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RAISE A GLASS.

Byline: WITH JANE CLARE

NOT long to go! I've pulled together a selection of port, a couple of sweet wines and last-minute buys for you to enjoy over the festive break. Enjoy.

SOME PEEPS OF PORT | Maynard's Pink Port (PS7.99, Aldi, 50cl): Aldi's port range has won gold in the new International Wine Challenge with Maynard's 1992 Late Bottled Vintage Port (PS19.99) but the pink port is a little different. It has sweet aromas of raspberries and cherries and is pleasant enough; but alongside a strong cheddar it reaches the high notes like a Christmas Eve carol singer. | Special Reserve Port Decanter (PS8, down from PS16, 50cl, Marks & Spencer): I sipped this in an M&S tasting and it is great! Now half-price it's a tasty, plummy, rich bargain made by the team behind Taylor's port. I enjoy this on its own.

| Tesco finest* 10 Year Old Tawny Port, left (PS12, 75cl): This award-winner, made by Symington Family Estates, delivers notes of cinnamon and vanilla, with nuts and a dash of citrus. Try it with a chocolate dessert or creme caramel. | Kopke Colheita Port 2003 (PS16.99 or PS14.99 in a buy six deal at Majestic, 37.5cl): Kopke is the oldest port house, founded in 1638. This one is the colour of caramel, with aromas of dried fruit and sweet spice. It tastes a little of quince jelly, with a flash of spice and a lift of vanilla. | Sandeman 20 Year-Old Tawny Port (PS28.49 at Waitrose until today, then back to PS37.99, 75cl): With honey and hazelnuts on the nose, a swish of vanilla in the mouth and a long, soft finish, I'd say try this port with a platter of hard cheeses and walnuts.

A COUPLE OF SWEETIES | Martini Asti Spumante (PS7, until January 1, Tesco, 7.5% abv): When an Asti sparkler is made, the fermentation is stopped early so the wine is low alcohol and there's lots of sugar remaining in the grapes. Try with a cheesecake or blue cheese and you'll enjoy the wine's notes of pear and peach.

| Vidal Pillitteri Ice Wine 2016, right (PS14.99, Lidl, 11% abv): Ice wines are created in the most extraordinary way. The grapes (in this case from Canada) freeze on the vines, then the frozen water is crushed out, leaving behind the intensity of the fruit from which the wine is made. I love the seductive lusciousness of fresh stone fruit, lychee and pears.

LAST-MINUTE BUYS: | Classy white - Clos Floridene Graves Blanc (PS18.99, The Co-op, 13% abv): This Bordeaux is a complex blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon and is bright with citrus notes and a hint of tropical fruits. Enjoy with turkey or Boxing Day ham. | A special red - Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2015 (PS10.99, Lidl, 13.5% abv): This is a plummy, full-bodied Bordeaux red which scooped the 2017 International Wine Challenge's Great Value Red between PS8 and PS12. Savour it.

| A bargain fizz - Fillipo Sansovino Prosecco (PS6.50, Asda, 11.5% abv): This extra dry fizz is lovely with a strong taste, not insipid at all, with hints of apple. It has lots of bubbles and would make a great budget alternative to champagne.

Have an amazing Christmas!

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 19, 2017
Words:540
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