Hedonism Wines – helping us raise a glass with class

Looking for a very special bottle? Head buyer Alistair Viner picks his favourite tipples for the festive season

(Image credit: ilya Krylov Photography and visualisation)

Sparkling wines

Petit & Bajan Ambrosie, Champagne, France, NV, £39.80

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Petit & Bajan is a grower that cultivates its grapes in the Grand Cru villages of Avize and Verzenay. Ambrosie is a blend of 70 per cent chardonnay from Avize and 30 per cent pinot noir from Verzenay. This is a finessed and lively wine, with beautiful stone-fruit characteristics and a long, pure finish.

Although the family has a long tradition of making champagne, this is a new venture for them and seriously over-delivers for the price – it's certainly a great way to kick off the Christmas festivities and very much a house to watch.

Giulio Ferrari Riserva, Trentino, Italy, 1999, £218

A great alternative to champagne and sure not to disappoint, this is a wonderful Italian sparkler from the northern Trentino region. Made in the champenoise method, this boasts a rich, creamy palate and flavours of citrus fruit, white flowers and mineral. This particular house has been crafting sparkling wines since the early 1900s, meaning this really does rival the best champagnes on the market.

White wines

Bourgogne Aligote Buisson-Charles, Burgundy, France, 2013, £15.80

This is a lovely crisp, cool and classy white that's medium-bodied, with good freshness and notes of lemon, green apple and other orchard fruits. It's perfect on its own, but can also work with lighter seafood dishes. It offers a great alternative to the better-known chardonnay from Burgundy and has great versatility for many of the traditional Christmas dishes.

Chateau Grillet, Rhone Valley, France, 2006, £171

Made in tiny quantities from a property at the northern end of the Rhone Valley, the 2006 Chateau Grillet has flavours of dried apricot, white peach and a lingering, smoky finish. Elegant and quite floral, this wine is great with turkey for those who prefer white to red.

Red wines

Chris Ringland Marvel Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia, 2010, £44.90

A classic winter warmer from Australia's Barossa Valley, this is a big, generous wine that's a must for fans of shiraz: full-bodied yet soft and juicy, with intense blackberry, dark cherry and sweet spice notes. It is a universally appealing wine that will not only complement a great Christmas dinner, but also go with all those delicious leftovers.

Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux, France, 1982, £266.70

One of the greatest Bordeaux vintages of the past 50 years was 1982 and this fully mature effort from the respected Chateau Montrose is a super example of the vintage. Rich, complex and relatively full, this has deliciously pure flavours of dark cherry, woodsmoke and a little spice. A real classic and perfect for those who like something a little more traditional on Christmas Day.

Sweet wines

Pelee Island Vidal Ice Wine, Canada, 2006 (37.5cl), £46.50

Canada has really laid down a marker in recent years, with the quality of its ice wine rivalled only by Germany. It is super-sweet and richly textured, with flavours of marmalade, brown sugar and spice, as well as perfect acidity. Although a little left field, its sweetness, coupled with its lovely freshness, really works nicely with the intensity of Christmas pudding.

Chateau d'Yquem, Sauternes, France, 2001 (37.5cl), £335.90

Variously described by critics as "perfect", "greatest" and "benchmark", the 2001 D'Yquem is certainly one of the best wines this chateau has produced in recent years. Still relatively youthful, with marmalade, pineapple, creme brulee and almond flavours, this will age gracefully over the next 50 years.

A real delight of a wine that can be enjoyed with some foie gras before the main course, with the pudding at the end, and perhaps with a nice chunk of Stilton. If you're feeling really decadent, why not enjoy it on its own?

ALISTAIR VINER is head buyer for Hedonism, a fine wine and spirits boutique based in London's Mayfair; hedonism.co.uk. Top image by Ilya Krylov

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