The Christmas do,with Monika’s delicious canapés and eight fine, dinner party wines. The exceptional 1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires to start with, the lovely 1970 Graham to finish up with. In between three seductive pairs: youthful, fine white Burgundy, mature Italian classics, a very fine 'new wave' Australian syrah, and a top Hermitage. Wines ranging in price from £25 to £200 a bottle, retail.
1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires
Once or twice a decade Charles Heidsieck produce this rare and refined 'Millionaire's White' from the Côte des Blancs. It demonstrates, for any doubters, just how beautiful in bouquet and exquisite in texture pure, well aged Chardonnay can be in Champagne. This is a wonderful twenty one year old!
2012 White Burgundy
2012 was a variable vintage, but its best whites and reds are very good indeed. Tasting the whites young, in 2014, I described them as "fine boned, racy, mostly early to medium term". These two whites are a delicious pair, showing just how good the whites can be. Dominic Lafon's Bourgogne Blanc is a fresh, vital and particularly satisfying wine with a lovely flavour and balance, punching well above its 'declared' weight, you might say. In contrast to Dominic Lafon, Domaine Dublère is a new estate, founded just over a decade ago by American pianist turned journalist Blair Pethel. 'Blair's domaine', hence the name du blère, as in Domaine Jacque Seysses naming his domaine du jac! 1er Cru Les Chaumées is one of Chassagne-Montrachet's finest Premier Cru sites, and this is a taut, dense, sapid, mineral and refined wine. An excellent introduction to this new domaine if you don't know it.
Brunello and Barbaresco
Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, Italy's two great red grapes. Brunello and Barbaresco two of their great appellations. Tuscany and Piedmont Italy's two great red wine quality axes. You would think they are easy to tell apart. Plenty of blind tasting demonstrates this is not so. Easier perhaps with maturity? We shall see. Brunello is the local name for Sangiovese in Montalcino, and Tenuta Brunelli's 2004 Brunello is a particularly elegant example from a fine vintage. Bruno Giacosa is acknowledged as one of the finest makers of Barolo and Barbaresco, the 1998 Barbaresco Asili Falletto is from his own vineyards, classy and subtle as it approaches two decades.
Syrah - Australian and French
Australian Gary Mills founded the Jamsheed label in 2003, another 'young' label. Beechworth is in the north eastern part of Victoria, not far from Rutherglen, its Liqueur Muscat country. This Syrah exemplifies the new face of the grape in Australia, pure, transparent, aromatic, unacidified - natural. Hence its being described as 'Syrah', because it has much more in common with the northern Rhône than Australia's classic 'Shiraz' expression. I fell in love with this the moment I tasted it. And it makes absolute sense to put it next to a mature magnum of one of the northern Rhône's finest wines, Chave's Hermitage, because the winemaking aims are very similar, those of restraint, purity, finesse, fragrance, elegance ...... and completeness!
1995 Charles Heidseick Blanc des Millenaires
2012 Bourgogne Blanc (Dominic Lafon)
2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chaumées (Domaine Dublère)
2004 Brunello di Montalcino (Tenuta Brunelli)
1998 Barbaresco Asili Falletto (Bruno Giacosa)
2012 Jamsheed Beechworth Syrah; Victoria, Australia
1997 Hermitage (Chave) in magnum
1970 Graham's Vintage Port
8 Wines and Canapés ...... £132.00