Get into the spirit with the A-Z of festive drinks

A is for anticipation, B is for bottoms up — and T is for tanked. Tim James guides you through the best of the season.

A is for Alto Rouge 2008. One of the great old names of Cape wine, degraded by its big-business owners, but a serious-minded cabernet-shiraz blend that offers classic styling, good value and a scent of history when available, as it usually is, at a discount price of about R50 at the supermarket.

B is for bubbles, billions of them lurking in wait for a party, released with the discreet sigh of an elegantly opened bottle (holding the cork and gently twisting the bottle is easiest), or with a happily vulgar loud pop and the cork shooting across the room into someone’s food, but hopefully not into someone’s eye.

There are plenty of decent bottles of local sparkling wine around, not to mention genuine Champagne, not all of which is splendid. It must be the world’s most opportunistically overpriced wine category.

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