLANC 2015 Clothilde Davenne
(£13.45     ***STAR BUY***
If you normally drink Chablis, give this superb white Burgundy a try which hails from vineyards near Prehy village, one of twenty villages allowed to produce Chablis.  An enchanting toasty bouquet, crisp high acid palate with minerally notes; a very good unoaked Chardonnay made by talented winemaker Clothilde Davenne.  Good price to serve with smoked salmon starter: 13%

(£15.99 Raeburn Wines, Edinburgh)
From a family winery in Cupramontana in Italy’s east coast Marche region, where Verdicchio grape has grown since the C14.  This is made from 30 year old organic vines grown on sandy tuffo soils giving citric floral aromas with nutty honeyed notes and a rich creamy palate from nine months lees ageing – no oak.  Serve as aperitif or with smoked salmon starter: 13%

German Pinot Gris The Wine Society reviewedGermany:  BURKHEIMER FEUERBERG GRAUBURGUNDER 2016 Bercher (£20 The Wine Society   ***STAR BUY***
Rich intense white with a touch of honeyed sweetness, this beautifully made Pinot Gris is made in the Alsace style by Baden-based Bercher family who grow vines on the volcanic slopes of Kaiserstuhl – just across the river Rhine from the Alsace region.  It has a little extra weight from a portion of barrel ageing.  Serve with turkey or goose: 13.5%

(£22.25 Berry Bros & Rudd
If you normally drink Vouvray, give this old vine Chenin Blanc-dominant Cape white a try.  Multi award-winning winery Mullineux family winery based in Swartland have crafted a very rich white with voluptuous fleshy palate with apricot and peachy notes and a long finish – with enough fresh acidity to serve with goose: 13.5h%

France:  ARBOIS CHARDONNAY 2015 Domaine de la Pinte  
(£16.50 Marks & Spencer)     ***STAR BUY***
For those who like to experiment, this Chardonnay hails from the little known Jura region near the Bresse plain in eastern France.  Winemakers Bruno Ciofi and Emmanuelle Goydadin use biodynamically-farmed grapes grown on limestone soils and oak ageing to create this unusual buttery honeyed Chardonnay with hazelnut notes and a zesty spicy finish.  Serve with slow roasted pork, roast turkey or Epoisses cheese: 12.5%

California:  PINOT GRIS TRENTON STATION 2010 Joseph Swan
(£19.99 Raeburn Wines, Edinburgh)
A rare example of mature bottle aged Californian Pinot Gris from a small Sonoma producer in Forestville in the cool fog-bound Russian River Valley, named aft erht Russians who first came here in early C19 for otter pelts.  Swan’s son-in-law, Rod Berglund makes this rich creamy leesy Pinot Gris; it would suit Chardonnay lovers.  Serve with roast goose: 14.5%

Italy:  PECORINO TERRI DI CHIETI 2016 Umani Ronchi
(£11 Marks & Spencer)
From Collecorvino near Pescara in the little known Abruzzi region on Italy’s east coast.  One of the best value examples on the market from the popular Pecorino grape, which has been making a name for itself with its easy drinking combination of crispness and rich textured creamy palate; would suit anyone who normally drinks Soave.  Serve as aperitif or with vegetarian food: 12.5%

(£22.99 Valhalla’s Goat, Glasgow; Liberty Wines)
An intriguing blend of two white Rhone grapes: 55% Marsanne with 45% Viognier.  Both are usually tricky to grow as acidity can plummet quickly as flavour ripens, but they have performed well in the Gimblett Gravels region of Hawkes Bay.  Very pungent tropical fruit bouquet with a rich lush palate, light oak notes from barrel fermentation and maturation.  A rich succulent white to serve with roast turkey: 13.5%
New Zealand:  ROSIE’S BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2015 Neudorf
(£22.50; £25.95 Berry Bros; £28 ***STAR BUY***
One of the finest Kiwi oaked Chardonnays from Nelson’s top winery, Neudorf.  Tim and Judy Finn have crafted a really sleek, complex and minerally style here.  Initially crisp with zippy acidity with wonderful purity of citric fruit, seamlessly integrated oak and a lovely creamy leesy palate – a great match with any roast poultry: 14%

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