Wine & Food

    Wines of the week: try Queen Victoria’s favourite tipple

    29 November 2019

    2017 Te Mata Estate Cabernets/Merlot, 12.5%vol, (£10.99; Lidl)

    Lidl’s wine offerings are flourishing under the expert and famously genial supervision of Richard Bampfield MW, as can be seen by this little corker from Hawke’s Bay, NZ. A scrumptious blend of Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Merlot from family-owned Te Mata Estate, it’s full of ripe red and dark fruit with a long, long finish. A fabulous alternative to fine claret at a cracking price (it’s around £18 elsewhere).

    The Grange Classic Dry English Sparkling Wine, 12%vol, (£31;

    One of the newer kids on the English sparkling wine block and what a belter it is too. Speccie readers will, I’m sure, be familiar with The Grange Festival and the Baring family, and I trust they’ll now get to know the Barings’ vino too. A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from 2015, it’s creamy, toasty and full of apple, honey and white fruit and absolutely spot on!

    Grant’s Morella Cherry Brandy Liqueur, 24%vol, (£32.25 per 50cl; Whisky Exchange)

    First produced in Faversham, Kent, in 1774, this was Queen Victoria’s favourite tipple and, famously, features in The Pickwick Papers. Produced by Shepherd Neame (UK’s oldest brewer, founded 1698) from English grain spirit and Kentish cherries, it makes the most glorious post-prandial treat – full of almonds, marzipan notes – and is ideal for Christmas. Try it on its own or as the Percy Special stirrup cup, half and half with whisky.