CRACKERJACK CHRISTMAS WINE ALERT

It’s always good on Christmas Day – especially if you have the odd wine pseud in tow – to come up with a belter of a wine that, by reputation, looks as if it might not be up to much.

Cotes Catalanes, for example, has come up more than a bit in recent years….but it’s still only Indication Geographique Protegee in the Gallic pecking order. However, there is a 2010 Carignan grape version selected by (yes, alright, I hate them too) the evil Tescopoly, and it is on sale right here in the UK with a capital U and that stands for Unbelievable.

At £7.99 it was a bit of an outlay, but nevertheless brilliant. However, it’s on offer at £6.99 – and if you order online, at £4.98 it truly is a delicious drink at half the price you’d pay for a New World equivalent. On the advice of the label, yesterday I tried it with some slow-cooked lamb, and it was indeed a match close to perfection. But today I tried it with a roast coquelet, and it still tasted like the sort of wine I could only afford to order when working in advertising all those billions of years ago.

Now hear this, as the Americans say: there is also a Grenache version at £6.70 a bottle, two for £12. For me, it wasn’t in the same class. But you could still pitch up with this at the best supper parties and be remembered for many months afterwards.

With an all-the-trimmings Turkey, the Cotes Catalanes 2010 Carignan would be a damned good way of bringing bacon, stuffing and sausages into full play. With a Lancashire cheese afterwards, it’d be just as good. Even better with the ham for supper. Or bourgignon on Boxing Day.

Look, it’s Christmas: for under forty quid a case, you can’t go wrong.