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Top 10 wines in the UK press

2013 Miss Vicky Fleurie, Beaujolais, France

David Williams takes to his Guardian to discuss wine labels, and how somewhat strange or slightly conceited label designs can sometimes distract from the bottle’s delicious contents. This is the case with this wine, as Williams writes: “With a label like a 90s chick-lit cover as designed by Primark, Miss Vicky Fleurie would never have made the cut” in his view. However, the “flowing, pretty, red-fruited contents [are] utterly delightful and true to the character of Beaujolais’ Fleurie region.”

£11.99, Smiling Grape

Blind Spot Rutherglen Muscat NV, Australia

Next, Williams writes: “Generally speaking I’d always prefer to choose a wine made from their own grapes and bottled by a single producer in a single region – most of my favourite wines follow precisely this recipe.

“But again, there are exceptions. The Wine Society’s bunch of Blind Spot Australian wines are very much among them. Featuring everything from a succulent red GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) from McLaren Vale (£7.75) to a liquid fruitcake from Rutherglen in Victoria, they’re consistently superb value.”

£6.95, 37.5cl, The Wine Society

2013 Te Mata Awatea Cabernet Merlot, Hawkes Bay

Anthony Rose, who writes a wine for The Independent, recommends this wine from Marks & Spencer as his “splash out” pour of the week. “A super-fragrant Bordeaux blend [with] intense cassis fruitiness is leavened with herb and mint.”

£30, Marks & Spencer

Les Pionniers Champagne NV, France

Victoria Moore at The Telegraph took the mammoth task this week of listing her 50 top wines for Christmas, of which we’ve picked her top sparklers. Beginning with this “star buy”, Moore writes, “This own-label pinot-based Champagne (it’s 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay) is a triumph every year. I have no idea how they make it so good for this price but – what a buy.”

Co-op, £16.99 

Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2010, England

Next, Moore give special mention to this “outstanding English sparkling wine” from Nyetimber which is “made from all three Champagne grapes.

“Creamy, racy and sophisticated and it smells a little bit of brioche. Just lovely.”

Waitrose, £23.99 down from £31.99 until 8 December

2014 Taste the Difference, Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France

Next, the Daily Mail‘s Matthew Jukes makes his biggest call of the year with this choice, naming it as his top red wine for under £7. Sparing no emphasis, Jukes writes: This note should be in bold and also underlined because I would like to stress just how incredible this inexpensive red wine is!  Superb in every way this is the definitive, brooding wintry red wine.”

Sainsbury’s, £7.00

2014 Chardonnay i Corleonesi, Sicily, Italy

Continuing, Jukes heaps praise on this wine “made by the awesome, award-winning Planeta winery”. He writes: “this wine is an absolute belter with full, creamy, rich fruit and enough weight to go with main course fish and chicken dishes.

“Don’t delay and order a case today – you will not believe the value!”

£12.99, reduced to £7.99 until Christmas, Laithwaites

2014 finest* Grechetto, Umbria, Italy

And thirdly, bringing back to the label debate mentioned earlier, Jukes writes: “You could easily overlook this wine with its bland label, but this is a heavenly, hidden gem with a wonderful beguiling floral nose and a honeysuckle and stone-fruit kissed palate.

“A real curio and one which will show off the quirky Grechetto grape to a tee.”

£6.00, Tesco

2013 Blanquette de Limoux ‘Saint-Hilaire’, Aimery

Our final contributor this week is Jonathan Ray of The Spectator, who laments the coming of the cut-price Champagne deals hitting UK supermarkets in the run up to Christmas.

“If I can’t have or can’t afford Pol or Bol or something similar, then I’d far rather stick to the 2013 Blanquette de Limoux ‘Saint-Hilaire’,” which he describes as “a wonderful sparkler made by the Champagne method in the Languedoc and offered here by the wise old Wine Company.

“They were making sparkling wine there a full century before they worked out how to do it in Champagne, and this blend of Blanquette (aka Mauzac), Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc is spot-on. It’s dry with fine acidity and, having aged on its lees, has plenty of weighty white peach and pear fruit with a nice touch of ripeness.”

£11 down from £12.99, Wine Company

2013 Pic St-Loup ‘Sélection’ Seigneur de Lauret, Languedoc

And finally, “a robust blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache brimming with concentrated ripe red and black fruit, liquorice and spice” is how this Languedoc pour is described by Ray.

“There is some tannin but you won’t notice this with grub, and I reckon it would be a great partner to the roast turkey or baked ham.”

£9.75 down from £10.99, Wine Company

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