Christmas time means that all the usual rules that apply the rest of the year go out of the window. We love to over-indulge, and this means spending a little more on food and Christmas wine to make the festivities all the more enjoyable.
Two types of wines are particularly vital at Christmas: mulled and sparkling. Mulled wine is fantastic on a cold wintery night in front of the fire, and sparkling wines kick start any Christmas celebration.
It's worth buying Christmas wine online and ordering more than you estimate you will actually need. Order good quality bottles of wine and they will always keep for later, order too little and you may not have enough for those impromptu Christmas visits from friends, or for those friends and relatives who tend to consume a little more than they should at Christmas time.
Make sure you order plenty of red wine for making mulled wine, as well as for drinking on its own. Infused with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and originally made to disguise the taste of wine that had gone bad, you can buy mulled wine ready-made, but it's so easy to make and so popular that it's far more satisfying to make batches of your own as and when you need it.
Serve it to friends and family with little Christmassy snacks like chestnuts and warm mince pies - delicious. Sparkling wine and Champagne are essential at Christmas time, and is a true Christmas wine, used in toasts all over Britain. If the pennies are tight this year, as they are for many people, and you don't want to spend an extortionate amount on multiple bottles of Champagne, look out for some of the great reasonably-priced bubbly wines on the market.
Many people actually prefer sparkling wine in Christmas gift baskets that isn't Champagne, such as Prosecco, a dry, light and refreshing wine from North East Italy. If you prefer something a little sweeter, Italy also offers Asti which you may find more enjoyable to drink.
Also held in high regard in Europe is Spain's most famous sparkling wine, Cava, which is mainly produced in the Catalonia region of the country and enjoyed for its prominent fizz and variation in flavour from dry through to sweet.
Sparkling Rose is often a good choice for parties, and can be relatively inexpensive so is great if you have a large amount of people to entertain one evening and you have a budget to stick to, and Australia produces a fair amount of sparkling red wine from the Shiraz grape, which makes an interesting alternative to the traditional Christmas wine.
About the Author: Dom Donaldson is a media expert. Find out more about Christmas wine and the delicious Champagne alternatives