Wine hero

Helen McGinn’s best Christmas tipples to try this season

The author and drinks writer shares her top sparkling wines and non-alcoholic picks

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Helen McGinn’s best Christmas tipples to try this season

'Tis the season for wonderful wines. So whether you want to treat yourself to a delicious tipple or raise a glass (or two) with family or friends, we've rounded up the most delectable wines to know about this year.

To help us choose (because there's way too much choice), we've enlisted the help of drinks writer and wine expert, Helen McGinn who's done the taste testing for us. 

She said: “We’ve got reds, whites, sparklings, rosés and even some good non-alcoholic options. All of these drinks are of great value. Plus, with some of these wines, if you buy six bottles or more you get 25% off – so even better!".

 

Prosecco

Yellow Label Prosecco 

Price: £6

The verdict: "This is from Italy and made from the Glera grape and it’s all about the freshness and the frothiness. You get some lovely pear aromas in this Prosecco along with a lemon sherbet character on the palette. It’s absolutely gorgeous and a brilliant party starter."

 

Fillipo Sansovino Prosecco

Price: £6

The verdict: "This is a personal favourite. This is from a single vintage, so this is 2019. With this Prosecco, it is much more apple-y and there’s a little bit more going on there. It's just the sort of thing you want to have going around when you have got plates of sausages rolls or cheese straws – so before the main event. It’s got a beautiful label too – it looks fantastic!"

 

White wines 

 

Vicelo Pinot Grigio

Price: £4.50

The verdict: "We’re still in Italy for this Pinot Grigio. It's made in Veneto in the north of Italy. It is called Vicelo Pino Grigio. This one has got lots of lovely lemon aromas. It’s light and fresh and really zingy just what you want from a Pinot Grigio. It’s such a crowd-pleaser this one and fantastic value for money."

 

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Grigio

Price: £9.25

The verdict: "We are sticking with the same grape, so still Pinot Grigio but this time we have gone to New Zealand. Villa Maria – they are a fantastic producer in New Zealand. They are very well known for their Sauvignon Blanc. But this is what they can do with Pinot Grigio and it’s absolutely gorgeous. There’s lots of lovely zingy gooseberry flavours as well as citrus and there is also a lemon character on the palette. It’s a lovely Pinot Grigio, but this is a different style and different take on it. It’s got a bit more meat on its bone this one."

 

Aupouri Sauvignon Blanc

Price: £6

The verdict: "Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favourite grapes. It’s very aromatic in style. This is called Aupouri Sauvignon Blanc. It’s got a classic really zingy, herbally and gooseberry flavour. It’s a real party for the tastebuds this one. It’s so fresh and fabulous, the kind of thing you want to have if there is smoked salmon anywhere near."

 

Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc

Price: £12

The verdict: "Sancerre is the Sauvignon Blanc’s spiritual home. So if you really want the best experience of Sauvignon Blanc then you have to try a Sancerre. It’s got such a lovely pure element to it. A touch of grassiness and the flavour just goes on and on and on."

 

Rosé wines

Rose Marie Méditerranée

Price: £6.50

The verdict: "For rosé, we have gone for two from the South of France. One is Provence.  But this one is from a slightly different region but still in the same area. This shows you why rosé definitely isn’t just for summer. This one is called Rose Marie. I absolutely love this label it looks so smart. When you first smell it, you just get lots of lovely red currant aromas, just as you would expect. But then tasting it, there is a lovely hit of cherry in there. If you are having a lunch with lots of bits like pâtés and cheeses, this is a great option. "

 

Cotes de Provence Rose

Price: £8

 

The verdict: "The reason it’s called Cotes de Provence is because it's from vineyards that are all in the Provence region down in the South of France. So lots of sun means lots of ripeness in the grapes. This will be made from a local cocktail of grapes. It’s got that lovely red berry fruit but there’s a bit more cherry in there as well. There’s lots of flavour, lots of length of flavour as well."

 

Red wines 

Wolf Blass Vineyards Release Shiraz

Price: £5

The verdict: "This is a giant of a grape, Shiraz. It's made in Australia and this type of grape loves Australia. It comes from a giant of a producer – Wolf Blass. It’s a really well-known producer. Oh my goodness me. Just one smell of it and I’m thinking fire, I’m thinking slippers. I’m thinking possibly some cheese on a plate. This is a really lovely warming red. And a gorgeous kick of spice in there as well."

 

Orbitali Amarone Della Valpolicella

Price: £14.50

The verdict: "This is a bit of a monster of a wine but it’s a very, very friendly monster. What gives Amarone it’s really distinct character is it's made from dried grapes. That really concentrates the flavour. Goodness me, it has that really gorgeous rasin-y character. There’s a bit of mocha in there as well and spice on the nose before you have even tasted it! This is the sort of wine you need on the table when you’ve got beef or any red meat, but it would also pair well with a hunk of aged parmesan. It's absolutely gorgeous."

 

Non-alcoholic wines 

Nosecco Spumante Alcohol-Free

Price: £3.50

The verdict: "Just because you are not drinking, that’s not to say you don’t want something lovely to drink. This Nosecco Spumante is a real cracker. It's called Nosecco. So you can see there is a slight play on words there. It’s made from dealcoholized grapes. The bottle shape and the bubbles put you in a slightly prosecco frame of mind. It smells really fresh and grapey. Obviously, you don’t get quite the same experience as you would with prosecco. But serve it in a glass, and you really don’t feel like you’re missing out. It’s a really great option."

 

Freixenet 0.0% Alcohol-Free Sparkling Rosé

Price: £5

The verdict: "This sparkling rosé from Spain. Freixenet is a big producer in Spain and it is a top, top, cava producer. So they know their bubbles. There are lots of lovely cherry flavours in this. Again, the alcohol isn’t there but you kinda don’t miss it because there’s so much flavour going on. It really doesn’t matter."

 

The favourite tipple

So what's Helen's favourite tipple?  "It’s quite hard for me to pick a favourite, because I’ve really got quite a few," Helen tells us. "But if I had to, I would say this lovely Fillipo Sansovino Prosecco. I absolutely loved that. And, if I can have another, I’d have to pick the Sancerre Sauvingnon Blanc too."

Feeling inspired to try out these tipples? Head over to Asda to pick up your favourites this season.