Bottles under €20 for budget-friendly Christmas cheer

John Wilson: Richer and more powerful styles of wine can stand up to the demands of turkey and trimmings

This week, a range of drinks to enjoy with your festive feast, all costing under €20, in keeping with a more modest approach to Christmas expenditure. A glass of sparkling wine will always create a sense of anticipation and excitement. The Santa Tresa rosé featured here is a delightful wine and a superior alternative to prosecco. Do serve a few canapés or nibbles of some sort as sparkling wine is absorbed much more quickly into the system than still wine is. If you have guests who aren’t drinking, the Thomson and Scott non-alcoholic wine can be enjoyed before and during your festive feast.

If you prefer white wines, I recommend going for a richer style, one with sufficient fruit and power to stand up to turkey and more importantly the powerful trimmings. I would usually drink white wine with cauliflower dishes, so with Lilly Higgins’s cauliflower en croute, the same white wines will cover both options. The white wines here will also go very well with seafood starters. You could also consider a semillon, chenin blanc or chardonnay (including really good white burgundy), an oaky white rioja or a rich southern Rhône.

When it comes to red wine, many Irish consumers go unerringly for a rioja reserva to drink alongside their turkey. This is not a bad choice. Gráinne O’Keefe’s recipe today uses the turkey leg, which has much more flavour than the white meat, so don’t be afraid to go for something with a bit of power, such as a smooth, rich Australian grenache, southern Rhône or Spanish garnacha.

If you prefer lighter wines a fruit-filled beaujolais would do nicely. However, I usually find myself choosing a good red burgundy. If you prefer New World pinot, the O’Briens Viña Leyda Las Brisas pinot noir is very well-priced at €15.95. Another bargain I came across recently is the unoaked organic rioja joven (€15) from


If you are on a tight budget, the Aldi roussanne (€8.99) or the Alsace Jean Cornelius riesling (€9.99 from Lidl) will keep white wine drinkers happy. For a red wine, Dunnes has the Visan côtes du Rhône (€10.12) and Aldi the lighter Specially Selected fleurie (€9.99).

If you have a craft beer drinker at the table, serve a full-bodied IPA with your turkey, or the featured Mescan Westport Extra. A saison or lighter IPA would go nicely with cauliflower and roast root vegetables. Another option is craft cider, which matches very well with a wide variety of foods, including turkey.

To finish on a sweet note, Aldi has a their LBV Port for €14.99 which would go nicely with Christmas pudding, as would the San Felice vin santo (€17.95 half bottle) from O’Briens.

Thomson & Scott Organic alcohol-free sparkling chardonnay

0 per cent, €15-€17

Delightfully fresh and frothy with clean green apple fruits and a rounded finish.

From Avoca; Clontarf Wines; Martins, D3; Jus de Vine;; Evergreen, Galway; Whelehans; Gibneys.

Santa Tresa Il Frappato brut rosé NV, Sicily, organic

12.5 per cent, €19.95

Gorgeous, delicate raspberry and strawberry fruits and a mouth-watering dry finish.

From O’Briens.

Iria Otero sacabeira albarino 2020 Rías Baixas

13.5 per cent, €19.21

Zesty and fresh with sophisticated textured orchard fruits and a lengthy saline finish.


Cantina Tramin pinot grigio 2021, Alto Adige

13.5 per cent, €19

Very appealing rich succulent apple and pear fruits with lively lemon zest to balance.

From Celtic Whiskey; Clontarf Wines; 64wine; Martin’s, D3.

Vacqueyras 2019, Remy Ferbras

14.5 per cent, €12, down from €20.99

Full-bodied and rich with supple, warming red fruits with spicy hints.

From SuperValu.

Domaine Marguerite Carillon bourgogne pinot noir, 2019

13 per cent, €18

Fragrant, elegant, fresh dark cherry and blackberry fruits and a nicely rounded finish.

From Dunnes Stores.

Mescan Westport Extra

8.5 per cent, €4-4.50 for a 330ml bottle

A rich, warming, full-bodied golden ale bursting with robust fruit and spice.

Available direct or from specialist off-licences.

Cockagee Irish Cider

5 per cent, €2.40 for a 375ml bottle

Lightly effervescent with full-bodied ripe orchard fruits with a sweet/sour twist on the finish.

Widely available in off-licences and supermarkets.