Christmas is a time for special drinks - not just superior versions of what we might normally drink, but drinks that are inherently associated with Christmas; Champagne's fizz suits the celebratory mood perfectly, whilst a sip of mellow aged spirit allows us time to relax.
The fizz follows a tradition of great, and great value, Champagnes from the Co-op; it recently won a Gold Medal at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine Championships. The whisky has a silver from the IWSC and is also great value for a whisky of this age.
Les Pionniers, Champagne 2006 (£25.99) Golden sandy yellow, it is complex, precise and assured, with orchard fruits and hints of redcurrant, musky melonskin, yeasty-biscuitiness and a fine mousse; taut citrus acidity, some aged, nutty character and a persistent minerality.
Crisp enough for an aperitif, but will match well with seafood starters and roast guineafowl.
Co-op Irresistible 12 Year old Scottish Highland Whisky £23.49 (70cl) golden, mahogany toffee colour, with a complex nose of citrus, sandalwood and roasted spices; cooked mixed fruit, pastry shop, sweet vanilla and complex dark sherry flavours.
Warming, assertive and persistent.
Good value and Very Good.
Match with haggis, dark chocolate and espresso and a crackling log fire.
If you are looking for table wines to match your Christmas dinner itself, the Co-op recommends these:
Fish starter silver winner, New Zealand Irresistible Explorer’s Sauvignon Blanc (£7.49)
Festive main silver winner, Australian Henry's Drive Shiraz (£16.99)
Cheeseboard silver winner, Finca Las Moras Barrel Select Malbec (£7.99)