The Chairman's Christmas Crackers
Rodney Shaw

It's that time of year again and time for our chairman to present the gems he's been collecting for our yuletide pleasure.

1. Chanson, Clos des Mouches 1er cru, Beaune, 2004
Not a big nose; a bit cold. Nice caramel, good zing, nicely stern 13.5%. Very nice.
O'Briens sale
39.99 from 59

2. Blanc de Lynch-Bages, AC Bordeaux, 2004
A bit over-oaked fro me but a lot of fruit too. Hint of oxidation? 40% Semillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Muscadelle. Described as classic, medium bodied with good finish - I don't think so, especially at this price..

3. Domaine Tortochot, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2002
Nice nose, good fruit, quite an attack. Dense, brambly, hint of jamminess, some tannin. Would have sworn it was New World (US, in fact). Owned by Chantal Tortochot who last year produced, we're told, only 4 barrels. Not inclined to pay this kind of money for it, though.
Berry Bros 64

4. Mascarello, Giuseppe e Figlio Cru Monprivato Barolo DOCG, Piedmont, 2000
Quite light, with a pale rim. Big nose. Quite bitter; cherries, too much burn. 100% Nebbiolo Michet from the Monprivato vineyard, in the village of Castiglione Falletto.  14%. A lot of people liked this; I thought it only OK.
Berry Bros 67

5. San Felice Poggio Rosso Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany, 1999
Dark, looks unfiltered. Beautiful, leathery, fruity - absolutely lovely. Finish of cherries and leather. Very polished, feels younger than its age. 13.5%. 90% Sangiovese, 10% Calorino and 20 months in French oak. Why didn't I buy some on the sale? :(
O'Briens sale 26.99 from 40.45

6. Ata Rangi, Pinot Noir, Martinborough, NZ, 2004
Big, big, burnt rubber nose. Bitter cherry and strawberry. Huge extract. 14%. 

7. Napanook, Napa Valley, California, 2001
A lovely cherry red. Silky, leathery nose. Medicinal, inky. This is the second wine of Dominus, first released in 1996 by maker Christian Moueix. 71% Cab Sauvignon, 18% Cab Franc, 7% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec; Matured in French oak barrels, 20% new oak. 14%. A very fine wine, it got the most votes of the evening, I think.
Searsons 48.50

8. Dominus, Napa Valley, California, 1988
Amazingly dark for a wine of its age. Way too cold, like many of the wines: I'm furiously trying to warm it up. Lovely nose; I'd swear it was a very good French wine if I got it blind. Red and green pastilles, still tannin, great fruit.  Love it! 86% Cab Sauvignon, 11% Cab Franc, 3% Merlot. 12 months in French oak, 15% new. 13% alc. Pity I'm not rich ...
Searsons 110

9. Quinta do Passaduoro, Duoro, Portugal, 2005
Leggy. dark red, feels very young. Herbs, maybe a hint of chocolate. Certainly juicy; black fruits, bitter cherries. Needs time but will be wonderful. 70 year old vines of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa, aged in French oak.
Terroirs sale; down from 36.50 to 27.50

10. Warre's Vintage Port, 1985
Amazingly sweet! Quite brown but not that light. Teeny bit of raisin. I found it strangely lightweight and lacking the depth and richness that I associate with a mature vintage port. Sadly disappointing, sugary - and 1985 is considered one of the great vintages. Was this a bottle fault? Warre's comes from the Symington family, in the business for some 350 years depending how you count. Tinta Barocca
Berry Bros 86

11. Christina Ascheri, Moscato d'Asti DOCG, Piedmont, Italy, 2007
Great buzz, lovely fresh nose. Quite sweet, nicely tangy, lightly sparkling. Have to agree with Oz Clarke: "Utterly beguiling and delightful."
O'Briens 12.99


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