Now my Dad has never been a drinker. He likes the odd pint of lager but I don’t ever remember him drinking a whole glass of wine. A sip and a grimace definitely; a glass, absolutely not. This Xmas things have certainly taken a turn. Whether its for better or worse really depends on your perspective!
Dad has got interested in wine since I started writing the blog. This is great as I appreciate his support… But his interest is real! When we talk on the phone the first question he asks is about something he’s read in a post and he’s forever sending me photos of wines to ask if they’re any good. But he still doesn’t like the stuff. Or he didn’t… Until I took him a case at Xmas.
I took a few of my favourites from the past few months and he loved them. So much so that when the fifth bottle was finished (there were 4 of us and it was Xmas!) out came a bottle of Echo Falls Merlot from the cupboard. And his reaction? “I’m not drinking that sh*t; its thin and tastes of vinegar!” I am so proud of him!
Here are the wines we drank – Dad asked not to be quoted so my reactions will have to do!
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2008, West Sussex, UK (Waitrose £29.99, reduced to £23.99)
This was Dad’s favourite. Lovely aromas of peaches and apricots with a dry but very fruity palate. The fruity flavours are delivered in a stream of deliciously light bubbles, with a delicious yeasty and long finish. 88 points
DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2010, Stellenbosch, South Africa (Wine & the Vine £16.95)
Really interesting nose of melon, peaches, nuts, maybe even marzipan. Lovely zing in the mouth, lots of ripe melon fruit and a wonderful nutty, long finish. 91 points
Domaine Ferrand Pouilly Fuisse Prestige 2008, Macon, Burgundy (Wine & the Vine £22.99)
Aromas and flavours of peaches and honeysuckle. Good weight in the mouth and well integrated oak, although no new oak has been used. Lots of acidity and a lovely clean finish. Quite a modern and delicious Pouilly Fuisse. 89 points
Elboador +7 2007, Priorat, Spain (Wine & the Vine £29.95)
Yes it’s this one again! I couldn’t give Dad a selection of good stuff without including this gem! Aromas of dark cherries and brambly blackberries and black currant. Loads of spicy Xmas goodness and pepper. Super concentrated fruit, upfront tannins providing amazing structure and huge length. 95 points
Joseph Drouhin, Chorey les Beaune 2010, Burgundy (Waitrose £15.99, reduced to £11.99)
Lots of raspberry and cherry fruit and a lovely fresh palate. Secondary aromas and flavours of leather and forest floor. Maybe a bit young but delightful and a great value introduction to red Burgundy. 87 points
We didn’t get to the bottle of Sauternes so I’ll get back to you on that one!
I’m getting a bit overexcited now its less than three weeks till Christmas. I’ve watched Heston, Delia and Hugh cook their Xmas dinner already. I’ve heard Band Aid at least once a day for the last week. But I haven’t started thinking about what wines to serve with Xmas dinner this year!!
For the past few years I’ve taken a case of 6 wines to each of the parents to go with their wonderful food. I like to choose a red, a white, a sparking and a sweet (2 each of the red and white).
Last year the red was a Burgundy (Aloxe Corton 2006) the white a Gruner Veltliner from Austria, the fizz was Cava (not a a very good one!), and the sweet was a wonderful sweet Kiwi Gewurtztraminer. The red and white for next year are maturing in the spare room – bounty from our summer trip to France! If you have to know, the white is a white Burgundy from Meursault, the red a spicy Syrah from Cornas in the Northern Rhone. And this helps, because I don’t like repeating things so I now have some goalposts.
So lets pull together a shortlist for each choice and see where it takes us:
The options are English fizz or Cremant de Bourgogne. English fizz because it really is so damn good and there won’t be much wine from the 2012 vintage due to the appalling weather this summer. Cremant because it is so wonderfully elegant with very fine bubbles, almost ethereal. Hmm… I’ll come back to that one.
Chablis is a great go-to for Xmas. Mineral and citrus and just ever so bloody lovely. But I’ve got Burgundy lined up for next year. I have 2 other options. One is a lovely, sexy Italian number. It’s from Lugana, in the Veneto region in Northern Italy. It is made with the rather modest Trebbiano grape but is full bodied and like baked apples. Or I could go for the fresh but aromatic qualities of Chenin Blanc from South Africa. Hmm… This isn’t getting any easier!
I think I’ve hit this one sorted! Our trip to Barcelona gave a fantastic introduction to the wines of Priorat. Made predominantly with the Garnacha grape (called Grenache in France) and has that lovely bramble, earthiness. I’ve tried a good one from Waitrose and have one from Jez waiting to be tested. Yep, I’m happy with the region, just need to decide on the actual bottle. Yes, one down!
I love sweet dessert wines but rarely buy them – Xmas is the perfect excuse to get stuck in. Because I don’t get the chance to try too many, I’ve got a shortlist of two. The first is a classic Beaumes de Venice from the southern Rhone. Made with the muscat grape, this is a truly classic wine. The second option is the wonderful Steindorfer Seewinkel Beerenauslese, from Austria, that we enjoyed at our veggie feast at Steve and Sara’s. A blend of Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Bouvier, giving up peach, apricot and honey sweetness. Damn… Not as easy as I thought.
So there we go… Still plenty of decisions to make! Thought this was going to be a fun and easy task. Definitely fun as I’ve still got lots of wine to try, but definitely not easy! I hope it’s at least given you a few ideas. Xmas is a great opportunity to really splash out and the good stuff… But careful, you might get a taste for it!