£14.50, The Wine Society This is another wine, like last week's, that would be a good choice for a Chinese New Year's Eve dinner, but that's not why I've chosen it. I'm recommending it simply because it's too good to miss, whether you have Chinese food on the menu, other Southeast Asian cuisines, a rich paté, a caramelised onion tart or you just want an interesting aperitif. No need to take my word alone: I showed it at a tutored tasting just before Christmas and it swept the
The first of the season's round-ups of recommendations is sparkling wines, from far and near but not Champagne – that gets its own show soon. Give or take special offers, they're in ascending order of price, except that this year I've given English sparkling wines their own zone (scroll down). Their quality warrants it. I'd like to have included more, but wanted to keep numbers manageable. One wine I intended recommending is out of stock, but it's worth noting for when it's b
£14.99, Ocado One taste of this and you understand why Crémant d’Alsace is the most popular sparkling wine in France (aside from Champagne) and why the French keep nine out of every ten bottles for themselves. It’s dreamily fresh, rounded and floral with delicate honeysuckle, peach, ginger and citrus flavours and a breezy grapefruit-zest finish. It’s made in the same way as Champagne, which means the bubbles are created in the bottle during a second fermentation and the wine
£8.50, The Wine Society There are much showier Alsace wines, not least Gewurztraminer, but for an aperitif or a match for salad, shellfish or charcuterie, where you want the wine to accompany you or the food but not to shout, Sylvaner is perfect. This one is typical of the Maison Léon Beyer style: bone-dry, crisp, leafy and citrusy with just a murmur of riper peach and pear. It takes a few moments for the aromas and flavours to unfold, so it’s worth giving your glass a swirl.