A wide-ranging selection of last minute good-value wine buys by Richard Esling

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​If you are one of those annoyingly organised people, the presents will have been bought in October, Christmas cards sent on 1st December, pudding and cake made in September and the Waitrose order placed for delivery on 22nd December!

If, however you are like me, I’m still writing the cards, scouring Amazon for some sort of ideas for presents, untangling the Christmas lights for a tree I haven’t yet bought and trying to make a shopping list so that we may have at least something to eat come Christmas Day!

So for those like-minded, frenetic but happy souls here are some suggestions of last minute wine purchases which won’t break the bank but represent great value.

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Journeys End Identity Chardonnay 2023 with a very wacky label, comes from one of the top South African wine producers. Fresh, elegant, vibrant, expressive chardonnay, with subtle tropical fruit hints and great finish from a producer wholly committed to sustainability and protecting the environment.

Last minute buys for Christmas 2023Last minute buys for Christmas 2023
Last minute buys for Christmas 2023

They also have fun with a giant catapult, firing all sorts of ammo and raising funds for local communities. Fabulous value at £7.50 from Morrisons.

Ruppertsberger Hoheburg Riesling Kabinett 2022 comes from the Pfalz region of Germany.

White peach and nectarine on the palate with a touch of lemon zest. Full, rich flavour from pure Riesling with a touch of sweetness. Fabulous with cold cuts of turkey and ham with cranberry sauce or mango chutney. £8.05 from The Wine Society.

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Robert Oatley is a very well-respected producer of characterful Australian wines, with several ranges being produced. The Semaphore Series was created to produce wines which reflect their surroundings.

Slightly lighter than some of the other ranges, they are crafted to produce full flavour, character and integrity. Robert Oatley Semaphore Series Shiraz 2021 is from McLaren Vale, with soft, ripe tannins, cherry and dark plum fruit flavours, spice and satisfying finish. £9 from The Coop.

Robert Oatley Semaphore Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is from Western Australia and a little ‘chunkier’ (note the refined wine tasting language!). Fine tannins with notes of blackberry and dark fruits, firm structure with full body and an elegant, harmonious finish.

Also £9 from The Coop. Two very good value reds from the expert winemaker Larry Cherubino.

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For an unusual and fabulously fruity fortified wine which is perfect with a slice of traditional panettone (the one with just dried fruit and candied orange peel), try The Honeypot! To give it the full name, which in itself is quite a mouthful – Du Toitskloof Hanepoot Jerepigo 2021 – is a fortified Muscat from South Africa’s Western Cape. Made from botrytised Muscat d’Alexandrie, it is fabulously aromatic, with a combination of caramel and fresh grapes, deliciously sweet on the palate with fresh grapey fruit flavours. Surely the favourite Christmas tipple for Winnie the Pooh! £12.95 per 50cl bottle from The Wine Society.

Wishing all readers of my column a very Happy Festive Season, hoping that my recommendations over the past year have led you to some new discoveries and some enjoyable bottles to drink, always in moderation, naturally.

Richard Esling is a wine consultant, agent, writer and educator. He runs agency and consultancy WineWyse, is founder and principal of Sussex Wine Academy and is chairman of Arundel Wine Society

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