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Pop some Prosecco this festive season

If there was ever a time to crack open the bubbly, it’s the festive season. In the run-up to Christmas and the New Year the satisfying sound of a cork popping is almost an everyday occurrence.

Nowadays, it’s highly likely that the bottle being opened is one of Prosecco – the easy-drinking fizz that has taken the world by storm. Through my work with The Prosecco D.O.C (Registered Designation of Origin) Consortium, I present on Prosecco across the UK and am overjoyed at the level of interest in this fantastic, versatile fizz that is as accessible yet also complex and nuanced.

The different levels of sugar content with the ‘Brut’, ‘Extra Dry’ and ‘Dry’ styles and the different types of effervescence, with Spumante or Frizzante, offer a whole range of flavour profiles. And that’s before you begin to look at different producers across the two regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia that make up the home of Prosecco in north east Italy. The Proseccos produced by producers across the nine provinces in these regions – Treviso, Venice, Vicenza, Padova and Belluno in Veneto and Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste and Udine in Friuli-Venezia Giulia – offer their own unique characteristics that mean there really is something for everyone.

You may be  looking for an aperitif or perhaps you’re on a quest for a perfect pairing with food, whether it’s Grana Padano PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), sushi or Parma ham. Whatever you’re after, there is a Prosecco for you. It’s just a case of knowing which one to choose.

I’ve picked out six top Prosecco producers whose wines will suit a variety of occasions this Christmas and New Year:-

Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry, Veneto, Italy, £10.75. Stockist: Tesco, Tesco Wine by the Case

This company, begun by Francesco Mionetto 1887 in Valdobbiadene, has an excellent range. The Extra Dry is a great example with lovely balance and notes of green apples, acacia and apricots, but for me their Treviso Brut is also really impressive.


La GioisaProsecco DOC La Gioiosa Et Amorosa NV Treviso, Veneto, Italy, £11.99 on offer to £9.99. Stockist: Majestic

La Gioiosa is owned by the lovely Moretti Polegato family, who produce this is delicious, elegant and soft Prosecco, which has floral and citrus character and is a delicious match with seafood. Make sure you have a bottle nice and chilled.


San Leo Prosecco DOC Brut NV, Veneto, Italy, £10.99 on offer at £7.99. Stockist: Waitrose

A great one for a party or aperitif, this Prosecco is packed with lively fruit flavours. As well as a standard bottle, it’s also available in magnum for that showstopping moment, currently £20.99 down to £15.99.


Prosecco Masottina DOC Brut, Treviso, Italy, £12.99. Stockist:

Located in Prosecco’s Conegliano region of the Veneto and owned by the Dal Bianco family since 1946,Masottina produces a range of high quality Proseccos and this DOC remains as popular as ever. This Decenter Gold Medal winner is stylish, smooth, elegant and creamy, it will be a winner at any party and family celebration.

Prosecco Valdo Marca Oro DOC Extra Dry £10.00 on offer at £7.00, Sainsbury’s

This is a very well known producer and popular Prosecco, which should be part of your Christmas selections. Full of freshness and light, lemony fruit flavours, with lovely creamy character too.

Prosecco Biancavigna DOC Brut, £15.00, Armit Wines,

Biancavigna make beautifully elegant styles of Prosecco and they are most definitely a Group One runner. Their Brut is soft, floral, creamy, very stylish and delicious. Great as an aperitif with my favourite pairing of Grana Padano aged between 16 and 20 months, which is ideal for any cheese board or the cruncher, intense Grana Padano Riserva aged over 20 months. Grana Padano is available in Waitrose, M&S, Harvey Nichols, Sainsbury’s and Co-op.

The Prosecco story is still developing and its growth and popularity will no doubt continue to expand. The important thing is to try and to understand the nuances between different producers, different regions and different contexts.

You can enjoy checking out Oz Clarke’s new World of Wine (£30 Pavilion Books) and dive into the world of wines, grapes and vineyards. But when it comes to finding the Prosecco for you, you’re best off indulging in a bit of tasting. So pop that cork and get the fizz flowing, and come and join me on one of my masterclasses in 2018.

For more details regarding the Prosecco D.O.C Consortium check out @DOCProsecco

Unlocking Prosecco DOC’s Potential

The Wine Tipster spent the week at the 37th London Wine Trade Fair, presenting an ‘Unlocking Prosecco’s Potential’ session, exploring the versatility of food and Prosecco pairings. He was joined by Italian Embassy chef, Danilo Cortellini, and together they entertained and educated a combination of bloggers, presenters, event organisers, wine educators, merchants and journalists.

