Time to start thinking about Christmas wines

John Wilson: A keenly priced Bordeaux that will have you reaching for that second glass, and two natural wines to try

‘Tis the season. At this time of year most importers publish new lists and hold trade tastings to grab the attention of our retailers and restaurants for the all-important Christmas season. The multiples, many of whom source their wines directly, have also been busy preparing for the busiest period of the year.

This year I suspect some importers are being a little cautious in their purchasing. It takes a certain amount of courage to bring in new and exciting wines in the current economic climate. Having said that, our importers certainly do not lack enthusiasm so there is no shortage of interesting wines.

Fitou is one of the oldest appellations in the Languedoc in the sunny south of France. The region is best known for its warming inexpensive blends made from local red grapes, usually produced by one of several co-operatives. The wine below is one such example.

The B by Fonbadet is a very keenly priced Bordeaux that will definitely have you reaching for that second glass. Made by Château Fonbadet in Pauillac from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, this is unashamedly modern in style, with soft, round, ripe fruits.


If you have had mixed experiences with natural or low intervention wines, the two below are well worth trying. They are not cheap, but both have a wonderful purity of fruit and real character. I have tasted the wines of Herbert Zillinger twice this year and have been blown away on both occasions. His Grüner Veltliners, from the less fashionable wine region of Weinviertel, are inspiring. The only addition is a small addition of SO2 at bottling; the wines have real finesse and great beauty.

The Mosse Chenin below is also natural. The vineyards have been organically farmed since 1999. The family-owned estate produces a range of red and white wines from the Anjou region in the Loire valley. The Chenin Blanc below, made from younger vines, has real depth and fruit-filled complexity.

Seigneurie d’Arse 2019, Les Maîtres Vignerons de Cascatel, Fitou


Medium-bodied with red cherries, an earthiness, and smooth tannins. Serve with a hearty midweek casserole.

From Lidl

B by Fonbadet 2019, Bordeaux


Luscious svelte cassis and dark chocolate with smooth tannins. Great with red pepper stew or lamb cutlets.

From Deveney’s, Dundrum, Drinkstore, D7; Clontarf Wines; Redmonds, D6; Jus de Vine, Portmarknock; The Grapevine, D9; Baggot St. Wines.

Zillinger Neuland Grüner Veltliner 2021, Austria, Biodynamic


Intense, fresh and spicy with succulent textured peach fruits. Superb wine.

From Morton’s, Galway; The Allotment.ie; Roundwood Stores; Clontarf Wines, the Wine Pair

Mosse Deuxième Mise Chenin 2020, Vin de France, Biodynamic


Beautiful, pure lightly pithy orchard fruits with a touch of honey and refreshing acidity. Perfect with salmon with beurre blanc.

From LeCavea u.ie, Lillith Stores, D7.