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Top 10 wines in the UK press

NV J.P. Secondé, Brut Intégral, Champagne, France

This “stunning, inexpensive” Champagne was Matthew Jukes’ top tip for Christmas writing in the Daily Mail.

He said: “Before you go out and buy a big name fizz for the next month’s entertaining consider the extraordinary value you get from the smaller, one-man-band operations. This is an epic wine with tangy citrus notes and a stunning dry finish. Made from Grand Cru fruit, you would struggle to get close to this sophistication from a well-known brand at this price!

Price: £24.10,

NV Graham’s Crusted Port (bottled 2004), Portugal

Jukes also recommended Graham’s non-vintage crusted Port, which he described as “regal” with a “prune and dark chocolate flavour.”

He said: “The term Crusted on a bottle of port refers to the fact that it hasn’t been filtered and the sediment has remained in the bottle, forming a ‘crust’, which brings added power and intensity to the wine.  You need to decant this wine off its crust and you are left with a monumental, regal, prune and dark chocolate flavour.”

Price: £17.99, Morrisons reduced to £13.99, until 4 January

Viña Falernia Carmenère Reserva 2012, Elqui Valley, Chile

David Williams, writing for The Observer, took a look at a selection of wines made from Carmenère – a grape that was thought to have vanished but which is “fast making up for lost time.”

He said: “In general Chilean Carmenère works best, for me at least, when growers allow it to express some of its natural herbal character without letting it take over. Just a seasoning of green, rather than a humid greenhouse-full of tomato plant, adds a certain freshness which reminds me of the light red wines made from cabernet franc in France’s Loire Valley. More serious examples can take on flavours of dark chocolate and soy sauce, as well as the classic super-ripe Chilean blackcurrant. But one of my favourite Carmenères, from Viña Falernia in northern Chile’s Elqui Valley, takes its cue from northeastern Italy, using a portion of dried grapes in the manner of Amarone della Valpolicella to make a deep, rich, sensuous red full of chocolate, sweet spice and dried and fresh black fruit.”

Price: £12.95, Great Western Wine

Inama Carmenère Piu 2010, Veneto Rosso IGT, Italy

With Chile grabbing the headlines for its Carmenère, its easy to forget the variety is produced elsewhere, not least so in Italy.

Williams said: “It’s intriguing that Giorgio Flessati, the winemaker behind Falernia, is himself from northern Italy, since this part of the world had its own, less-publicised Carmenère moment around the same time as the Chileans. In this case, the sparkling producer Ca’ del Bosco in Franciacorta, Lombardy, spotted that much of what was thought to be Cabernet Franc in the region was in fact Carmenère. While not taken up with quite the same fervour or marketing budget as in Chile, the variety has been identified in a number of northern Italian regions. Inama, best known for its range of superior Soave dry whites, makes a very fine example: a meaty, savoury red with blackcurrant, spicy cherry and that leafy freshness.”

Price: £15.95, Wine Traders; Uncorked; The Wine Register; North and South Wines

2012 Toscana Rosso, Tuscany, Italy

Brian Elliott, urged his readers to “dare to be different” in their wine choices writing in The Scotsman this week.

While recommending this Italian Toscana Rosso, Williams noted: “The really bold and curious should head into Eastern Europe starting, I suggest, with Riesling. The 2013 Finest Slovenian Riesling (£7.99 at Tesco) is a good example of what the variety does well. That vintage is a good starting point for this wine because not only is there unexpected depth but late summer rain that year also elongated the ripening season. The result is some excellent acidity to underpin those appealing lemon, pear and tangerine flavours and attractive herbal edges.”

Of this Italian red blend he said: “Sangiovese is joined by a dash of Cabernet and Merlot, which add mint and red plum to the wine’s intense, nutty, black cherry flavours. There is also a nip of acidity to work with the firm tannins and hint of caramel that are built into its slightly sweetish finish.”

£6 at M&S

Ridgeview Blanc de Blancs 2000 Magnum, Sussex

With Christmas fast approaching Jamie Goode rounded up some of his best wine recommendations in his ultimate festive guide writing in The Express. This magnum of English sparkling wine is sure to make an impression this Christmas.

He said: “English sparkling wine now compares with the best in the world and this 14-year-old vintage is a gem, with fresh quince and pear fruit and some nutty richness from long ageing. Who wouldn’t be delighted with a double-sized bottle in a presentation box?”

Price: £75 for 150cl, Marks & Spencer online

Champagne Marc Chauvet Brut NV, France

Hopping across to France, but sticking with fizz, Goode recommended this Marc Chauvet Brut NV calling it a “very impressive, richer-styled Champagne at a very good price.”

He said: “It’s ripe and smooth with sweet apple, pear and peach notes and a fresh and lemony finish.”

Price: £24,

Evans & Tate Breathing Space Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Australia

Tom Cannavan, writing for The Huffington Post, recommended this delightfully-decorated Cabernet Sauvignon made by Evans & Tate, “one of the handful of pioneers” to first start making wine in the remote Margaret River region of Western Australia.

He said: “This Cabernet Sauvignon (with a little Shiraz in the blend) was partially aged in older French oak barrels. It has an attractive nose, majoring on ripe black berries, but with a little smoky depth from the barrels and a fine, floral and herbal top note so typical of Cabernet from this region. In the mouth it is medium-bodied, supple and refined, with plenty of sweet blackcurrant fruit, but the spicy savouriness emphasised by its gentle tannins and balanced acidity. It’s certainly a good buy on the promotional price at time of tasting.”

Price: £11.99, Majestic (£8.99 until February 2015).

Altano Douro Quinta Do Ataide 2012

Terry Kirby described this wine from Portugal’s Douro Valley as a “very modern, organic red wine made rom four port grapes”, writing in The Independent.

He said: “Extremely well made, with accessible, lushly sweet black fruits and a good mineral acidity, all delivered with restrained, well-defined power. Pair with all red, rare meats.”

Price: £9.99, Waitrose

Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Gris

Finally, Kirby recommended this “beguiling and different” Marlborough Sauvignon Gris.

He said: “One of the pioneers of Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc is now winning awards for its reinvention of this related grape, an altogether different proposition. Yes, there are fresh tropical fruit and citrus flavours, but also richer, smokier notes and a long finish. Beguiling and different. Try with oily fish – grilled mackerel or rare tuna.”

Price: £10.49,, Tesco

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