As you know, this isn’t a wine review site, but coming up to Christmas it seemed appropriate to say a few words about a bottle that our readers actually might want to stock up on in the run up to the festive season. One of the nice perks of owning a wine blog is that we tend to get given free bottles to taste and review. This can be a double-edged sword though as it means that a lot of people question the integrity of wine writers – we’ve discussed it before on this site. One reason why integrity is doubted because it is perceived that wine writers won’t write a negative review for fear of cutting off their supply of free wine, and without this delightful perk, wine writing isn’t exactly an occupation that’s known for its inflated salaries. I’ve chosen to start accepting the free stuff recently, but under one condition. The condition is that I don’t just take it home and pop the cork, any bottle I acquire gets taken to one of our 7 Word Wine Review dinners in London. That means everyone gets to taste it and offer their two cents (well, 7 words). So suppliers that have any doubts about the quality of their product better beware – a bunch of tipsy but enthusiastic tweeters are likely to be pretty honest so anything that deserves a slating will inevitably get one! This was certainly not the case for the delightful Billecart-Salmon Rosé Champagne. It proved to be one of the highlights of our evening and seemed to be universally loved by the group of tasters. The wine has small, elegant bubbles and a flavour of delicate peaches with strawberries and raspberries, with a whiff of fresh brioche. It had just the right amount of sweetness to confuse and delight at the same time – should you have it as an aperitif, or with dessert? Maybe both. And then later on, have some more. The rewarding thing about bringing it to a #7WWR dinner was that I got to see everyone enjoying it, and talking about it, and I know that sales of the champagne will soar just a little bit in London as a result. You know what, you can be cynical and say that wine writers lack integrity but who on earth would give a bad review of a bottle like this? The producers know it is amazing, and the people that distribute and sell it know how good it is – so they send it to people like us in order that we can review and publicise it. Oddly enough, they don’t really send us any bad wines – they really know their stuff and consequently don’t really sell any bad wines. It’s not like these bottles are given to us by Costcutter with a wink and a nod, quality is already assumed. Billecart-Salmon rosé is widely available from decent wine merchants. Myself and the #7WWR gang highly recommend you track some down for Christmas and the New year – it really never fails to please and I guarantee it will make you smile – a classic Champagne.