Each year we leave our drinks shopping later and later so here are my Ten to Follow win bets for Christmas and the New Year. Champagne Fever is top of many tipsters lists for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham in March and this horse’s name sums up the Yuletide period for fizz sales so here is my combination Exacta with the Tote (first three in any order) for bubbles: Pommery Brut Royal NV £29.99, down from £38.99, Sainsbury’s is dry, delicious and creamy, whilst the award winning Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV has made its mark as a consistently high quality performer. At Majestic i’s £42.00 per bottle or if you buy two bottles save 1/3 at £27.98 per bottle. If you are looking for a well-bred, Group 1 quality champagne from a great vintage year then Dom Pérignon 2004 Gift Box, £120.00- £135.00 Majestic and Selfridges has class and elegance in abundance with a memorable finish. There have been some famous New Zealand racehorses including Playschool, ridden by Paul Nicholls, then jockey and now seven times champion jumps trainer, who won the Hennessy and Welsh Grand National in 1987. It was around that time that many people were discovering that a chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was the wine for them and the fan club has only carried on increasing over the years, so if you are a member or haven’t yet signed up, the try this delicious, zingy, fresh, peppery, spicy, Peter Yealands Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 £10.85, Co-op. Great with your smoked salmon – some NZ Sauvignon Blanc is just too full on for this kind of matching – but this is spot on. You may also want to snap up the ante-post 3/1 on the Nicholls’ trained Big Bucks for the World Hurdle at The Cheltenham Festival. From the list of runners with drink related names at The 2013 Cheltenham Festival I tried to include Vino Griego (successfully backed at 25-1 to win at their January meeting) in my group for this year’s Cheltenham Festival Racecourse Radio piece, however I was given a yellow card for this one as Vino Griego didn’t quite match up to Champagne Fever, John’s Spirit and The Liquidator! (hugely impressive on his last run). Despite my reprimand, I’m a big fan of Vino Griego and I’ll be backing him for his next run, which will hopefully be the Argento Chase. In vino terms, Oldenburg Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2012, Stellenbosch, South Africa at £16.99 from www.sawinesonline.co.uk is a classy, premium, subtlety-oaked and complex white which is ideal with fish dishes in a creamy sauce. Alternatively, if you are having the full roast turkey with all the trimmings then mark your card with Château Cissac 2009 Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois, Bordeaux, France at £17.95 from www.tanners-wines.co.uk. It’s one of the great well-bred Bordeaux vintages with winners at all grades and this intensely fruity, well structured red will most definitely bring some Christmas cheer. As a punter I’m always on the look out for a bit of value and with Yuletide it is no different with Torres Vina Sol 2012, Catalunya, Spain at £6.69 from Sainsbury’s, Tesco and it’s down to £5 in Asda plus Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Viña Concha y Toro, Valle Central, Chile at £7.99-£5.99 from Sainsbury’s. These are a couple of runners I would definitely back; perfect wines to enjoy whilst taking in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on 28 December. We invariably don’t spend enough time on the cheese course or the wines to match, but make it different this year. Hugel Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive 2007, Alsace, France at £33.00 from The Wine Society is a brilliant, top class, off dry wine with complex flavours of citrus, honey and pear, with a truly memorable finish. This is a great match with blue cheese and worth every penny of your pre-Christmas winnings. Alternatively, your tipple might be port, so check out Sandeman’s Late-Bottled Vintage Port 2008 at £15.99 from Waitrose, which is definitely well-handicapped. Cheers! @TheWineTipster You can hear more from The Wine Tipster at our Cheltenham Preview Evening on 6 March in Copa, Cheltenham – BOOK NOW.
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