The Whine Column with Jessica Mann. Dear Jessica: I have just finished my Christmas shopping. I know the country is in an economical crisis, and we should all be tightening our belts, but the Christmas spirit took over and I ended up spending an obscene amount of money. What wine should I give my husband when I show him the credit card bill?

Jessica Uncorked: With all the financial doom and gloom in the news these days, it is no wonder you went a bit crazy.

Besides it seems easier and more fun to spend money when you are spending it on someone else. You could go for an extremely cheap bottle of wine, but I don’t recommend it and your husband would be even less enthused. To excuse your “mad as a box of frogs” behaviour, why not try Frog’s Leap Zinfandel, 2005 from California? It’s absolutely luscious.

The colour is a really deep purple, so thick you have to hold it up to the light to see through it. Just looking at it, you know you are going to taste something special.

The first aromas that hit your nose are a delicate bit of cinnamon, and cloves – in fact, slightly Christmas-like at first.

However, the smell is not as strong as mulled wine, and far from that horrid potpourri that store spritz around like cheap perfume. After the initial spice it opens up to layers of cherry, wild berry and finishes off with chocolate notes.

The palate is equally as exciting. It is dry and complex with a good equilibrium between the bright cherry acidity and soft dusty tannins. It has a subtle hint of oak that gives it a smoky flavour, but finishes off with rich coffee and chocolate essences. This full body combination results in a long, dry finish.

The Frog’s Leap Zinfandel compliments all types of food from thick fillet of beef to seared swordfish. Equally it can be enjoyed on its own, which is probably how you will serve it to your husband before showing him your credit card statement. At 14.2% alcohol it is not a mincey wine. Show him the bill as he starts his second glass and maybe the alcohol will soften his senses.

You can purchase the Frog’s leap Zinfandel 2005 for £19.95 at The Oxford Wine Company (tel: 01865 30 1144, They offer free delivery within a 30-mile radius and five per cent off if you purchase a case.

It also costs £23.25 at Berry Bros & Rudd 0870 900 4300,