The audience were treated to some fabulous canapes courtesy of Danilo, including Sicilian red prawn marinated with sweet red chilli and fresh burrata mousse, Beef Tartare with marinated egg yolk, and a goat cheese bonbon with beetroot powder and hazelnut. Accompanying the array of food, The Wine Tipster explained the background of Prosecco in terms of the Prosecco DOC regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia and the effect of minerality on the different styles of Prosecco. He also updated the audience on current and future vineyard plantings, as well as the huge success story of Prosecco in the UK at the moment, with 112.7 million bottles being sold last year alone.

Six carefully chosen wines were featured at this original session, including Zonin Cuvée 1821 Brut, La Jara Extra Dry, Fantinel Brut, Facchin Extra Dry, Raphael Dal Bol Extra Dry and Torresella Extra Dry. This diverse range of wines allowed The Wine Tipster to educate the audience on the importance of different Prosecco styles, as well as the method of production.

A key message that was appreciated and understood by the audience was the range of good Prosecco producers from both Veneto and Friuli, with the range of high quality wines that are available for over £10. All of the wines tasted were well received, leaving The Wine Tipster to highlight the versatility of Prosecco as a great pairing with the delicious dishes prepared by Danilo.

Danilo also talked about how Prosecco is a lovely pairing with Grana Padano, and how he uses this truly tasty cheese in his dishes. The Wine Tipster highly recommends Danilo’s debut book, 4 Grosvenor Square, published by Meze Publishing.

The Wine Tipster will be presenting more Prosecco DOC sessions paired with Grana Padano at Taste of London with Danilo, Foodies Festival, and the Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival.

A Fabulous QIPCO Guineas Festival 2017

This weekend saw the 2017 QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket: the first two features of the five Classics for the three year old racehorses. The Wine Tipster attended both the 2000 Guineas on Saturday for the colts, and the 1000 Guineas on Sunday for the fillies, and enjoyed, like the other spectators, the excitement around this festival and the chance to discover the talent of the three year olds. After a fabulous weekend of racing, we are sure to have true champions for the 2017 season.

Saturday 6th May: The first day of the festival highlighted that Churchill, trained by Aidan O’Brien, has carried on from his two year old days and justified favouritism by winning the 2000 Guineas in impressive style. There were also strong form lines from this race with Barney Roy, Al Wukair and Eminent chasing him home. This leaves Churchill 7-4 favourite for the Derby, and we’ll have to hope he takes his place at Epsom.

Sunday 7th May: This race saw the favourite, Rhododendron, have a troubled passage, and failing to collar her impressive stable mate, Winter, who travelled superbly throughout the race, showing the potential to be a real champion. Despite her difficult run, Rhododendron showed a fantastic turn of foot and will definitely be winning races in 2017. The Wine Tipster fancied her to win not only for her amazing performance at Newmarket last year, but because, as Alan Titchmarsh says, May is the best month for Rhododendrons. The 1000 Guineas race day also saw good performances from Frontiersman and race debutant, Way of Wisdom.

The Wine Tipster spent the weekend presenting in the Chez Roux Restaurant with fantastic dishes prepared by the legendary Albert Roux. Popular wines throughout the Guineas Festival included Bolney Estate Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Gris, and Prophet’s Rock Dry Riesling.

The Wine Tipster also presented on the course TV, promoting the ‘racecourse experience’ featuring the Purely Prosecco Bar with high quality and stylish Proseccos from the famous producer Bisol. As well as enjoying some bubbles, there were some very tasty Powter Sausages from Newmarket, who were established in 1881 and have been associated with the racecourse for 50 years; A delicious way to celebrate the Guineas.


The other three Classics coming up are Oaks and the Derby at Epsom in June, and the final Classic, The St Leger at Doncaster in September. The Wine Tipster is looking forward to seeing how the runners from the Guineas perform in the coming months.

Whose Wine is it Anyway Success

On, Friday 10th March, Chadlington Village Memorial Hall welcomed back The Wine Tipster for an evening of tips, tasting and tipsiness, all in the name of charity.

