Brilliant presents for anyone interested in wine: Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2023, now edited by Margaret Rand, covers every significant wine producing territory, the best vintages and producers; and Fried Eggs and Rioja by Victoria Moore describes what to drink with absolutely everything – so captivating a read.

On Christmas Day white meat prevails. Many whites and reds work. Waitrose Blueprint White Burgundy 2020 (£10.99) is delicious and comes in a half for £5.99. Our pick of the reds last year generated praise from many for which we are so grateful. Unlike most bottles, it has stayed at £9.99 in Waitrose and it is the Organic Primitivo by Terre di Faiano. Sainsbury’s and others sell a delicious Rioja, Beronia Reserva 2017/8 at £15 if you want a stunner.

Christmas warrants something fizzy. Vintage Cava is widely available and much better than Prosecco. Sparkling French Limoux at Aldi is £9. If only Champagne will do, then Tesco Finest is splendid. If it must be a name, let it be Piper Heidsieck – on the shelf at £36 but regularly on promotion, particularly at Sainsbury’s, where recently it came down to £19 on a ‘buy 6 of anything’. Those who are flush will not go wrong with Charles Heidsieck at around £54.

Beaujolais comes in many guises, ranging from the simple up to the named crus. Brouilly is widely available and is elegant, not heavy or rich. Château Thivin at about £20 is the very best and can be found at Fortnums and Harvey Nichols.

Aldi and Lidl offer great value. Aldi has recently been selling a gorgeous Tasmanian Pinot Noir for £9.99 which would retail elsewhere for double. Lidl currently stocks 2019 Chianti at an absurd £5.99. Tesco own label Cotes Du Rhone is a fiver and it also stocks a serious version by Chapoutier (note the braille label) for £10. Waitrose has at £4.99 a range of own label wines with the Spanish red being outstanding.

Fortnums has an intelligent choice of wines (but not cheap), however their own label wines are spectacularly good and made by respected producers, eg Billecart-Salmon is a top notch Champagne house whose Rosé sells for about £70. They make the Fortnums Rosé which costs £24 less! Marks and Spencer now has a large selection of own label wines. Their Californian Chardonnay is good, as is the Shiraz. Most bottles in the range hover around the £10 mark.

Between now and Christmas most supermarkets will run promotions from time to time such as the ‘buy 6 and get 25% off’. This becomes a serious proposition if you are in the market for something pricey. Whatever you purchase, savings are substantial as we see a steep rise across the board. Vintage and prestige Champagne is roaring away, as is Burgundy.

Serious wine fiends should look to the Jancis Robinson website which reproduces her Christmas Financial Times magazine columns. The leading wine columnist on earth recommends the best red, white, sparkling and fortified wines. Her bracket might span anything from £6 up to £100 or more.

Each year we suggest a couple of wine merchants who really know their subject and who will happily help you find a special bottle. Sandor Hamar runs the Notting Hill branch of Lea and Sandeman. The shop is full of treasures and they will ship throughout the UK (tel: 020 7221 1982). His MIP Provence Rosé is without equal. Travis Riley, wine shop manager at the Beckford Bottle Shop in Bath, is passionate about great bottles which need not be expensive (tel: 01225 809302). The attached wine bar allows one to drink a bottle from the shop at shelf price every Tuesday.

Dining out is more expensive than a year ago. We take advantage of the Monday £5 corkage at Hawksmoor restaurants (London, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh). The Kennington Tandoori, favoured by politicians, operates a £10 corkage policy seven days a week. The finest wine list in the country is at Andrew Edmunds in Soho. The owner died recently but the business continues, selling bottles at sometimes half the cost charged by competitors. A 2010 Domaine De Trevaillon is on for £90 which, if one could even find it elsewhere, would be nearer £180.

We wish our readers a happy holiday.