As usual the Co-op, or The co-operative, as it brands itself, has some very good Christmas offers. Below are four of the reds; prices valid until January 3 inclusive.
2006 Marqués de Valido Rioja Reserva, Spain
Attractive, mature, soft-textured Rioja with sweet, spicy fruit set against savoury, smoky, meaty, notes and nutty, slightly resiny oak. 13% abv.
£5.49 (down from £10.99)
2009 Château Brassac, Bordeaux Supérieur, France
Easygoing, modern-style, Merlot-dominated Bordeaux. Ripe, smooth black fruit with a soft, dry, cedary edge; clean and supple. 13% abv.
£6.99 (down from £11.99)
2005 Château Saint-Paul, Haut-Médoc, France
Nicely dense, harmonious cru bourgeois with textbook blackcurranty fruit, savoury, spicy, cigar-box flavours and modulated tannins. Balanced and well sustained. Perfect now, but it’ll be on form for another three or four years. 13% abv.
£9.99 (down from £14.99)
2010 La Grange St Martin Côtes du Rhône Réserve, Rhône, France
Rounded, juicy, peppery red with an undertow of spiced hot-chocolate. Made largely with fruit from their own vineyards by the Perrin family of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate Château Beaucastel. £13% abv.
£5.99 (down from £10.99)
And now for something completely different:
2011 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
Superb new vintage from Kevin Judd. Tinglingly fresh, juicy elderflower, herb and lemon flavours with a mouthwatering saline, mineral character and a fine chalky texture. Great length and presence. Just one criticism: a bottle weighing 727g when the average is abut 500g. This wine is far too good for a macho, heavy bottle.
£15.99 from independents (Swig, Taurus Wines, The Secret Cellar and many more)