Well it is almost the end of the year and Xmas is just around the corner
I am reminded of a good friend who tells me every year that Australia’s festive season starts with the Melbourne cup and finishes with Anzac day
Who am I to argue?
This got me thinking about my festive season and what I will be drinking over Xmas
It goes without saying that the current delivery for December will be a mainstay, as the wines are fantastic
I say this every quarter, but this delivery is our best. Dan Sharp of EST has taken a look at the wines from Spain and Portugal. These would be great for Xmas day, so if you are not already a member, what are you waiting for?
Spain is in a groove right now with every restaurant crammed with the wines from Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Prioriat. This trendiness has been capped off with one of their wines winning the prestigious Wine Spectator Top 100 wines. The 2004 Cune Imperial Gran Reserva from Rioja. I haven’t tried this wine, but am not at all surprised, for the quality of wines I have tried over the past 12 months from Spain have been sensational.
So back to my wines over Xmas. I have been lucky enough to try a lot of great wines, but a few stood out and made me pick up some extra bottles.
Chenin Blanc – Chenin what . Yes not a well known grape variety, but the 20111 Ipso facto from Margaret River is something very special. Extreme value for the quality you get in the bottle. Versatile enough to drink by itself or to handle seafood’s and white meats with aplomb. I picked up a case in November, hoping for it to last over xmas, but already I am having to get another case. And no I do not have a problem with alcohol
2010 Alvara Palacios “Vi de Gratallops”. Another great Spanish wine from Prioriat. I have written about this wine before and I have one bottle left to have over Xmas. I am very excited. This is Grenache but not as we know it! Elegance and sophistication are the two words that leap into my mind about this wine. Floral and quite feminine with great length and lovely tannins. Again expensive, but what is money for if not good wines!
Riesling and more specifically anything from Alsace- I was able to pick up a few bottles of the 2008 Riesling Grand cru “Geisberg from Andre Kientzler. Quite simply one of the best white wines I have ever drunk. Do yourself a favour and look into Alsace in a big way. They are some of the best value and best quality white wines in the world.
Chateau Beaucastel – I picked up some of the 2010 untasted, because of some great reviews and the stellar reputation of the 2010 vintage. After this, everywhere I looked this wine seemed to get even better reviews, including Number 8 in the above mentioned Top 100. It is a little overpriced, but from one of the great producers of Chateauneuf du Pape and from a famed vintage, how could you go wrong? Simple, if you don’t let it decant for at least 3 hours before drinking. It is one of those rare wines that can last 15-20 years.
Domaine A Pinot Noir – Tasmania – I tried this wine at a wholesale tasting and it blew me away. I am not a Pinot fan. I just don’t get the quality value ratio. What you have to spend to get something half decent is obscene. You can find better quality in other wine styles for a fraction of the price. But this wine was something special. It is a Pinot Noir on steroids and won’t be for everyone, plus it is bloody expensive, but I loved it. All these berry and forest floor aromas, with plenty of structure and weight.
Anything from Chablis – Chardonnay is the new black and this leaner style from Chablis is just awesome. I am yet to taste a dud. I have mainly tasted these wines at shows, as they can be bloody expensive. But man are they good. The “New Chardonnay” in Australia is trying to replicate this style and whilst they are doing a great job, do yourself a favour and try a premier or grand cru Chablis one of these days. Something very special indeed. But then again I do love Chardonnay. Plus they are much better value than White Burgundy. The few bottles I picked up were the grand cru wines of Domaine Jean-Paul et Benoît Droin (2011 Valmur and 2011 Les Clos) and these will be saved for Xmas day.
Moscato / Prosecco – Don’t waste your money on over priced acidic sparkling wine from Champagne. Save you money and buy some Prosecco and Moscato, be it Aussie or Italian. You don’t need to spend any more than $20, and in most cases $15, then you can splurge on some white and red wines that are much more impressive and will give you a bang for your buck and not just a fizzle!
Not for everybody’s tastes, but I will have fun and remember whatever you drink, always try to drink with friends, so you can never be accused of having a drinking problem.