Christmas Wine Bargains 2022
I took part in a blind tasting in late September 2022 for Which? magazine to find some great value sparkling and red wines for Christmas.
Full results are in the magazine or the PDF below. It’s quite a handy guide if you’re on the lookout for some bargains this festive period!
The tasting was split into three sections – value champagne, other value sparkling and then reds. The focus is on supermarkets and the retailers decided which wines to send in given the category parameters (see below).
The scores in the mag are an average from all the judges – and we were asked to score out of 100. From my personal perspective, these were the highlights:
Brut NV Champagne (up to £40)
- Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne £23 (92/100) – Serious, ambitious style. Classic and complex. Flavours of brioche, roasted apple, melted butter. Expressive aromatically and with good depth of flavour. Self-assured.
- Waitrose Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne £25.99 (89-90/100) – Biscuit and red apple aromas. Succulent palate with an engaging streak of green apple acidity. Age it a bit more for best results.
- Aldi Premier Cru Champagne £19 (89/100) – Bready, buttery aromas, savoury flavours are layered and relatively complex, in a classic style. Not the most profound but pleasant.
- Morrisons The Best Etienne Leclair 1er Cru Brut Champagne £21 (88/100) – Solid Brut NV Champagne. Roasted apple, biscuity complexity. Refreshing and with good savoury depths.
Other Sparkling (£5-£15, own label or exclusive, Brut)
- Marks & Spencer Classics Cremant de Bourgogne £13 (87-88/100) – rich red apple aromas. Juicy palate, quite crisp and appley. Balanced, refreshing, good value. Creamy textured finish.
- Aldi Specially Selected Cremant du Jura £7.99 (87/100) – pale, fresh green apple aromas, upbeat style. Crisp, simple, citric, refreshing. Fruity crisp style – frank and fresh.
- Co-op Irresistible Prosecco £7.50 (87/100) – Pear drop and fresh herb aromas. Succulent style, moreish. Well balanced in the context, not the most profound but fairly smashable.
Festive Reds (£4.50-£13, own label or exclusive, good value wintery reds)
- Marks & Spencer El Duque de Miralta Rioja Reserva £13 (90/100) – Screams Rioja! Coconut, dried red fruit, touch of age too – leather and tobacco hints. Firm, serious, dry. Grown-up. Could use a touch more fruit on the finish but lovely wintery red.
- Aldi Medoc Bordeaux £7.99 (89/100) – Jammy plum fruit, hints of leaf and sausage meat. Dry, food friendly, nip of tannin. Quite serious. Good value heart-warming red, balanced.
- Waitrose No 1 Foundation Cederberg Syrah £11.99 (88/100) – Gently smoky, peppery aromas. Red berry fruit. Juicy, crisp, upbeat, proper red. Good for food. Moreish.
This kind of tasting always throws up duds – examples here included Morrisons’ Adrien Chopin Champagne, Tesco’s De Vallois Champagne, Lidl’s Cremant de Loire, Yellow Tail Shiraz, Morrisons’ Las Dos Caras Ribera del Duero – and even Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne…
[These Christmas wine recommendations appeared in Which? magazine’s December 2022 edition]