Why you should shop at Selfridges for Wine this Festive Season
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr
The on-line selection from Selfridges is extensive, from the very best through to some good value deals. At the moment, a further 10% discount is available on selected items, some of which I suggest are very attractive.
From the white wines on offer, I picked out a favourite of mine from South Africa. The excellent Chardonnay from Hamilton Russell, grown right down south on the Southern Ocean at Hermanus, with nothing between the vineyards, 2500 metres from the sea, and the Antarctic.
So, this is real cool climate Chardonnay, and made with the care and techniques of good white Burgundy. White peach and pear on the nose with a hint of brioche yeastiness, and a lovely bright crisp finish. Selfridges don't promise the vintage shown on their website, which is 2011, but assuming it has some bottle age, it will be a delicious alternative to Burgundy. £39.99 down to £35.99 with the discount for six bottles.
The next white I was attracted to was from Alsace. Not a fashionable region these days, but a region that produces some of the greatest wines, in particular the Riesling.
The wonderful Co-Operative for some of the best small growers, the Cave de Turkheim, have a Riesling solely from Grand Cru vineyards. Off dry, juicy, aromatic fruit, lovely intensity, and perfect with slightly spicey food like a mild curry or Thai dish. At £20.99 again with a discount for six, this makes it very good value.
There are lots of red wines that attracted me, but the two that I picked out were firstly, an excellent Rioja, Bodegas Ostatu, Reserva, 2012. A fine wine from some of the best vineyards up in the Rioja Alvesa. Mature, nutty, leathery aroma over wonderful dark berry fruit, soft and balanced in the mouth, with nice grip on the finish and fresh acidity. Perfect with spare ribs, grills and roasts. £26.99 plus the discount for six.
The second red wine I selected was from Portugal, which is now producing excellent and interesting wines from their indigenous local grapes, and some the best value also.
At only £8.99 and with the extra discount for six bottles, Santo Isidro de Peges is a lovely complex wine with wild berry fruit and bright acidity, from near Lisbon on the coast at Setubal.
Now, as the dark nights draw in and we get the occasional cold snap, it is time for Port. One of the greatest Houses is Graham's, and they make wonderful Tawny Ports, from wines held high up the Douro to mature in cask, so they are aged to taste like what the Port people call "the Douro bake." Soft, umami character with ageing to bring out the sweet fruit, together with tobacco, dark chocolate, old leather aromas and flavours.
No need to decant these well aged Ports, and on offer with the six-bottle discount on top, are Graham's 20-year-old for £14.99, and their 30-year-old for £22.99, both great value for a delicious after dinner treat, or with cheese. But try very slightly chilled as an aperitif, how they are often drunk up the Douro river, particularly when it's hot.
Christmas is also the best time for Port, and it is not far off.