After the success of his last Whose Wine is it Anyway event in Chadlington 4 years ago, The Wine Tipster returned to raise funds for the Village Hall Project and entertain in an evening of information and merriment. There was breath-taking yet comic Opera performed by Claire Bradshaw (mezzo-soprano) and Richard Coxon (tenor), advice on how to bet on horses at Cheltenham and to taste and choose the best wines, as well as a much better than average raffle, with prizes including hampers from Chadlington Quality Foods and a Moët Magnum.










As the host of the evening, The Wine Tipster led his audience through a taste exploration of 8 different wines, including Proseccos, rosés, whites and reds, much to everyone’s enjoyment. The insider knowledge shared on which wines to look out for and cheapest places to buy them was invaluable, and well received.

Throughout the evening, the audience were treated to delicious mini pizzas from Café de la Post, and chocolate tarts from Chadlington Quality Foods that went down well with the wines and San Pellegrino on offer. With the pouring of the Beronia Rioja Crianza from magnum came the donning of berets and fake moustaches by The Wine Tipster and his team, much to everyone’s amusement!

A 70th birthday was also celebrated on the evening, with a serenade from Claire and Richard and a delicious cake made by Susan Myatt which was shared around – what better way to celebrate a birthday than with The Wine Tipster in a beret and fake moustache.

As the evening progressed, so did the amount of alcohol consumed, which possibly contributed to the impressive total funds raised for the Village Hall Project: around £850. This wouldn’t have been possible without the sponsors of the evening, who kindly supplied the Hall with wine. Thanks go to Zonin for Prosecco Cuvée 1821 Brut and Prosecco Zonin Grey Edition Glera & Pinot Grigio Brut, Kleine Zalze from South Africa for Zalze Chenin Blanc , Esk Valley with their Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Rosé, Beronia (for the wine, berets and Rioja Crianza magnums), Château Léoube Rouge de Léoube from the Côtes de Provence  and Tim Adams for Clare Valley, Australia with The Fergus as well as San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna for keeping everyone hydrated throughout the night. Ticket sales and food from Chadlington Quality Foods and Café de la Post also made the night possible.









Once again, The Wine Tipster did not disappoint, and everyone who attended said what a wonderfully fun event it was, as well as a success in regards to the fundraising for such a worthy cause. Since the 10th, the Paulings who attended the evening had a success to celebrate at Cheltenham with Willoughby Court (14-1), who was trained by their son Ben Pauling winning on the Wednesday. There were other success stories thanks to The Wine Tipster’s advice and knowledge including Buveur D’Air, who would win the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday. Successes all round!


Jockey Club Catering Showcase Day 2017

Jockey Club Catering ShowcaseJockey Club Catering spent the day illustrating the diversity and quality of its offering at the fifteen Jockey Club racecourses around England at their Showcase Day held at Epsom Racecourse last week. The day aims to promote and educate, highlighting new innovations in all aspects of the racecourses to members of the Jockey Club Racecourses and sponsors and guests.

Moet et Chandon FountainThe Jockey Club Catering teams from each of the racecourses presented their wares showcasing wonderful concepts including the Sensory Garden, the local larder including cheeses from producers all near to a local racecourse and the new exciting retail concepts. This included a new Prosecco Bar in conjunction with Bisol and Bibendum with the following Proseccos on taste: Belstar Prosecco DOC Brut, Jeio Prosecco Superiore di Valdobbiadene DOCG Brut and Cru Vigneti del Fol Prosecco Superiore di Valdobbiadene DOCG Extra Dry. In addition, there was a stunning fountain filled by Magnums of Moët et Chandon at the evening event.

As MC for the day, The Wine Tipster presented the Jockey Club Catering Wine List, which highlights the best of British in addition to a stunning selection of New and Old World Wines.

There was an intense and exciting Ready, Steady Cook Competition between the four Jockey Club teams of London, East, West and North. In the half an hour allotted the teams produced a broad array of beautifully produced dishes, with no previous knowledge of the ingredients available. The London team just came out on top in a very tight and entertaining competition.

