Victoria Moore: the best sweet and fortified wines for Christmas, from cream sherry to complex port

Victoria Moore (right) picks her favourite strong and sweet wines for Christmas
Victoria Moore (right) picks her favourite strong and sweet wines for Christmas Credit: Andrew Crowley

This year our Christmas wine list is bigger than ever. I have picked  60 bottles – whites and reds; sparkling wines and champagnes; ports, sherries and  sweet wines – to help you to stock up your Christmas drinks cupboard.

Here, I bring you my recommendations for strong and sweet wines. 

Waitrose Rich Sweet Cream Sherry NV, Spain (19.5%, Waitrose, £6.99)

Cream sherry has fallen out of fashion but here’s a glowing example of why it’s worth drinking. This tastes of roasted brazil nuts, sultanas and dried figs. Perfect for trifle, with trifle, with a bowl of nuts, with a mince pie. And look at the price! 

STAR BUY

Domaine de Lasserre Jurançon Doux 2014, France

 (12%, Co-op, £6.99, fewer than 1,000 stores, £6.99 for 375ml)

An uplifting and lightish nectar-like sweet wine from the cool of the foothills of the Pyrenees. It tastes of quince and white blossom with a refreshing cut of citrus. Not too sweet or rich – think eggshell finish in place of gloss. Very, very good value.

Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti 2016, Italy (5%, Booths, £7.50 for 375ml)

A deliciously light, airy, and effervescent sweet wine that tastes of ripe peaches, and sweet, fresh grapes. Just gorgeous. Low in alcohol and a wonderful pick-me-up too. Try it with Christmas pudding – it’s refreshing.

Taste the Difference Dry Fino Sherry NV, Spain (Sainsbury’s, £7 for 50cl)

Sainsbury’s has the best own-label range of sherry of all the supermarkets. Made by Lustau, this is a feisty fino, crackling with life, that smells of salt and freshly baked sourdough crust.

Taste the Difference 12 Year Old Pedro Ximenez Sweet Sherry NV, Spain (18%, Sainsbury’s, £8 for 50cl)

An intensely sweet, thick wine, like molasses stirred with liquidised raisins. Like Christmas in a glass. Pour it over vanilla ice cream for a quick pudding.

Looking for the perfect finish to your Christmas meal? Try one of these strong, sweet wines, picked by Victoria Moore

Tesco LBV Port 2011, Portugal (Tesco, £10.50)

The year 2011 was outstanding for port, one of the best in the last century, and the quality is evident at every level, making this Late Bottled Vintage, made for Tesco by the Symington family, an excellent buy.

Waitrose Sauternes Suduiraut 2010, France (14%, Waitrose, £12.99 down from £15.99, Nov 29 to Dec 26)

The crystallised pineapple, marmalade and saffron taste of Bordeaux’s famous sweet wine still has a place on many Christmas tables. Here’s one good supermarket example.

Quinta do Noval LBV Port 2011 Douro, Portugal (19.5%; Ocado, £20.75)

Quinta do Noval is home to the tiny patch of vineyards that make Nacional, the world’s most expensive port. This was a superb year, and there’s a wonderful depth and complexity in this brooding wine. Enjoy with your feet up by the fire.

Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha Vintage Port 2004, Portugal (20%, Morrisons, £19)

This estate has long been a favourite for earlyish-drinking vintage port. Drinking it feels like diving into a deep pool of liquorice, prunes and mulberries. But what I really love is the rocky sense of the Douro that also comes through.

Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines Straw Wine 2016, South Africa (10%, Berry Bros & Rudd, £27.95 for 37.5cl)

Insanely good. The wine bursts into your mouth with intense flavours of roasted apricots, honey, confit lime and waxy white flowers.