Not unexpectedly, mid-winter festivities here seem very different from celebrations elsewhere in the world where it's full-on summer.

Roast turkey on an Australian beach? Or Christmas pudding with a Chilean barbecue? No. So that's why a focus on northern hemisphere wines is timely.

This column is about bottles that have particularly impressed me recently, from good suppliers, whether on the high street or a few screen clicks away.

First stop, Portugal. I'm involved with a wine club Christmas Call My Bluff, and our choice for an unusual, versatile, enjoyable white is La Rosa Douro (£13.50, White wines from the port river's hot vineyards often have remarkable freshness plus complex flavours - and there's a great story about this estate's English owners sailing their ancient dinghy between the Douro's steep banks. Tricky, but true.This Is Local London: Why not try a Portuguese white for you Christmas tableWhy not try a Portuguese white for you Christmas table (Image: Courtesy of the Producer)

A richer Portuguese white delight is elegantly oaked Esporao Reserva (£19,, organic and again a blend of native grapes.

Next destination is Italy, home of even more indigenous varieties. No need to take a plane, simply walk the wine aisles of your local M&S for pleasures in the Found and Expressions ranges: Manzoni Bianco from the Veneto, Falanghina, Roero Arneis and Pecorino. Among classics, Lo Scudo Soave (£8), M&S Collection Gavi di Gavi (£13) and Etna Rosso (£12) are fine value.This Is Local London: An unusual grape is showcased in this wine collaboration between Kew Gardens and LaithwaitesAn unusual grape is showcased in this wine collaboration between Kew Gardens and Laithwaites (Image: Courtesy of the Producer)

Further tempting Italian whites, first from Janna de Mare Alghero Torbato (mix-12 £15), whose fascinating salinity takes me back to a memorable holiday in its Sardinian homeland, and Kew Gardens Carricante (mix-12 £13), from a range championing endangered grapes. Though citrus-and-aniseed flavoured carricante is particularly suited to Etna's slopes, this wine and also Azienda Cortese Nostru (£12.50, independents including show how it flourishes elsewhere on Sicily.

For classic northern Italian styles, Tedeschi is an excellent producer - try San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2019 (£16.50, And two super smooth Chianti Classicos are Banfi 2020 (£18.50, and Filetta di Lamole 2019 (£24, Is Local London: Purgatori is a fine Catalan red for your Christmas tablePurgatori is a fine Catalan red for your Christmas table (Image: Courtesy of the Producer)

From Spain, cava continues to blossom, as in organic Hi! Brut (mix-12 £13.50,; on the high street Majestic has a good selection. For a gamut of Spanish styles, seek out seriously green producer Torres - from happy, easy Viña Sol (the new sauvignon blanc is £8.25, Tesco) to smart serious reds from garnacha and carinena grapes, Salmos Priorat and Purgatori from Catalonia (£24.25 and £19.75, Is Local London: Look beyond Champagne for festive fizz such as this Cremant de LoireLook beyond Champagne for festive fizz such as this Cremant de Loire (Image: Courtesy of the Producer)

No, l haven't forgotten France. Its many crémants are classy, value-for-money fizz, putting a true sparkle into celebrations. Good choices are Langlois-Château Classique Loire (mix-6 £13.33, Majestic), Cuvée Royale Limoux rosé (£15.50, Waitrose - look out also for the supermarket's splendid 'fine wine for £10' bargains). 

Red and white staples such as Bordeaux and Burgundy abound. The Wine Society has a wonderful choice, including Guillmot-Michèle Viré-Clessé (£24) and a tempting magnum of Château Lanessan 2012 (£41). Absolutely stunning long-aged Chablis is Domaine Defaix Les Vaillons 2010 (mix-12 £37,

This Is Local London: A versatile French Pinot Noir A versatile French Pinot Noir (Image: Courtesy of the Producer)The Rhône Valley, north and south, offers top quality at very reasonable cost - I love the pure syrah elegance of Domaine Rousset Crozes Hermitage (£17, Browse at for a particularly good Rhône choice, and for wines from the Loire Valley, France's most comprehensive single region with everything from fizz to the sweetest pudding wines. Consider, for example, off-dry Domaine du Vieux Vauvert Vouvray (£12, Waitrose) as an appetite-whetting aperitif. 

And for wines to go with just about everything savoury, think beaujolais, especially the 10 crus that show burgundian seriousness at much lower cost. Styles run from bright and fruity, as Domaine Pardon Les Mouilles Juliénas 2022 (mix-6 £13, Majestic), to deep velvety wines from the likes of Château du Moulin-à-Vent (from £20.65, They age so stylishly.This Is Local London: Bila-Haut is a fine French white from the Cotes de RoussillonBila-Haut is a fine French white from the Cotes de Roussillon (Image: Courtesy of the Producer)

Far southern France throws up smily surprises. Bila Haut blanc (£12,, reflects Roussillon's distinctive stony terroir; Domaine de la Métairie d'Alon Le Village (mix-6 £18, Majestic) proves great pinot noir grows in high Limoux; and deep red Cuvée des Bois de l'Etang (mix-12 £13, from coastal La Clape has enticing herbal-edged fruit.

Do support independent merchants as well as chains, and while many online deadlines are very close to Christmas it's wiser to order as soon as you can. Wherever you shop, whichever country's wines you choose, have a very happy festive season.