One of the highlights of the day was the College Chefs Competition where 3 teams of 6 young chefs from South Thames Catering College were challenged to create a grazing menu consisting of 2 starters (1 veggie), 2 mains (1 veggie), 1 dessert, to serve a total of 50 guests. The winners were invited up on stage to receive a voucher each as well as a copy of Michel Roux Jr’s latest book, The French Kitchen. These young stars will also have the opportunity to work at Epsom in the near future.AcademiciansAlbert and Michel Roux Jr have a long standing association with Jockey Club Catering and The Wine Tipster was given the opportunity to chat with them after the competition. He posed many questions delving into their interest in racing as well as top advice for aspiring chefs and trends in the food they are cooking both at the racecourse restaurants, their own restaurants and at home. The Wine Tipster was hoping for an invitation to Sunday lunch! Albert & Michel Roux Jr with The Wine TipsterIt was wonderful to part of such a collaborative and exciting day reinforcing the joys of a day out at the races. You can enjoy a flavour of the day in this fantastic video

Jockey Club Catering Offering

Foodies Festival, Oxford – September 2016

Foodies Festival, Oxford, Prosecco, Grana Padano

Over 100 people joined Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, at his masterclass, Prosecco DOC and Grana Padano PDO Cheese. “Italian moments – the flavour of joy” in Oxford.

Prosecco continues to develop its growth, and popularity will continue to expand, remaining on-trend with Prosecco DOC producers making excellent sparkling wines. Prosecco DOC are excellent food pairing wines, particularly with Grana Padano, a wonderfully versatile cheese.
The crowd were able to taste two vintages of Grana Padano, Grana Padano aged for over 16 months and Grana Padano “Riserva” aged for at least 20 months – there is a third vintage of Grana Padano aged between 9 and 16 months. They were then paired with a selection of Prosecco.

Not only is Grana Padano a key part of your cheese board, it can also be incorporated into a variety of dishes such as Squid salad with Grana Padano shavings and lemon powder, Risotto with peas, Grana Padano and basil and “ Maltagliati” with chanterelle mushroom sauce and Grana Padano.

For more information on Prosecco DOC (Origin Controlled Designation) go to and Grana Padano PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) The Grana Padano aged over 16 months can be found in major retailers with the Grana Padano Riserva aged over 20 months available in Waitrose, Sainbury’s, Marks & Spencer and specialist shops.

To buy the featured wines they are available as follows: Prosecco Ruggeri Argeo DOC Treviso Brut, visit, Mionetto Treviso DOC Treviso Brut is available on Amazon, Bosco del Merlo DOC Extra Dry 2015 from and Mionetto DOC Treviso Extra Dry from Tesco.

It has been a great summer for Foodies Festival around the country with excellent sessions in Bristol, Tatton Park, Birmingham and Brighton. The Wine Tipster will be presenting his masterclass, Prosecco DOC and Grana Padano PDO Cheese. “Italian moments – the flavour of joy” at the Foodies Festival in London at Truman Brewery on 18th and 20th November.

Ascot Festival of Food & Wine Racing Weekend

Ascot, Festival, Food, WineThis year’s Festival of Food & Wine Racing Weekend at Ascot Racecourse was a roaring success. In addition to a fantastic day of racing, racegoers were able to visit a brilliant selection of over 40 food and wine stalls.

Culinary genius Raymond Blanc and Wine Expert Oz Clarke were joined by Racing Tipster, Neil Phillips in the Furlong Club Gastronomes Theatre who together brought you not only great demonstrations but plenty of entertainment too! Guests began the day’s busy schedule with a glass of Chapel Down English Sparkling Wine followed by a perfect coffee preparation and coffee cocktail demonstration with Lavazza. They then enjoyed an Old World versus New World tasting with cheese and charcuterie provided by Wondering Wine Kitchen and wine pairing suggestions to accompany seared Halibut with Shellfish Risotto created by Sodexo Head Chef Ben Dutson. The Wine Tipster presented a fantastic Pie and Wine Tasting with two Sweeny & Todd Pies paired with Delicato Family Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel and Soave Classico Monte Carbonare, Italy courtesy of Bibendum Wines. Fiona Smith presented beer and food pairings with Stella Artois.

In addition to his MC duties and wine presenting, The Wine Tipster also marked the racecard for the day which resulted in four winners including Dutch Law at 12/1 and Frontispiece at 7/1.

Ascot Festival of Food and WineWe look forward to seeing you again in 2017.

With thanks to Grown Up Marshmallows, Wiltshire Chilli Farm, B.O.B’s Lobster, Cake Hole, Sweeney & Todd Pies and Dark Horse Wines.

Photos Courtesy of Jonathan Short.

Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or® 2016 Competition

Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, Toque d'Or, NestleThe regional heats of the 2016 competition took place earlier this month whittling down the 36 teams who have progressed from the paper entry, to the 6 teams graduating to the Grand Finals in March. The heats started in Glasgow at the City of Glasgow College, then on to the University College Birmingham & finally at Westminster Kingsway College, Vincent Square, London in the following week.

