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Top 10 wines in the UK press

Château Lyonnat, Lussac-St-Emilion, Bordeaux, France 2002

With Christmas just over a week away David Williams, writing for The Observer, recommended “three bottles to help the big bird slip down a treat”, including this “soft” St Emilion red.

He said: “You don’t need a Downton Abbey-like cellar to age wine; a fridge with the temperature set high will do. But most of us don’t keep wine for long after we’ve bought it, so if you want mature wine at Christmas buy it ready-aged. One of the few regions that sells its wines after significant time in barrel and bottle is Rioja, and La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza 2005 (£19.99 for two, Majestic) has a mellow, oak-panelled cosiness that fits with the Christmas mood. Look out, too, for older bottles from Bordeaux: Lyonnat’s soft blend has the cedary charm of a claret worth much more.”

Price: £12.50, Roberson Wine

Simpsons of Sainte Rose Low Yield Roussanne, Languedoc, France 2012

Williams also recommended this “turkey-ready” Roussanne.

He said: “As with lighter reds, the model for rich whites is Burgundy, where winemakers have perfected the art of matching Chardonnay fruit to oak in golden, resonant wines such as Auvigue Pouilly-Fuissé Le Clos 2011 (£19.99, Waitrose). You can find a similar recipe at less drastic prices in Languedoc’s Limoux, and the creamy but taut Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Limoux (£8). Also in the Languedoc, but taking its inspiration from the Rhône Valley, is the turkey-ready roussanne, which balances its honeyed pear and peach with a lemony herbal tang.”

Price: £13.49, Naked Wines

Clocktower Pinot Noir 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand

This year Susy Atkins, writing in The Telegraph, said she was seeking “fresher, more vivacious styles of red for the big day”, before recommending this Marlborough Pinot Noir.

She said: “Fed up with the many heavy, tannic, even jammy wines out there (blame the more commercial producers in hot-climate areas), I favour a red with clean acidity and bright, lively, red-fruit flavours to cut through the richness of the whole feast.”

Of this Marlborough Pinot Noir she said: “Fine, lightish and a Christmas favourite in our house. Beguiling soft layers of red plum and chocolate make it an easygoing, fruity match for a festive feast.”

Price: Marks & Spencer, £14.99

Zalze Malbec Reserve 2012 Coastal Region, South Africa

Atkins also recommended this “unusual” South African Malbec.

She said: “The Malbec grape’s star has risen this year. Here’s an unusual South African version, and it’s ripe and lively, bouncing with succulent red cherries. Works with turkey and ham.”

Price: Co-op, £7.99 down from £8.99 until 3 January

2013 Wakefield St Andrews Chardonnay

Looking ahead to the big feast Brian Elliott, writing in The Scotsman, picked this “thoroughly modern” Aussie Chardonnay.

He said: “Rounding off the whites, the 2013 Wakefield St Andrews Chardonnay is a thoroughly modern Oz Chardonnay with peach, nut and vanilla influences but all neatly balanced by lively citrus acidity. More importantly, weight, alcohol, oak and ripeness are under careful control without destroying that traditional smoothness and richness or the tastier of those classic tropical fruit components.”

Price: £21.23,

2013 Tyrrell’s Old Winery Verdelho, Hunter Valley, Australia

Sticking with Australian whites, Elliott also recommended Tyrell’s Old Winery Verdhelo.

He said: “Tyrrell’s makes some of the best varietal Semillon in the world, but this is its take on a traditional Madeira grape. The result is a superb rounded, viscous, multi-layered white with zingy white peach and lime flavours, a long, lemon-centred finish and a touch of honey.”

Price: £10.99 at House of Menzies, Aberfeldy

Guerrieri Rizzardi, Prosecco Extra Dry NV, Italy

Two “impressive Italian sparklers” were recommended by Tom Cannavan, writing for The Huffington Post, including this Guerrieri Rizzardi Prosecco.

He said: “Prosecco has been on such a roll over the past few years, becoming the go-to choice of inexpensive fizz for many people. This comes from the aristocratic Guerrieri Rizzardi, perhaps best known for their red wines, but producing here a very refined and subtle Prosecco, with typical notes of icing sugar sprinkled over preserved lemon, and a forward, fruity style. Note that it’s an ‘Extra Dry’ which, perversely enough means it is a little sweeter than a normal ‘Brut’ style sparkling wine. It’s not sweet, but the extra ounce of sugar gives it a flattering smoothness and makes it a great aperitif choice too.”

Price: £13.00 from independent online merchants

Barone Pizzini, Franciacorta Brut NV, Italy

Hailing from the premium region of Franciacorta, this sparkler was described by Cannavan as having “creamy, brioche notes that come with ageing in bottle”, much in the same way as Champagne.

He said: “Franciacorta in Lombardy is less familar, but is home to arguably the highest quality sparkling wines in Italy, made from the same grapes as Champagne, and in the traditional method with second fermentation and long aging in individual bottles. This wine comes from the organic and biodynamic estate of Barone Pizzini, and has a lovely weight of fruit and some of the creamy, brioche notes that come with ageing in bottle. It develops some toast and peach in the mouth, but never loses sight of its acidity, keeping it dry, fresh and delightful.”

Price: £20

Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso 2012

“Sticking with traditional wines at Christmas? Bah, humbug!”, writes Terry Kirby in The Independent. If you are looking for something a bit different this Christmas, why not try this “rare red”, recommends Kirby.

He said: “”Ripasso” is made when young wine is “passed over” remnants of dried grapes used for Amarone, creating another fermentation before oak-ageing. Amazing depth of red fruit and spice, but still fresh. Suits all rich meat and poultry dishes.”

Price: £14.95,; £15.59,

Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2010, England

Finally Jamie Goode, writing in The Express, recommended this “pure and subtle” English sparkling wine from the Gusborne Estate in Sussex.

He said: “A perfect way to start your festive celebration – or to toast Her Majesty later in the day – this is one of England’s finest sparkling wines. From the highly regarded Gusbourne Estate, overlooking the Romney Marsh in Kent, it’s fresh, pure and subtle, with fine apple and pear fruit flavours.”

Price: £26.80,

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