If, like me, you’re one of those grumps who thinks New Year’s Eve is overrated and would rather die in a ditch than sing Auld Lang Syne, you may just fancy going to bed early with a mug of cocoa and binge-watching Fleabag come Tuesday night. But just because you’re not partying, or even having friends round, there’s no reason you shouldn’t drink something decent. In fact, I’d go further: with respect to my recipe-writing Feast colleagues, New Year’s Eve is a night for buying a really good bottle, then working out what to eat with it.
Champagne may be a bit of a cliche, but if you enjoy it throughout the evening, rather than save a sip for midnight, it feels altogether more special and indulgent. If you’re seeing in the New Year solo, I’d be tempted by Waitrose’s offer on half-bottles of Bollinger Special Cuvée (12%), which is currently reduced from £23.99 to £17.99, though for the same price you could admittedly share a full bottle of the Co-op’s consistently excellent Les Pionniers (12%), which is now on offer at £18.
Personally, I’m always up for an opportunity to crack open a bottle of white burgundy, or any other good chardonnay, come to that (and if it’s not burgundy, it will probably be cheaper, too). Waitrose has got the deliciously creamy Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay (12.5%), from Western Australia, on offer for £9.99, down from £12.99, at the moment (it’s also at Booths).
As for red wine, well, that depends on what, or if, you’re eating. If New Year’s Eve is a steak night round your house, a malbec or a cabernet such as the Chilean VIK cabernet below will do the trick. If, however, you’re drinking it on its own, perhaps with some party-ish nibbles, a light-ish red, more likely a pinot noir, would fit the bill better. Majestic has a really good deal on a Louis Latour southern French pinot at the moment, or try the deliciously silky, supple Coney Pizzicato Pinot Noir 2017 (13%), from Martinborough in New Zealand, which is £16.99 on that same store’s mix-six deal.
If you want to steer clear of anything remotely Christmassy, how about riesling? Lidl has got a really good Tasmanian riesling for £9.99 in its latest Wine Tour selection, or, if you’ve a Booths nearby, pick up the wackily named Not Your Grandma’s Riesling 2018 (11.5%), from Chaffey Bros in Australia’s Eden Valley, for £12. You could even make 2020 the year you finally get into riesling …
Four good bottles to see in the new year
Pinot Noir Domaine de Valmoissine, Louis Latour 2016
You could pass this off as a red burgundy, and may well get away with it.
The Second Fleet Tasmania Riesling
£9.99 Lidl, 11.5%.
A just off-dry, lime-streaked riesling that can handle a bit of spice. Particularly good value for Tassie.
Artuke Rioja 2018
Rioja, but not as you know it: bright, breezy, juicy and downright delicious. Perfect for a selection of cold meats or a cheeseboard.
VIK Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
If you want a big red for the big night, this lush Chilean should hit the spot.
• For more by Fiona Beckett, go to matchingfoodandwine.com
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