Well now the summer’s over, for many of us the next thing to look forward to is good old Christmas. It’s not so far away, and for many self employed people and businesses this is the time when they start looking around for Christmas gifts for staff, good customers and suppliers. Also it’s a time of over indulgence on rich food and booze for all of us, so it’s a bumper time for wine sales. This year more than ever people are looking for value for money, and many of the businesses will be looking to tighten their belts – metaphorically – and cut their expenditure. The internet is full of potential suppliers so where do you start?

You can search for terms such as christmas wine hampers, christmas wine gifts, wine for christmas etc, but there are literally millions of websites that Google will pick up, so it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack. The simple answer is to start with just one quality wine merchant such as www.goodwineonline.co.uk then decide what you want to buy.

They offer  a varied selection of award winning wines from all over the world, all at unbeatable prices – they are the cheapest UK retailer for virtually every wine they sell. And as the name suggests they only sell GOOD wine, they don’t try to palm you off with some inferior wine they’re making a killing on, so you know you’re getting a good product and value for money.

So now you’ve got the merchant sorted it’s time to choose your wines.

The vast majority of us enjoy wine but wouldn’t profess to being an expert on the subject. So how do we select a wine that won’t overpower the turkey? Or disappoint with the christmas pud? Well it’s been made easy at goodwineonline as they’ve put together some specific premixed cases of 6 bottles to accompany the xmas dinner. There’s also a ready made section on quality wine to give as gifts, from premixed cases to exclusive single bottles of limited production wines – again all great quality with serious prestige.  However, back to the xmas dinner, if you’re more adventurous and want to select your own wines here’s a guide to what to look for.

Welcome drink for your guests

When your friends and family pop round it’s nice to enjoy a glass of something pre dinner. The good news here is that sparkling wines have improved dramatically in quality over the last ten years, and they suit this purpose beautifully. Prosecco is now very fashionable and a good one can be delicious – make sure you opt for one from the ‘Valdobbiadene’ region as these are the best. But there are great sparkling wines available from new world countries too. Personally I’d recommend the Morton Estate Sec from New Zealand – not only is it delicious but it looks great too and at less than £10 it won’t break the bank.

Starter

This depends on what you’re having as an entree. We always start with the classic prawn cocktail and this requires a flavoursome white with a dry finish to cut through the sauce and refresh the palate. A good Sauvignon Blanc is the obvious answer, but there are other alternatives such as a good Torrontes from Argentina.

Turkey

Well some people will insist on white but the majority of people will opt for red here – me included. You can in fact go for quite a powerful red without overpowering the bird. An oaked Pinot Noir, a good Rioja – but not a Reserva or Grand Reserva as these will likely be too heavy – or possibly a good Italian blend or lightly oaked red as these are usually great with food. I usually go for a good new world Bordeaux blend, packed with flavour but also smooth. ‘Bordeaux blends’ tend to be great wines so long as you don’t have one that actually comes from Bordeaux! Claret tends to be pretty poor in comparison because the French struggle with the weather – and a good one will double the cost of Christmas! As for a white with turkey? I’d go for an oaked Chardonnay, with plenty of body and quite strong flavours. A light wine like Pinot Grigio simply wouldn’t have enough flavour to get noticed amongst the myriad of other flavours on the plate.

Dessert

Whether you’re having Christmas pud, trifle or just a mince pie, a dessert wine can really make the meal feel special. Now we’ve all been drinking port for years, and frankly it can be a bit too heavy for some people. But good dessert wine is now widely available from many regions and at pretty keen prices too. You no longer need to fork out a small fortune for a cloying sauternes, there are ‘Late Harvest’ examples of many different grapes available which can be superb and won’t break the bank.