Each team comprises of two chefs and one person responsible for the service who had to produce a starter, main and dessert for a table of eight at a lunch. The time pressure was on following a demo of the starter by Andrej Prokes from Nestlé Professional, the main course with Executive Chef David Atkinson from Pennyhill Park and a beautiful dessert with Graham Hornigold Executive Pastry Chef for the Hakkasan Group. From a service perspective each table was marked on presentation and the delivery of each of the dishes during the service.

The colleges who have successfully reached the final are Gloucestershire College, York College, Sheffield College, University College Birmingham, City of Glasgow College and University of Derby. They will compete in the finals over 4 days in March with the prestigious awards dinner taking place in April.

The Toque d’Or competition has the enviable reputation for motivating and inspiring catering students up and down the country offering real life experiences and exposure to key industry figures, as well as exciting challenges to get the very best out of the contestants.

The Wine Tipster is joining the judging team for the first time but has been involved throughout the heats, presenting Food & Wine Pairing Sessions. He has been following The WSET Guide to Food & Wine Pairing and their Systematic Approach to Wine Tasting and is delighted to welcome the Wine & Spirit Education Trust who are partnering with Toque D’Or for the first time this year.

Toque d'Or, Nestle, Food, Wine, The Wine TipsterGood luck to all the finalists!

The Rise of Bubbles – Prosecco.

Prosecco BdM New[1]The popularity of Champagne and Sparkling wines will continue to grow in 2016, as will the thirst for knowledge and useful tips amongst devoted bubbles fans.

Certainly from a presenting perspective at food festivals, race courses, wine societies and corporate events there is a much greater desire to know more about serving temperatures, vintages, magnums and different styles, providing this is communicated in a down to earth manner (not always the case as we know!). For example, The Wine Tipster’s Prosecco Consortium and Grana Padano sessions at the wonderful Taste of London show in Regent’s Park last year provided a great opportunity to educate and talk about the very bright future for Prosecco, not only in terms of the range of quality Proseccos in both spumante and frizzante styles, but also the differences between brut, dry and extra dry. A key pointer and interest for 2016 will be the growth of Prosecco sales over £10 retail, as the Prosecco story enters a new chapter in the UK. Here is a selection of The Wine Tipster’s winning bets:

Prosecco DOC Bosco del Merlo Millesimato 2014, Paladin, Veneto, Italy, £15.99. Stockist: www.thewinery,com  A real star at Taste of London was Bosco del Merlo, produced by Paladin, who are making a fine range of Proseccos. This Bosco del Merlo has attractive citrus fruit, subtle creamy character and crisp acidity. A perfect match with Grana Padano Riserva. Stylish!

Italia Collezione Prosecco Brut NV, Veneto, Italy, DOC, £11.99. Stockist: Waitrose  Prosecco is not only great for parties, it  is also perfect as a pre-dinner aperitif and this Italia Collezione certainly worked in our house over Christmas. Good value, well made, with aromas of white flowers, lovely refreshing green apple character and creamy texture. Cheers!

Daylesford Organic Prosecco NV, Veneto, Italy, DOC, £12.50: Stockist: Daylesford Daylesford is a cycle ride away for us so I’m a regular visitor not only for this delicious, well-balanced off-dry Prosecco but for their wonderful meats balls too!

Prosecco Salatin Extra Dry NV, DOC Treviso, Italy, £11.99 Stockist: Majestic Based in Cordignano north-east of Conegliano, Azienda Vinicola Salatin are producing a range of seriously good Proseccos. Off-dry, zesty, with citrus fruit and creamy character, Salatin was a great pairing with sushi over the festive period. A winner!

Valdo Oro Pura Prosecco Superiore NV Valdobbiadene, Veneto, Italy, £13.49. Stockist: Waitrose Really attractive, well made, rounded, soft citrus and creamy Prosecco with a subtle hint of sweetness and crisp acidity.  Well worth spending over a tenner for this excellent aperitif style or to pair with Grana Padano Riserva. A Grade One performer!

Prosecco DOC La Gioiosa Etamarosa NV Treviso, Veneto, Italy, £11.99. Stockist: Majestic Made by the well-known and high quality producer Gioiosa, this beautifully packaged Prosecco is lovely and elegant, making it a perfect match with seafood. Pure class!















The Wine Tipster’s Festive Crackers.

