Christmas Highlights

5th January 2015

Christmas is a time of year to revisit old friends to see how they are…in our case this means wines we sold some time ago. Three highlights of this year’s festivities were:

With the turkey:

Brooks, Janus Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2005    
This was the first vintage we sold of this, one of the top wines at bio-dynamically farmed Brooks. With sterling then riding high against the dollar the price in 2008 was a mere £18.25. This looks absurd now, as this beautiful Pinot – still youthful and vigorous, with plush fruit, perfectly integrated oak and modest alcohol, would have knocked many £50 Burgundies into touch. Standing proud amongst the myriad flavours of Christmas it bears out my long-held belief that New World Pinot is the best accompaniment to roast turkey. We have just shipped the 2011 vintage of this cracker, now £27.50.

With lamb and butter bean casserole on the Saturday after Christmas:

A Jeroboam - 5 litres - of Chateau Barrejat, Madiran 2005.  
We have been staring at this gigantic bottle for years (turning it upside down from time to time to keep the cork damp) so long that I feared for the state of the wine, which originally cost the equivalent of just £8.25 a bottle. I needn’t have worried. Safe-cracking skills were needed to get through the hard wax seal, but the giant cork came out perfectly and the wine was lovely, just on the turn from mulberryish fruit to more gamey complexity. Yes it’s a bit rustic, but that’s part of the charm. Again, lowish alcohol helps, especially at lunchtime!  We currently stock the 2012 vintage of these monster bottles at £75.00.

Finally, with seafood linguine on New Year’s Eve:

Lequin-Colin, Chassagne-Montrachet, 1er Cru Les Caillerets, 2010  
Served by a generous friend and customer, and truly delicious: this wine always combines honeyed richness with the raciness of this stony site. The ripeness combined so well with the mild sweetness of scallops and crayfish, and the acidity cut the weight of the pasta perfectly. A treat. We actually still have a little of this left at £33.95. Worth every penny, and now we know quite how good it is, it won’t last!  

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