"It was great to try out some new foods. All in all a really pleasant experience. I'm already looking forward to my next class."

Sarah Fowler

Festive tipples with our wine expert

Our resident wine expert, Jo Page, is here to provide some festive cheer with her pick of the bottles to make Christmas Day and the party season extra special.

Christmas wine recommendations

She says: “When it comes to Christmas, I’ve learnt not to worry about ‘classic’ food pairings – there’s so much going on that both white and red can work. Here are some suggestions that will suit all palates, are special enough for a Christmas treat but won’t break the bank.”

Let’s start with the fizz – essential for any festive gathering.

Jo says: “Prosecco has been a favourite in the UK for many years but my choice this year is Crémant – a French sparkling wine made in the same way as champagne. Crémant de Bourgogne even often uses the same grapes as champagne. The Cave de Lugny NV (Waitrose, £13.99) is full of citrus flavours with a creamy richness and will get your Christmas off to a great start.”

For white wine, Jo recommends the Percheron Chenin Blanc-Viognier (Wine Society, £6.95) – a fresh and fruity South African wine with flavours of apricots and lemons. “It’s rich enough to stand up to turkey, will go well with a smoked salmon starter or is very easy to drink on its own,” she says.

With a Bordeaux her traditional choice to accompany Christmas dinner, Jo also recommends the Chateau Caronne Ste-Gemme (Majestic £14.99). She says: “It’s classic and decadent – with dark red and black fruits, cedar and tobacco from oak. Open and decant it one hour before serving to bring out the best of the flavours. It’s also great with cheese – if there’s any left!”

And if you’ve still got room for something sweet, the Andrew Quady Essensia Orange Muscat (Majestic, £11.99 37.5cl) pairs well with almost any dessert, while port complements traditional and chocolate puddings. Jo’s favourite is Taylor’s Late Bottled Vintage (Sainsbury’s £10).