Christmas feasts call for classic wines. The lavish reds and whites of Burgundy are perfect partners to fish and fowl. And there are countless delectable alternatives to choose from too. I've lined up a dozen seasonal favourites.
Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2012 (Waitrose and Majestic £11.99) is what I call a classic red burgundy. This is a young, vigorous wine with a pellucid ruby colour and textbook pinot noir aromas of bright fresh cherries and raspberries. The fruit corresponds fully, flooding the tastebuds with vivid juicy flavours clothed in a firm but gentle grip of tannin. It's the perfect red wine with fatty, rich and complicated dishes, in particular turkey with all the trimmings, or Boxing Day cold cuts.
Arc du Rhone Chateauneuf du Pape 2011, reduced at Waitrose from £20.49 to £13.49 is a dramatically good wine at a dramatically reduced price. I thought it decent value even at the full price. It's a lovely slinky, nuanced and spicy red in the classic Chateauneuf style, unexpectedly mellow. Needs a meaty match.
Medici Riccardi Riserva Chianti Classico 2010 at £7.99 from Lidl just has to be my Christmas Chianti choice. It comes in a portentous-looking bottle and has cask-aged Chianti character – plummy, defined, coolly minty dark fruit with a textbook dry edge. Smart wine at a smart price.
Barbera d'Asti 2010 at £9.99 from Lidl is a fine expression of this popular Piedmont red. From a small estate charmingly named Alice Bel Colle, it has typical dark blueberry fruit with perky bounce and a lick of richness. Lovely match for the turkey.
Rioja Campo Aldea Graciano 2008 (Marks & Spencer £12.99) is my pick from a crowded field of brilliant Rioja reds this year. This one, made from graciano grapes in place of the customary tempranillo and garnacha, jangles with juicy blackcurrant richness and smooth creaminess. It will do justice to any kind of roast from beef to birds.
Kanonkop Kadette 2011, reduced at Sainsbury's from £9.99 to £8.49, might not be an instinctive Christmas choice, but this is a classic from one of South Africa's best-rated estates, the Kanonkop in Stellenbosch, at what seems a reasonable price. It is a delectably savoury blend of indigenous pinotage grapes with cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
Louis Latour Viré Clessé 2010 (Wine Rack £12.49) is a white burgundy of true chardonnay character, ripe, creamy and lush. Viré Clessé is the newest (1999) appellation in the Maconnais region of southern Burgundy, and one of its most distinctive. A lavish match for seasonal treats from shellfish to turkey.
Ladoix Le Clou d'Orge 2010 (£18.99 from winedirect.com) Ladoix might not be among the best-known of the vineyard appellations of Burgundy's Cotes de Beaune, but judging by this gorgeous white wine it's a name to look out for. Made by esteemed Burgundy producer Louis Jadot from chardonnay grapes grown in the premier cru vineyard of Le Clou d'Orge, this is an extravagant greeny-gold, oak-matured dry wine with peachy-pineapple aromas and plump, buttery richness counterpointed by apple crispness.
Marimar Estate Acero Chardonnay 2009 at £25.54 online from vintagemarque.com (order by December 18 for Christmas delivery) is a sunny, exotic Californian twist on the white burgundy style. Marimar is the Sonoma County estate of Marimar Torres from the Spanish wine dynasty. It's gorgeously plush and ripe. The maker recommends it with tapas and light dishes. I suggest shellfish.
Gossaume Les Sauterelles Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (£9.95 from Lea & Sandeman – look online for delivery details) is the wine I would most like to drink with smoked salmon. Completely new to me, this is Loire Valley sauvignon of extraordinary intensity.
Seifried Estate Sweet Agnes Riesling 2012 37.5cl bottle (larger Waitrose branches – or online – at £13.99) is my favourite "pudding wine" from New Zealand. Modelled on the rare beerenauslese rieslings of Germany, this is a honeyed white wine of limpid luxuriance, modest alcohol (10.5 per cent) and surpassing balance. It is ambrosially sweet.