“Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies!”

Francis P. Church

We open bottles of wine all year round, but if you’re anything like me, the ones you remember most are those enjoyed with family and friends, which is why I particularly love getting the selection right at Christmas.

It feels more important than ever this year after the Grinch stole family get-togethers in 2020, so we have you covered with a selection of wines and spirits that stood out in tastings this year and a very special Christmas Case from the Wine Society.


Gerard Richardson MBE is a wine columnist for Newsquest

Gerard Richardson MBE is a wine columnist for Newsquest


Just remember, Christmas is the time to give it a go, so if you’ve looked at it on the shelf for a few weeks now, don't be as tight as a duck's backside and enjoy the festivities.

Follow me on twitter @gerardfinewine


The Ultimate Christmas Day Case. The Wine Society £155

The Ultimate Christmas Day Case. The Wine Society £155


The Ultimate Christmas Day Case

Trust the Wine Society to cover it all, with everything from a champagne starter to the perfect partner for a cheese board. The case includes The Society’s Exhibition Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2017, Château Charmail, Haut-Médoc 2012, Domaine Cordier, Saint-Véran En Faux 2019, Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Premier Cru Butteaux 2019, Champagne Alfred Gratien Brut 2009, Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha Vintage Port 2001

The Wine Society £155.00

Red Wines

Sir Lowry Cabernet Sauvignon, Journey's End, SA

I could just say, ‘gorgeous’ but I guess it would be worth expanding on that to tell you about the silky cassis flavours on a lovely velvety palate and the long finish with a hint of chocolate that just caps it all off.

Waitrose £14.99

Bird in the Hand Merlot, Adelaide Hills, Australia

Wow, the name is almost as much of a mouthful as the wine itself. I prefer to just call it Tondonia and I've always advised folk to buy this whenever you see it available. So rich its almost a meal in itself with lashings of smoky vanilla, hedgerow fruit and liquorice. Its absolutely sublime and would grace any table at Christmas.

www.tanners-wines.co.uk £19.50

Bogle Phantom, California

This is one of my standout wines of 2021. It’s packed with ripe dark fruits and spice and has one of the creamiest, most complex palates of any wine I've tried under £50 a pop. This will age well but to be honest, you really would need a lot of self discipline!

www.Harrisonsfinewines.com £23.95

White wine

Roaring Meg Pinot Gris, NZ

An off dry style with an appealing apple pie nose leading into a palate of clean water melon and pear fruits. The finish is remarkably refreshing making this the wine to refresh your palate after Christmas dinner.

Majestic Wines £15.99 per bottle or £13.99 mixed six

Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay, California

With a nose like warm panettone and a palate of pears, melons and toasty vanilla, this is a simply outstanding chardonnay for the price and would wash anyones turkey down very gracefully.

Oddbins £19.00

Gary Barlow Organic White

This one was one of my surprise ‘hits’ of 2021 and it will make a cracking aperitif for Christmas Day. Crisp, clean flowery fruits and a very refreshing mouthwatering finish. Perfect with a shellfish starter.

www.winedelivered.co.uk £8.00


Bodegas Alvear PX Solera 1927

A sherry style from the neighbouring region, but crikey, what a wine. Some of this amazing liquid was made before the Wall Street crash! A succulent drink with figs, treacle, lashings of caramel and legs that would make a super model jealous!

Thefinewinecompany.co.uk £18.95

Corney & Barrow 20 Year Old Tawny Port

Their 20-year-old is one of the most seductive tawnies I've tasted in years, with all the nuttiness, caramel and vanilla you expect, but then it goes in and throws a bit of fruit as well. Its utterly delightful and definitely a contender for fireside happiness this Christmas.

www.corneyandbarrow.com £34.50

Whisky & Rum

Glenallachie 15 Year Old

I've tasted some truly outstanding Malts this year and many of them were truly outstanding prices, but few of them compared to this rather indulgent stunner from Glenallachie. Aged in PX and Oloroso Sherry casks, this is Christmas in a glass with candied oranges, chocolate and a warm spiced finish.

www.tyndrumwhisky.com £65.00

Glenfiddich 23 year old Grand Cru

Yeah, I know, many of us have bought cars for less than this in the past but I bet they don't leave memories as good as this will. Brioche bread, vanilla and citrus fruits abound in this remarkable whisky that I was privileged to try.

www.robertgraham1874.com £190.00


Rum and Cake

Rum and Cake


Rum & Cake, Buck and Birch

Its a weird name but it pretty much does what it says on the label. This is for want of a better word a liquidised alcoholic fruit cake and its probably the best of the newcomers I've tasted this year. Warming, spicy and quite unique with its Scottish grown spice, Hogseed Parkin. Well done!

www.Buckandbirch.com £32.99