What do you do after Christmas and New Year?
There are plenty of options for anyone wanting to mix things up a little at the beginning of a new year
Whatever you choose to do, or not do, this month, there's much to be said for having less-but-better wine; it's an opportunity to try something different-yet-superior, without the pressure of ensuring that the assembled masses of family remain happy and content with wines they find familiar and reassuring.
Here are two wines from Tesco that are superior classics - well-made in a familiar style and great food matches.
Chardonnay is arguably the world's greatest white grape; its spiritual home is Burgundy but Western Australia's Margaret River makes it in a cool-climate European style; vines were first planted in the region in the late 20th century, so it is very much the New New World.
Chardonnay grows in a wide-range of climates, from chilly Champagne to sunshine-in-a-glass outback; cool-climate Chardonnay with a bit of new oak shows florality and vanilla spice.
Aristocratic Barolo is Italy's answer to Pinot Noir; from the Piedmont region of North-West Italy, it is made from the Nebbiolo grape and produces a red-fruited, juicy and fresh wine with earthy, hedonistic aromas.
Tesco Finest Brooks Road Chardonnay (£15)
Made from premium Chardonnay grapes grown in Margaret River, one of Australia's most celebrated wine regions.
Dry with complex notes of stone fruits and vanilla oak with an elegant minerality and a classic, balanced lengthy finish.
floral, honeysuckle with white stone fruits and vanilla; melon, white peach and orchard fruits with zesty lime curd, savoury, creamy complexity and cool, minty menthol; saline, mineral and long. Very adept and well-made.
Improves with aeration and will repay some cellaring.
Match with fresh seafood, pasta or grilled fish.
Ascheri Barolo D.O.C.G (£23)
The Nebbiolo grapes, from La Morra, Verduno and Serralunga d'Alba, are harvested in the first half of October and fermented in stainless steel tanks for about 2 weeks. After 6 months in stainless steel tanks, the wine is aged in oak for 22 months, followed by an aging in the bottle of at least 12 months before releasing.
fragrant and floral with cherries, dried cranberries, red berry fruit and old leather, spice and woodsy sous bois; fresh and supple with ripe, dried red berry fruits, cedar, aromatic black tea tannins and menthol; long and harmonious with firm yet very fine tannins.
Drinks well on first pouring but benefits from aeration and will age.
Match with darker game, such as venison or duck, also lamb shoulder with rosemary.
The Ascheri is also reviewed by Paula Goddard who calls it a "top-notch Italian Barolo ... a nice example": Ascheri Barolo 2017 review - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips