The Chairman's Christmas Crackers
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%.
€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
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%.
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.
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 ...
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
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
Berry Bros €86
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."
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