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.
Barbara Boyle is an Irish MW and half of the dynamic husband and wife team WineMason, a specialist wine importer. Regular readers might recognise that name from the numerous reviews of their wines I have posted this year!
We did not drink wine at home when I was growing up. Not an unusual statement for an Irish person growing up in the 1970s and 80s. The very first time I drank wine with my family was Christmas Day 1985. My Christmas eve induced hangover was hard to hide. My ever-sharp father looked into my sleep deprived eyes and instead of greeting me on Christmas day with scorn or an anecdote of the dangers of drinking, I was greeted with a glass of wine at dinner. My father and I have enjoyed a glass of wine or two together every Christmas since.
Several years before (1980) I had given my father a bottle of wine which I had purchased while in France on a school trip (I did not drink then for the record). It was a Chenin Blanc from the Loire and he said that this Christmas day seemed like a fitting time to open it. I am often surprised that we don’t yet represent any Loire wineries but this something I hope to fix over the next year.
Every year since that I have been working in the wine trade, my father asks me to assemble a case of something nice for him that we can enjoy together over the holiday period. So, this year going into my father’s Christmas box are some wines that I am keen to open with him.
Moment of Silence 2015 Blank Bottle: this is a blend which includes that wonderful grape Chenin Blanc together with Grenache Blanc and Viognier. A soothing wine, perfect to shape a cold night in around. It’s made by Pieter Walser of BlankBottle Winery who I think it something of a genius and very good company to boot. This cape white is a great example of the thrilling and delicious wines that are being made in South Africa. And at Christmas who does not need a moment of silence.
Moment of Silence 2015 Blank Bottle, Wellington, South Africa (14.0%): available at around €24.95 from Baggot Street Wines, Blackrock Cellar, Corkscrew, Sweeneys and Green Man Wines.
Emilien Château le Puy 2014: “Fabulous, powerful, inky, floral, perfumed, fruity and earthy, iron, edgy acidity.” This is the note I made in June at a dinner in Chapter One of several vintages of this wine. I am looking forward to returning to it at Christmas and this time from magnum. The estate is situated at the second highest point of the Gironde which makes for later ripening and higher levels of acidity. Predominantly Merlot and from an uncompromising bio-dynamic estate. To me this is Bordeaux as it should be.
Emilien Château le Puy 2014, Côtes de Francs, Bordeaux, France (13.0%): available for €38-40 (€81-85 for 150cl format) from Blackrock Cellar, Redmonds of Ranelagh, Greenman Wines, Kellys Off LIcence, and Clontarf Wines.
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