There are 354 Masters of Wine in the world. Of those, only 117 are women. Anne McHale is one. After ten years at the venerable Berry Bros & Rudd, she's set up as an independent wine consultant, educator and presenter. Suffice to say, any wine list she draws up will be a hit.
We caught up with Anne to ask her expert advice on which wines to buy this festive season...
So, what should we be looking for in a bottle of wine?
"When choosing a party wine it is safer to cater for the tastes of the majority,” advises Anne. Her “benchmark” price for a bottle of wine is “around the £10 mark. "That’s when I feel I’m really getting something worth drinking, which reflects its origin and has an interesting story behind it”.
If you’re serving food with wine, she encourages thinking outside the box: “The key rule is to match the richness of the wine with the richness of the dish – you don’t want one or other to dominate.” If you want to look like a wine pro, channel your inner sommelier - or just follow Anne's informed palate...
"Try Verdejo instead of Sauvignon Blanc, red Rhône instead of New World Malbec or Shiraz, Beaujolais instead of Pinot Noir. If you love drinking Châteauneuf-du-Pape but don’t always want to play the price, then experiment other reds like Gigondas or Vacqueyras – they’re from neighbouring towns and taste similar, but don’t have the famous name so are less expensive. Likewise if you love Sancerre, look out for neighbouring wines Menetou-Salon or Reuilly.”
For more wine tips, follow Anne on Twitter @annemchale and Instagram @annemchalewine or read our full interview with Anne here!