For winelovers, Christmas is a time when we look forward to drinking – and even sharing – a special bottle or two. This might be a classic wine with traditional fare or just something different we’ve wanted to try for a while. I asked some wine loving friends what they were looking forward to and they have kindly agreed to write a blog post for me.
Alan March is different from most wine bloggers – while we wax lyrically about various bottles of wine we have tasted he is actually at the “coalface” helping to make innovative wine in the Languedoc. His aptly titled A March in the Vines is well worth a follow.
Christmas is about family and friends, sharing and reflection on the year which is fading. My choice of wine reflects these. I have lived most of the last 3 years in the Languedoc and spent much of the time helping at and writing about Mas Coutelou. Jean-François (Jeff) Coutelou makes a series of excellent natural wines but for this special occasion I shall choose La Vigne Haute 2013.
The wine is pure Syrah, it is labelled as a Vin De France because Jeff chooses to avoid the rules of appellation status which would, for example, mean that a single grape wine would not be allowed. Syrah is one of the main five Languedoc red grapes along with Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvèdre. The grapes which make La Vigne Haute are grown in a vineyard called La Garrigue planted on two sides of a ridge, Grenache facing the southerly sun and Syrah, more sheltered and cool, facing north.
2013 was the last vintage of La Vigne Haute, if the grapes and quality are not high enough they will be used in other wines. (Happily, 2017 will see a new vintage!). The 2013 offers warmth, long flavours of red fruits and soft tannins, great with Christmas food. Made by my friend, shared with family and a reminder of so many happy days in Puimisson.
The full series of Wines at Xmas:
- Wines at Xmas #1 – Moscato d’Asti – Sam Logan of WinesDirect
- Wines at Xmas #2 – Champagne Pierre Moncuit – Jérémy Delannoy of SIYPS
- Wines at Xmas #3 – Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir – Carol Smaul of Gin & Griddle
- Wines at Xmas #4 – Ch Phelan Segur 2010 – Phil Green of Phil My Glass
- Wines at Xmas #5 – Charles Heidsieck & Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Douro Tinto – Joe Coyle of Liberty Wines
- Wines at Xmas #6 – Bellavista Franciacorta – Jean Smullen of Movies + Booze
- Wines at Xmas #7 – Antoniolo Gattarina & Pfalz Riesling – Jim Dunlop
- Wines at Xmas #8 – Maison Róisín Curley & Le Grappin – Mick O’Connell MW
- Wines at Xmas #9 – Finca Allende Rioja & Weingut Winter Rheinhessen ‘Kloppberg’ Riesling – Colly Murray of RetroVino
- Wines at Xmas #10 – Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva Rioja & Warre’s Otima 10 Tawny Port – Kerri Judge of Febvre Wines
- Wines at Xmas #11 – Elio Perrone Moscato d’Asti – James Hubbard
- Wines at Xmas #12 – Furlan Rose & Ca’Salina Giorgia -Julia Phillips of Just Perfect Wines
- Wines at Xmas #13 – Mas Coutelou – Alan March of A March in the Vines
- Wines at Xmas #14 – Gere Kopar 2002 – Richie Magnier of A Motley Cru
- Wines at Xmas #15 – Moment of Silence 2015 Blank Bottle & Emilien Château le Puy 2014 – Barbara Boyle MW of WineMason
- Wines at Xmas #16 – Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Saering 2014 & Castello di Fonterutoli Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2013 – Effi Tsournava of Maisons Marques et Domaines & effidrinkswine.com
- Wines at Xmas #17 – Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Pianrosso Brunello di Montalcino – Sorcha Holloway of Away With Wine