Belfast Telegraph

The Wine Society is a glass apart when it comes to Christmas choices

Which wine is best for Christmas?
Which wine is best for Christmas?

By Paula Gracey

As if we haven’t enough on our plates at Christmas, along comes a general election. A general distraction, more like, at a time when we ought to be spending our waking hours (and money) stocking up on stocking fillers, not to mention all manner of fine food and wines for the feast day.

I am a great believer in supporting our local traders in the face of intense Internet competition all year round, but there are times, like Christmas, when you just have to sub contract some particular purchases to a trusted supplier, safe in the knowledge you can then work your way through the rest of your list in person.

A few years ago, I discovered The Wine Society and thought it such a good idea, I added it to my list of online favourites. It’s like being a member of a club whose meetings you don’t have to attend and yet enjoy all the benefits at the click of a mouse button.

We all love seeking out new wines (and bargains) and The Wine Society is a veritable voyage of discovery. All year round, their experts traverse the globe, sourcing new and old favourites and sometimes variations on a theme, using their buying power to offer them to us at the keenest prices. And when you have finished browsing and made your choices, the deliver them to your door.

I find them particularly helpful and handy at Christmas when it is especially important to strike the right chord with our food and wine pairings.  

And what fun I had, metaphorically mixing and matching before settling on these choices to banish the post election blues and perfectly complement mum’s Christmas table.

It’s the one day of the year that, most of us anyway, raise a glass before noon and the for the traditional bubbly start to the day, and to welcome our visitors, I’ve chosen for the fizz offering The Society's Exhibition English Sparkling Wine NV (£23).

Made for The Society by Ridgeview in Sussex, this has class, finesse and freshness thanks to the classic blend of Champagne grapes - pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier.

For the white to follow, I’ve gone for Tierhoek Piekeniers Cape White Blend, Piekenierskloof 2018 (£9.95).

Most Cape White Blends are chenin-led but this puts sauvignon blanc at centre stage with viognier and chardonnay adding texture, flavour and complexity. A bright, refreshing, high-altitude gem made especially for Society members.

Now for the red and I usually opt for a Pinot Noir to accompany the turkey and ham but in a departure this year, I’m pouring The Society's Exhibition Moulin-à-Vent 2017 (£10.95).

Concentrated yet richly fruity, fragrant and succulent, this is a delicious example of Moulin-à-Vent from Les Vins Aujoux. The wine is starting to show complex savoury leather and dried-cherry flavours with the classic tannin of this Beaujolais cru coming through towards the finish.

And, finally, as we regroup for the pudding or sherry trifle, I’ve found the perfect sweet accompaniamanr in Casa Ermelinda Freitas Moscatel de Setúbal (£9.95).

An authentic Portuguese sweet treat, with the heady aroma of caramelised citrus pith and orange blossom, with honey, hazelnut and barley sugar on the palate. As a bonus, it keeps well in the fridge after opening, if you can resist it.

Check out my recommendations along with a range of home delivery Christmas gift packages, hampers and treats at

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