three wines under seven pounds

The Exquisite Collection Semillon, Hunter Valley, Australia 2013 (£6.99, Aldi) I’ve been hunting around for Christmas wines that won’t max out the credit card this week, budget bottles for each of the courses in a traditional British festive feast. As an attractively lean, light and lemony dry white for seafood starters, Aldi’s Aussie Semillon is just below my self-imposed seven-quid ceiling, as is the zippy elderflower of fellow discounter Lidl’s Yealands Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough (£5.89). For smoked fish, The Co-operative has an offer on its genteel, slightly creamier Cave de Lugny Mâcon-Villages (now £6.99), while the rounded apricot of Laurent Miquel Vendanges Nocturnes Viognier IGP Pays d’Oc, France 2014 (down from £8.99 to £6.70, Waitrose) can cope with the turkey and trimmings.

Lidl Graves Grande Réserve, Bordeaux, France 2014 (£5.49) For the traditionally minded, Christmas dinner wouldn’t be the same without claret, but Bordeaux’s reds can be a little brusque and mean below £7. The succulent crunchy cassis of Lidl’s find in Graves is a welcome exception to the rule, but a fuller, more sweetly fruited Chilean such as the Morrisons Signature Carmenère 2014 (£7), with its attractive leafy character, may have wider appeal. For those whose ideal Christmas dinner red would be the spicy warmth of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Asda Wine Atlas Château de Fornas Corbières 2014 offers some those of qualities at a very attractive £5.75, while burgundy lovers will enjoy the supple floral prettiness of Frunza Pinot Noir, Romania 2014 (£7, Oddbins), and those who always have classic oaky Rioja could do worse than the mellow vanilla and plump blackberry of Lagunilla Rioja Reserva 2009 (£6.50, Tesco)

M Signature Pedro Ximénez Sherry NV (£5.99, 37.5cl, Morrisons) The treacly dark and viscous style of sherry known as PX both looks and tastes like liquid Christmas pudding: teeth-janglingly sweet with boozy raisins and spice with a lick of salt. Morrisons has a very good and superb-value example to finish off the meal. Still in the Spanish sweet camp, although considerably lighter and closer to gold in colour, the tangy, crystallised fruit jelly of Winemaker’s Selection by Sainsbury’s Moscatel de Valencia NV (£5) makes a good partner for the cheese board and lighter desserts, as would the same retailer’s exotic, steely German sweetie, House Dessert Wine NV (£5). Finally, it’s back to Morrisons for the figgy Tawny Port NV made by the reliable Symington family, a Stilton-ready snip at £7.




By Adam