This year, with Christmas falling on a Sunday, I had to wait until the “proper” hour to start drinking and so Champagne was not the first drink of the day. Once the wrapping paper was removed by 6am and the children sent to make lunch, the first wine of the day was a cheeky Petit Chablis from my favourite Chablis producer Billaud-Simon. A 2006 I bought a few years ago and the last of the batch, so one to remember. Although young vines were used, this was better than any regular village Chablis I've had in any restaurant or used to sell at a previous job with a multiple retailer!
A starter of giant prawns followed with all the trimmings and a new world Chardonnay to match - Bancroft Wines premium agency and the best to come out of Argentina- the Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Chardonnay. Rich and buttery with honeyed and nutty tones, not just my nose but that of my 9 year old daughter (she didn’t go as far as tasting it but has a keen nose and maybe a recruit for the future). The palate was viscous, rich (too rich for Mum - result), well rounded and very long in the mouth and a great accompaniment to the shellfish.
Of course more present opening was demanded by the little ones next so wine consumption had to be put on hold. Then onto the red wine - opened and decanted in my new claret jug a few hours earlier was the top selling 2005 Château Lafleur Laroze, St Emilion Grand Cru, now a regular in the Bancroft portfolio and a superb value for money claret with elegance and softness to enhance a turkey roast even from the late Bernard Matthews.
A full roast and a few glasses of creamy St Emilion led to more presents and an hour’s recess to open and delight in the fruit driven Chilean in honour of a good friend and colleague Carlos Lamoliatte from Julio Bouchon estate, who sadly died in a car accident a few months ago. I visited the Bouchon estate in the Maule Valley in March having a fantastic few days riding through the vineyards and tasting through the range of delightful wines that punch way above their weight, so to have the top wine in their portfolio La Mingre (a blend of Cab. Sauv, Malbec, Carmenere, Syrah & Merlot) named after their main estate was filled with mixed emotions. Patrick Valette, formerly of Château Pavie, and others had a hand in this wine which showed lots of upfront red and black fruits and could have and did hold up to a few chocolate brazil nuts then the mixed cheese. The quality and pure silkiness suggests it should be at least twice the price it actually is.
Before I log off I must mention the Christmas Eve tipple whilst preparing the veggies and turning into a veg on the sofa watching the obligatory rubbish on TV. As a Pinot Noir lover a present from the boss of Ten Minutes by Tractor Estate Pinot Noir 2009 was a welcome one. The new range within their portfolio from Martin Spedding’s estate in Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne has now reached iconic status and I'm not surprised with the quality of this wine. Elegant, full (for Pinot Noir), long and silky. A must for white meats, salads (for the January diet lovers), soft cheeses or just purely on its own and on your own, as sharing this is just criminal.
Over and out and have a prosperous 2012
By Jason Busby, Director