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Cracking Christmas wines


We had the rather civilised Christmas of not having any young kids in the house. Yes, you lose some of the fun and excitement of seeing them unwrap their presents, but on the positive side, you drink better. More too, if I'm being truthful. Se here then is a rundown of our Christmas 2017 libations.

Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill Champagne 1999

Two days before Chrissie, just Brenda, me and the dog out by the pool. This is delicious. Mid gold, toasty brioche,a lick of honeyed sweetness, and a very fine mousse. Layered loveliness (if that's a word) with every sip. Terrific drinking but alas, it's our only bottle. Anyone want to guess what to buy us next Christmas?

Mt Pleasant Lovedale Semillon 2005

Christmas Eve we opted for a couple of whites and a red. We had family with us. Now, you've got to like aged semillon but I do... I really do, so this was a treat. Brenda wasn't as enamoured, but she prefers her semillons younger and citrusy fresh. Anyway, toast, honey, acid still present at the back holding things together, loads of drive. That's our last 2005 although there are a couple of 2007s lying around. They'll be winking at me next year. For sure.

Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon 2009

I was delighted to find this in the racks. In a good vintage I've not tasted a Hunter semillon that ages as well as Vat 1 - it stays so steely tight. And this was a good vintage. Still a baby in many ways. I won't go on, but dazzling. Fresh enough for Brenda to love, just enough development for me to love. Everyone's happy.

Majella Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

I loved this as a youngster and grabbed a case straight away. It probably hasn't evolved to the heights I'd hoped, although it's still a very tasty number. We'd had flathead fillets on the barbecue, prawns,chat potatoes and salad for dinner. So we sitting around on the veranda afterwards having a sip when the rain came... heavy, wonderful rain after a muggy sort of day. As it poured down we cracked this red and sipped away as we smelt the rain on the earth (I love that). Delightful.

About 10 years ago my brother-in-law and sister-in-law headed to Margaret River for a holiday and wanted a list of some wineries to visit. The wonderfully pleasant result is that now, all these years later, they're still pulling the occasional aged Margaret River red or white from their cellar. Which brings me, in a roundabout way I admit, to our Christmas Day tipples (aside from cold beer and bubbles around the pool).

Voyager Chardonnay 2007

The aged characteristics were obvious - a mid-yellow colour heading towards gold that hinted at its age, and that complex sort of nose where all the aromas are melded into one interesting whiff... where you find yourself going back time and again for another swirl and sniff, trying to unravel things - in my case, unsuccessfully. There was a honeyed note to the palate - sweetened pear would probably be my best guess - the very last remnants of mellowed grapefruit tang, and just a lick of citrus bite at the end. Acid still going at the finish too. A very good wine no doubt, and holding together very nicely. A terrific way to celebrate family.

Domaine Pichot Vouvray 2010

We also popped the top on a Domaine Pichot Vouvray. I bought six and the plan was to keep them, age them, and drink them at their best. So much for that idea... but six years isn't too bad I suppose. Only one left now. Like the Vat 1, still a bub. I wonder how long I'll be able to resist that last one.

Leeuwin Estate Cabernet Merlot 2005

With Leeuwin's chardonnay so acclaimed (the 1987 Art Series was the first wine I tasted that made me think ... WOW! ... how good is this wine caper), the reds probably don't get the recognition they deserve. This, from the Prelude Vineyards, was a mellow, elegant old fellow... dark fruits, soft and mouthfilling, blackcurrant, leathery, some cedar... all very pleasant and wonderfully easy to sip and enjoy. At the same time it won't go down as a star. Just good drinking.

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