With Christmas round the corner, it’s time to buy your bubbly, wines, sherries, spirits and ports. Here’s my time-saving list of recommendations that will work perfectly with every Christmas occasion.

Bubbly and sparkling wines play an important role in any festivities. If you want to create a stylish way to share and enjoy bubbly at your party, then opt for a magnum. They also make great presents! For a really special occasion, buy a vintage champagne. The 10 out of 10 vintage is 2002 and I’d definitely recommend Pommery Cuvée Louise 2002, from Ocado (£109.99). Look out for their Pommery Grand Cru Vintage 2004 too, which is stunning, Ocado (£51.99),  Another lovely vintage to enjoy now is the 2006 Jacquart Blanc de Blancs which is excellent and available at Tesco (£40) . For a signature celebration champagne, go for Laurent-Perrier Brut NV, available on offer at Waitrose (£24.99) and also at Sainsbury’s. Serve with a dash of sloe gin.

Alternatively, a magnum of Prosecco, will also add a fun, celebratory feel to any yuletide party. Try the fresh, creamy style of premium Prosecco Magnum NV Masottina  from M&S (£19.99). This is also one to carry through and continue to serve with a smoked salmon starter on Christmas Day. Alternatively open a bottle of dry sherry such as Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino (£9.99) available in all major retailers. Serve this delicious, refreshing sherry chilled. Once opened, you’ll need to drink this within a couple of days. Otherwise, a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, such as a good Sancerre, will also work well here like Sancerre Blanc 2013 Domaine Vacheron, at Majestic (£17.99).

Around 68% of us will be eating turkey on Christmas Day, according to a 2014 Gallup survey in Prospect magazine. So what’s the best wine to serve with it? Many opt for a Bordeaux to complement all the rich flavours of the accompanying dishes. If you’re looking for good value, choose a Bordeaux with a Cru Bourgeois label – a mark of quality. Bordeaux wines from 2009 are considered the ‘once in a lifetime’ vintage for Bordeauxs, but the 2010 Bordeaux are also considered exceptional. Bordeaux wines do need to breathe properly, so decant 2-3 hours before serving. Within this style of wine, some of the best value Cru Bourgeois wines are available at Berry Brothers & Rudd, Fine & Rare, Lea & Sandeman and The Wine Society.

Alternatively, a Rioja works well with turkey and game, including venison. Try Campo de Viejo Gran Reserva 2007 at Sainsbury’s (£15.99) or a Louis Jadot CÔte du Beaune-Villages 2012 (£16.99 – buy 2 save 15%) at Majestic, the Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir 2012 at Ocado (£19.49 to £16.49).

On Boxing Day, serve cold turkey with a fabulous Beaujolais such as the ripe and fruity, Château des Labourons Fleurie 2011, produced by Henry Fessy, and available through (£16.99). Or, equally good, the Brouilly Henry Fessy 2012 at Waitrose (£11.99) would also be very good here.

Now the cheeseboard. Pair a classic stilton or Alex James’ Blue Monday with Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009 at Waitrose (£15.99 to £12.99) or Sandeman 20-year-old Tawny Port, also from Waitrose, (£32.49). Other wines that will complement cheese include a red such as such a Bordeaux with a good cheddar, while Roquefort is a good match for Sauternes.


Tawny port is also a good accompaniment to mince pies, Christmas pud and as an aperitif, served chilled. Other rich, fruity wines that complement intense fruit flavours include; the Gonzalez Byass Matusalem Oloroso Dulce Muy Viejo VORS – a rich, dark Oloroso sherry, available at Waitrose (£19.99 half bottle), or try Blandys 15-year old Malmsey Madeira from The Oxford Wine Company (£26.99). Alternatively, opt for the rich, luscious flavours of the perfect Christmas tipple, Californian Elysium Rutherglen Black Muscat 2012, (£11.99) available at The Oxford Wine Company.

Good all-round easy drinkers I’m very happy to offer anytime over the festive break include South Africa’s Zalze Sangiovese 2013 (£6.99), available at Co-Op. Peter Yealands’ Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from Co-op (£9.99) and Sainsbury’s (on offer £7.50) and  Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference, Macon Villages 2013 (£8.99). For a Rose, try Les Dauphins Rosé 2013 at Asda, (£6.99).

Have a wonderful Christmas and make sure you watch the William Hill King George VI on Boxing Day at Kempton. Also, don’t miss the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on Saturday 27th December.