Which older vintages will be perfect to drink at Christmas 2022?

Christmas is the ideal time to enjoy wines from older vintages that are now in their prime. The Society’s buyers have picked out the best vintages from their respective regions that have matured to perfection.

What older vintages will be perfect to drink at Christmas 2021?

There’s something magical about opening a bottle of wine you’ve been maturing for several years. The anticipation of how it has aged – along with that flash of dread that you may have held on to it for too long – is all part of the experience. 

Here at The Society we’re huge fans of allowing wines to mature and show their potential to the full. When a wine matures and hits its peak, it adds layers of complexity, transforming into something very special. So, whether you’ll be raiding your cellar or your Members’ Reserve collection, or plan to order some well-aged bottles from us to enjoy at Christmas, here are the older vintages from around the world that drinking beautifully right now. 

Bordeaux red wines 

Buyer Tim Sykes has picked out a quartet of vintages that are showing their class right now: 

  • 2010 – ‘A top-quality vintage with ripe, concentrated fruit character’
  • 2007 – ‘A vintage written off by many wine writers, but one that produced some fragrant, very drinkable clarets’
  • 2001 – ‘Overshadowed by 2000, this is a vintage I actually think was better. Balanced wines that are à point now’
  • 1998 – ‘A fully mature savoury vintage that has held up remarkably well.’ 

To prove Tim’s point, here’s a wine from each of those vintages that would grace any Christmas table. We’ve also slipped in a Hungarian wine from 2016 – a merlot/cabernet franc blend that buyer Matthew Horsley says is ‘packed with savoury graphite and cedar notes that lovers of mature claret will adore’. 

Suggested wines

Burgundy red wines 

Lovers of red Burgundy have a good spread of vintages to call upon, starting at 2017 and stretching back to 2008. Burgundy buyer Toby Morrhall says the 2017s ‘have always been open and smiling at village and premier cru level’. 

Looking further back, Toby describes 2014 as ‘a lovely, cooler, lighter vintage’, and that most red Burgundies from 2011, as well as the ‘bright and fresh’ 2010 vintages are ready for drinking now. Bottles from 2009 are now ‘rich and plump’, while some bottles from the cooler 2008 will be ready now, too. 

Wine for a Christmas buffet

Rhône wines 

Heading south, we arrive at the Rhône Valley. Buyer Marcel Orford-Williams says that examples from 2020 are ‘lovely and very approachable’ but issues a note of caution regarding 2019 and 2018, with many bottles ‘beginning to close up’. At the moment, the sweet spot is to opt for bottles that have hit their tenth birthday. Marcel’s advice: 

  • 2017 – ‘Beginning to show well’ 
  • 2016 – ‘Also showing well but not generally so’ 
  • 2014 – ‘Lighter and super now!’
  • 2012 and 2011 – ‘Utterly gorgeous. I tasted Beaucastel 2012 last week: absolutely delightful!’ 


The white wines of Alsace are among the most celebrated, as well as among the most food-friendly. Riesling is the king of grapes in this part of France, and our Alsace buyer Jo Locke MW has selected a number of older vintages that are in their prime: 

  • 2017 – ‘Elegant vintage displaying power balanced by freshness; many top wines are already drinking beautifully’
  • 2016 – ‘Fresh acidity and natural purity characterise this vintage; top wines will keep but many are drinking beautifully now’
  • 2012 – ‘Ten years on, this vintage has come into its own. Riper and more generous than the great 2010, with less marked acidity, the top wines nevertheless offer freshness as well as concentration and will continue to cellar well.’ 

Loire wines

Jo also looks after our Loire range. Lovers of this picturesque region have plenty of choice of more mature vintages, and this Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to open bottles from different years and create your own vertical tasting to see how your wines are evolving. Jo’s pick of Loire vintages include: 

  • 2018 – ‘Generous, healthy vintage ready to drink; very good for Muscadet where the natural freshness balances the concentration’ 
  • 2017 – ‘Power balanced by freshness; many top wines may be cellared further but most are drinking beautifully’ 
  • 2015 – ‘Warm, healthy vintage producing concentrated but balanced reds and whites; most top wines are ready to drink’ 
  • 2014 – 'Some good reds made in a more classic style. They’ve needed time in bottle and are coming round now.’ 


Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some top-notch fizz, and if you have some vintage Champagne on hand, you’ll be delighted to know that there are several at their best. Sarah Knowles MW recommends opening bottles from 2012, 2007, 2002, 1996, 1995 and 1990. 

She says: ‘2012 was a great vintage that has charm now, but where the best wines will improve further still. Bottles from 2007 and 2002 are really expressive now, while 1996, 1995 and 1990 were all stellar vintages and are really showing their class.’ 

For something closer to home, Matthew Horsley recommends a 2014 bottling from celebrated English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber. Tillington is the estate’s finest single-vineyard wine and focuses on a particular parcel of pinot noir, ‘providing a rich blackcurrant- and apricot-packed sparkling wine that’s drinking perfectly now’. 

Italian wines 

Sarah Knowles MW has picked out a hat-trick of vintages from two of Italy’s most celebrated regions: Piedmont and Tuscany. For both regions, Sarah recommends opening the following vintages: 2016, 2013 and 2010; each one is drinking beautifully now and will be ideal for festive celebrations. She says: 

  • 2016 – ‘A more-or-less perfect vintage where the best wines will continue to improve but these are really tempting to enjoy now’
  • 2013 – ‘A classic vintage that is really starting to sing’
  • 2010 – ‘A vintage where there was plenty of structure now opening up and showing well.’ 


Pierre Mansour, The Society’s Director of Wine and Spain buyer, has selected five vintages of Rioja that will really shine as part of your festive celebrations. Rioja reservas from 2009, 2010 and 2012 ‘are looking great at the moment’ while gran reservas from two of the finest vintages in Rioja over the past 20 years – 2001 and 2005 – ‘are showing superbly’. 

Port for the Christmas table


Port has a long association with the festive period, perhaps to accompany the Christmas pudding or a mince pie or two, or to share a glass when carol singers come calling! Whether you prefer a Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), single Quinta or Vintage Port, Jo Locke MW has a rundown of the vintages to open this Christmas. 

  • 2017 – ‘Filtered LBVs are ready to go and display the freshness and purity of the vintage’ 
  • 2016 – ‘Filtered LBVs already showing more mature nuances’
  • 2015 – ‘Still a little early for single Quintas, but for those in half bottle, the generosity of the vintage makes it ready to go’
  • 2010 – ‘Single Quintas are already accessible, in bottles as well as halves’
  • 2009 – ‘A concentrated vintage when a few vintage wines were declared; single Quinta wines are ready to go, rich and generous’
  • 2008 – ‘Single Quinta wines are ready to drink’
  • 1980 – ‘Widely declared fine vintage whose status vies with 1985 for the best of the decade. Fully mature but will hold its plateau of maturity if well stored.’ 

It’s always fascinating to see the evolution of a wine from its early days to full maturity.  Whichever older vintages you decide to open this year, we hope you enjoy them. Merry Christmas! 

Stuart Peskett

The Society’s Content Manager

Stuart Peskett

Stuart has written about wine and spirits for 20 years, working for a host of magazines, websites and retailers. He runs The Society’s content team.

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