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Here’s our round up of fine Italian drinks to take you through the festive season’s celebrations – they’ll also make excellent Christmas gifts for your favourite people

Awell-chosen drinks menu is essential for an exceptional Christmas celebration, so we asked our experts to suggest fine wines and liqueurs to complement your festive dishes. All these bottles have the added merit of being superior enough quality to give as extra-special presents to your discerning (over-18) friends and family.

For the main course, this is the occasion for a really fine red like Amarone

When you’re planning your drinks for Christmas, start with aperitivo – think refreshing Campari, sparkling wines, and lighter red or white wines of 12 per cent ABV or less. Also consider Valpolicella and the crisp, dryness of Pinot Grigio. For the main course, this is the occasion for a really fine red, like Amarone or Barolo, with enough acidity to cut through the richness of beef, lamb, game, and even turkey – for while this is a white meat, consider all its rich trimmings, which need the structure of a well-balanced red to go with them. Dessert wines can include sweet sparklers such as Moscato d’Asti for fruit-based puddings, while a richer passito is perfect with dried fruit and a carefully curated cheeseboard – and make sure you don’t forget a tot of a fruity Tuscan Vin Santo to go with crisp cantucci.

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About Italia!

There’s a seasonal feel to the pages this month, kicking off with our Gift Guide, which is full to the brim with Italian treats and gifts for friends and family. We travel to Piedmont, where Turin takes Christmas lights to another level with sophisticated displays that will take your breath away; and on to Milan, where the city’s best cafés are wrapped up in Christmas cheer. To escape from it all, we discover the forgotten history of a quiet corner of Lazio that’s right off the beaten track, marvel at the extraordinary Krampus tradition, and attend a chestnut festival near Viterbo.