The sobering thought this Monday morning is that we are only six weeks away from Christmas.
Yes, we are only days away from the start of that marathon round of drinks parties, office dos, and family get-togethers that makes us all want to go away in January.
There is one wine above all other that stars at Christmas and that’s champagne. During the festive season a musty bottle of Cava simply won’t do.
Once again the enormous marketing machine behind the French wine trade has triumphed and somehow made us think that a fizzy drink, served near freezing point is just the ticket when the frost lies round about, deep and crisp and even.
Just as it pays to get your Christmas shopping underway early, it also pays to think about Christmas drinks in good time, or you can end up paying a premium or missing out on your drink of choice. This is all the more pertinent this year given the fall in the pound has pushed up prices across the board.
The value choice, if you are pIanning a large party remains Lidl’s Comte de Senneval Champagne at just £10.99.
Yes it is mass produced, yes it lacks any great depth or finesse but it is a perfectly decent drop – at an astonishingly low price.
Keep an eye out for it and be aware that supplies do not seem to be limitless.
Meanwhile I have also noticed that Majestic’s perennial 25 per cent off champagne offer – if you buy six – is underway and is worth a look. Here you can put something away for the big day.
Majestic has always done a decent job of stocking all the grands marques, so much so that you are often spoiled for choice.
This year I have picked out two, both very different in style but both from family-owned houses that do a decent job of competing with the giant combines like LVMH that dominate the region these days.
The first is Taittinger Brut Reserve. Although this is the starting price wine from the house it still benefits from their fine supply of chardonnay grapes and is a lovely balanced champagne with a floral finish and just a hint of apricot. In the Majestic offer it sells for £27.73 a bottle which is decent value.
The second is Louis Roederer’s main champagne, the Brut Premier. Not many of us can afford Cristal at £150 a bottle and up, even when Santa is in his sleigh. But the Brut Premier is made with the same finesse as its richer cousin.
Very different to the Taittinger, with 40 per cent pinot noir in the blend (mainly from Roederer’s own vineyards), this is a darker and fuller champagne with some noticeable age given it spends four years in the bottle before being released. At £32.23, you deserve to treat yourself – it only comes once a year you know.
Louis Roederer, Brut Premier (Majestic £32.23)