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RAISE A GLASS.

Byline: WITH JANE CLARE

LAST week I was fresh and fruity, this week I have more depth and complexity. If you're just catching up with me then... no... I'm not describing the ups and downs of feminine emotions, but white wines for Christmas.

You might be thinking "what is this depth and complexity" - "and why is it interesting for my Christmas feasting?".

Winemakers can call on a heap of different production methods to turn what could be a humble fruity white wine into something with a bit of interest. That can include aging or fermenting in oak, or stirring on the lees.

Chardonnay loves such treatment. Whatever winemakers choose to do, this grape always puts its hands on its pips and says "go on then, bring it on".

All my Christmas choices this week are chardonnay wines, more by coincidence than design, as I was on the look-out for wines which sit perfectly alongside food.

I'll start with Extra Special Barossa Chardonnay 2018 (Asda, PS5.98 until December 9) which is partially fermented in French oak.

This is a great value white as there's some complexity but not too much if you're nervous about wines that make a statement. My notes said "apple, lemon, with a hint of baking spice".

The Co-op has introduced several new wines this season and one is Vandenberg Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2018 (PS10) which is a refreshing, not-tooheavy chardonnay from South Australia's Adelaide Hills region. Aged in French oak, it boasts a creamy texture and you can taste the citrus and pear without your palate being overpowered.

Tesco finest* Gisborne Chardonnay (PS9) is nurtured in the Gisborne region on the North Island. Grapes are fermented in oak and the result is a wine which has lovely tropical fruit notes and a zesty finish that intrigues.

We'll leap over to France for Macon Villages, Burgundy Chardonnay (PS10, Marks and Spencer) which is a comforting hug of a white wine. A rich unoaked chardonnay, it is creamy and smooth with a sharp hit of apple and a whisper of peach and a delicious buttery aftertaste.

When I met Spar's wine consultant Philippa Carr MW the other week, she told me her favourite wine in the retailer's new range was Bourgogne Chardonnay (PS9, pictured left) and it is indeed rather tasty. It is unoaked and has a nice bite of apples and a good acidity.

We'll stay in France for the classy Louis Jadot PS20, Tesco, Morrisons, Nisa, Wholefoods, pictured below) which has seen half of the grapes partly fermented in vats and the other in oak barrels.

This gives layers of freshness and fruit, but has a creamy, nutty mouthfeel which cushions those same delicious fruits. It is elegant and special.

ALSO IN MY GLASS: If you're a vegan but you don't want to miss out on a drop of cream liqueur this Christmas, then Marks & Spencer has the answer. Vegan Chocolate and Coconut Cream (PS12) hits the spot. It's yummy. | Jane is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers. Find her on social media and online as One Foot in the Grapes.

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Publication:Dumfries and Galloway Standard (Dumfriesshire, Scotland)
Date:Dec 7, 2018
Words:517
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