Christmas 2020

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Superb Xmas eve! All clear with our covid tests and 2 splendid wines:
A wonderful Comte de Champagne 1998 which was near perfect, the best of 3 bottles drunk over the years. .. and a classic Fourrier Gevrey Combe aux Moines 2011 which needed quite some shaking but reward your energy. The menu was classis:
- Foie Gras truffe
- Guinea fowl aux truffes with winter vegetables
- Cheeses
- Mousse au chocolat and petits financiers.
Cherry on the cake (and eat it! ) was Henri came with his former girlfriend and they are an item again so we had a wonderful foursome all having tested negative for Covid... and the bottles did not last long...
 
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That brill was a heck of a fish. Extraordinarily rich, it almost had a sense of Vacherin cheese about it. With girolles and a flash Vincent Dancer white, but the stars of the evening are pictured above.

Vilmart CdC 02 was rippling with muscle and extract. Fully mature but still cracking energy, mandarin sorbet with touches of cocoa and custard. Not quite the sublime greatness of the 96 but still a five star luxury champagne experience.

Grahams 85 is just a lovely, comforting drink. Patisserie red fruits, a delicate vein of Amaro bitterness to work against the sweetness, the spirit and tannin fully integrated. Long, refreshing (if Port can ever be) and dangerously moreish.
 
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I went with a very small glass of Madeira late morning: that’s all that is needed. This is concentrated but refined with it. Taste lingers for ages.

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Wow. That's quite something.

Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kab 2001 pre-lunch. Negative COVID tests confirmed 5 mins before which removes the awkwardness of family sitting at opposite ends of the room... Lovely wine. Off-dry, very elegant, very refreshing...
 
I went with a very small glass of Madeira late morning: that’s all that is needed. This is concentrated but refined with it. Taste lingers for ages.

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1846. I love to look and see what the news was in these ancient vintages.

Neptune spotted.

Corn Laws repealed - free trade anyone.

Railway Mania - including London to York a journey I've made countless times.

Mendelssohn writes Elijah - less said the better.

First surgery under anaesthetic - patient 1 before still just a bit annoyed.
 
1846. I love to look and see what the news was in these ancient vintages.

Neptune spotted.

Corn Laws repealed - free trade anyone.

Railway Mania - including London to York a journey I've made countless times.

Mendelssohn writes Elijah - less said the better.

First surgery under anaesthetic - patient 1 before still just a bit annoyed.

It is also worth reflecting, 1846 was really the last great pre-oidium vintage for Madeira, which struck in 1851. At that time, the Island of Madeira was almost an agricultural monoculture, most people who worked on the land relying on sales of grapes for Madeira wine. Oidium was devasting in the humid subtropical climate, much more so than in mainland Europe, and much, much worse that the effects of phylloxera that were to start just over twenty years later.

Production fell from around 12,000 pipes per year in 1851 to 36 pipes in 1855, and virtually nothing in 1856. People working on the land starved, companies went bankrupt, stocks of bankrupt companies were bought by the survivors, and stocks were held back, so something would be available to sell for future years. On top of that, in 1856 there was a serious outbreak of Cholera killing 10% of the population.

Madeira did bounce back with the introduction of Bordeaux mixture to overcome the oidium.

Out of this tragic chapter, great Vintage Madeira as we know it today came about.
 
T
Three connections with Magdalen college here

I bought the Hermitage 1978 back from them
the red wine glass was bequeathed to me by my late uncle who was a Reader in the Conflict of laws and law tutor at Magdalen, 1936-1976
and the book by a Magdalen man of this parish

That 1978 is a beautiful majestic wine, and very reliable - unlike the Magdalen man of this parish who’s rather mischievous.
 
  • 2012 Bérêche et Fils Champagne Campania Remensis - France, Champagne (24/12/2020)
    Disgorged March 2016. I think one of the biggest reasons why I like Bereche so much is that his wines are always beautifully balanced. Lovely tension with a good amount of fruit, strawberries mainly. Just wished I had more time to go over this. This is delicious but still drinking very youthfully, unfortunately my only bottle but I’d hold off on my 2013 for a little longer.
  • 2018 Clos Canarelli Bianco Gentile - France, Vin de Table Français (24/12/2020)
    No vintage that I could see. Straw yellow, a light and aromatic wine. Almost Viognier-like with the aroma and palate of peaches, but without the waxy texture. Had a yoghurt note that I didn’t quite like on the finish.
  • 2018 Croci Tenute Vitivinicole Valtolla - Italy (24/12/2020)
    Typical orange wine, the only problem I have with these wines is that I can’t taste the difference no matter where they are from (maybe the problem lies with me). This is relatively clean, some spritzy character, grapefruit and lychee. Would have been good with food I think.
  • 2018 Ka Mancinè Rossese di Dolceacqua Galeae - Italy, Liguria, Rossese di Dolceacqua (24/12/2020)
    Very pretty floral nose but light on the palate, even though it put on some weight with time in the glass. Slightly spritzy, high acidity and salinity from the steep hills that it was grown on. Like an easygoing Bojo.
  • NV Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant Cuvée Huet Brut - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray Pétillant (24/12/2020)
    Sparkling Chenin from the standard bearer. Rich with bold fruit, there is a healthy dose of acid that balances the sweetness. Not much depth to speak of but such a refreshing wine, good as an aperitif.



  • 2017 Jean-Claude Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Boudriotte Rouge - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru (25/12/2020)
    Very much open for business now. Incredibly perfumed nose, lovely crunchy red fruits of strawberries and cherries crunchy. Good acidity with some firm tannins but without the denseness of some Chassagne reds that I’ve encountered, definitely on the more elegant side. Best Chassagne red I’ve tasted so far.
  • 2017 Joseph Colin Puligny-Montrachet Le Trézin - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet (25/12/2020)
    The latest member of the Marc Colin family to strike it out on his own. From high altitude vineyards and 60 year old vines. For a 17 white I was surprised at how expressive and open this is now, it wasn’t tightly knit at all. Ripe citrus fruits, some honeysuckle, judicious use of oak (15% new) that gives a little sweetness and roundness. Impressive finish, would expect this to put on more weight with age.

 
Excellent fizz and a quietly superb red.
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(notes on the other thread)
 
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