Four good-value Christmas bottles from Marks & Spencer’s wine range
Wines for the Weekend: John Wilson on the Classics range of well-priced own-label bottles
M&S Classics: No 36 Bourgogne Pinot Noir, No 11 Corbières, No 3 Gavi and No 4 Pinot Grigio delle Venezie
This week a look at what to buy from Marks & Spencer’s wine shelves this Christmas. The bottles in its range tend to be a little more expensive than other supermarkets’, but they also tend to be a little better. The selection is certainly more adventurous, with plenty of offbeat, interesting wines.
There have been huge changes in the line-up over the past year. In the early spring they launched This Is..., a range of 15 wines, designed to simplify the task of choosing a bottle. In July came the Classics range, a series of 16 wines, to grow to 30, of well-priced own-label wines.
As well as the wines here, I also enjoyed the bright, vibrant Classics No 32 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc (€11.80) and the fruit-filled Classics No 35 Beaujolais Villages (€11.80). These two together would certainly sort out your Christmas dinner, although I would also be tempted to trade up to the Fleurie (€15).
The English Nyetimber Classic Cuvée Rose, for €59, with its refined raspberry and brioche, would make a great way to get your Christmas Day proceedings going
I am also a big fan of the Classic No 5 Workhorse Chenin Blanc 2020, Stellenbosch, a great Christmas all-purpose wine to serve with starters and with turkey. Rosé drinkers should try the Classics No 22 Cotes de Provence Rosé 2019 (€11.80), perfect with all sorts of starters. Alternatively, a sparkling rosé will add a touch of frivolity, and the English Nyetimber Classic Cuvée Rose (€59), with its refined raspberry and brioche, would make a great way to get the proceedings going.
If you are serving beef or goose, the Classics No 34 Bordeaux Claret 2019 (€10.50) is a bargain, or if you fancy something special, try the elegant, refined Lucien Lurton & Fils Saint-Julien 2016 (€32.50). I didn’t get to taste it yet, but the Very Rare Palo Cortado Dry Sherry (€12 per half-bottle) will be top of my shopping list this Christmas.
M&S Classics No 4 Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2019
I am not always a huge Pinot Grigio fan, but this is a lovely fresh, crisp wine with bright, toothsome melon fruits. Try it on its own before dinner or with light starters, including delicate seafood dishes.
M&S Classics No 3 Gavi 2019
Light and refreshing, with herbal aromas and subtle pear fruits. This would make a great aperitif, or go well with crudites, light vegetable dishes and salads.
M&S Classics No 11 Corbières 2019
From the south of France, this is a chunky, structured wine with ripe, herby dark fruits. This would go nicely with ham, goose or roast beef.
M&S Classics No 36 Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2018
Lovely, easy raspberry and red-cherry fruits with a soft finish. This is very good value for money, and would provide the perfect foil for turkey, ham, goose or duck.