Entertaining this Christmas

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Entertaining this Christmas
Log fires, mulled wine, old films, games, country walks, cocktail parties, dinner amongst friends, family get-togethers…….. Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, and it is time to indulge ourselves in delicious heart warming food and discover some interesting wines.

Remember: “Wine should be a prolonged sensation of tasting, and not a brief impact of drinking. Wine is not just ‘wine’. The essence of its appeal lies in its huge diversity”.

So, pour yourself a glass and let me lead you through the wonderful diversity of wine….


Without breaking the budget

Red wines :

La Pie Colette Rouge, Côtes de Duras , 2011. .
Merlot 90%; Cabernet sauvignon 10% . Organic €7,50

Notes of ripe, juicy red fruits, cherries, chocolate and liquorice. Extremely fresh, lots of red fruit flavours on the palate, supple tannins and a smooth finish. Ideal aperitif. Serve 16°.

Elian da Ros, « Le vin est une fête », Côtes du Marmandais. 2010.

Merlot 60%; Cabernet franc (20%) and Abouriou 20%. Organic €8,90

An alluring fruity wine with aromas ranging from musk to herbes de provence to ripe plums, with a touch of oriental spice. Flavours of freshly picked berries, with a lively fresh acidity, and fine-grained tannins. A dangerously drinkable wine, absolutely delicious with chestnuts. Needs time to breathe.

White wines :

Domaine de Magnaut , Côtes de Gascogne; 2011.

Colombard €5,50.

Very aromatic with both fruity and floral notes. Initially peaches, then citrusy aromas of lemons and grapefruit, with gentle hints of rose. Palate is dry with mouth watering acidity. Full of flavour with predominantly citrus flavours – lemons, limes and grapefruit and a lovely fresh, clean lingering finish.

Château Tuquet Monceau, AOC Montravel , 2011

Sauvignon Blanc €5,50

Vibrant citrusy aromas, followed by white fleshed fruits, peaches, apples, with faint grassy hints. Palate is dry with zesty, mouth watering acidity, full of citrus flavours. Absolutely perfect with a seafood platter.

Great value for money

Red wines :

Château Guery , AOC Minervois, ‘Tradition’ 2009.

Grenache 60%, Syrah , Mourvèdre . €7,50

Gourmet black fruit aromas, mainly blackberries.. Velvety tannins, dark fruit flavours on the palate, with nuances of chocolate and a soft creamy mouthfeel. Ideal with beef. Serve at 18°

Belvestit Lou, « La Maem » ; Côtes du Thongue, 2009,

100% carignan. 70 yr old vines. €8.00

An interesting complexity of aromas, musk, garrigue, wild berries – bilberries, mountain raspberries, reminiscent of walking through open countryside at sunset. Very well balanced. Grainy, savoury tannins. Lovely earthy texture. Medium bodied, with flavours of herbs and wild berries. Lingering herbal, smooth finish.

Borie la Vitarèle, ‘Les Terres Blanches’, St Chinian, 2011 ;

Grenach, mourvèdre, syrah. Organic + Bio-dynamic. €9,50

This is my ‘coup de cœur’. It goes with absolutely everything, and is ideal as an aperitif. The vineyard is surrounded by ‘Garrigue’(‘lavender, thyme, fennel and rosemary), and pine forests, which is reflected in the aromas and flavours of this wine.

This bio-dynamic wine has lovely aromas of black fruits, garrigue, hints of mocha and a fresh slate/stone minerality. The palate has subtle black fruit flavours, and velvety tannins. Full bodied, yet fresh and elegant, good structure and perfect balance.

Clos de l’Anhel, ‘Les Terrassettes’, AOC Corbières . 2010. Organic

70% carignan ; 15% syrah ; 8% grenache ; 7% mourvèdre €12,00

Delicate aromas of redcurrants, fresh herbs, thyme, and hints of dark chocolate. There is something on the palate which I just can’t define – but it is absolutely glorious. Refreshing acidity, fine grained tannins. Full of flavour on palate – redcurrants, some basil, a little touch of chocolate. I love the earthy, herbal texture, the freshness, and the balance. Lingering finish with core flavours of redcurrants. A glorious wine, ideal with game.

White wines :

Château Tour des Gendres, Cuvée de Conti, AOC Bergerac , 2011

Semillon, Sauvignon, Muscadelle. Organic €8,20

A dry, fruity organic wine made from an interesting combination of our local

sauvignon, semillon and muscadelle grape varieties.

Enticing aromas of tangerines, white peaches, acacia and nuances of nutmeg.

Full bodied, well balanced.

Château K, Blanc sec, . AOC Bergerac . 2010 Organic (€8.00).

Semillon 30%; Sauvignon Gris 30%; Sauvignon Blanc 20%; Muscadelle 10%.

Aromas of dried fruits – apricots, and quince jelly, with overtones of ginger, and orange peel

Mouth-watering acidity. Citrusy flavours of grapefruit and ripe lemons on the palate. Lingering finish with core flavours of pink grapefruit.

Château Guery, Vin de pays d’Oc, Minervois .

Viognier €7,20

Intense aromas of peaches, ripe pineapple, orange peel and gentle hints of apricot crumble. Full of delicious flavours on palate, rather similar to nose. Lingering gourmet finish, with orange peel and bergamot flavours.

Domaine Laporte, Sancerre « Le Rochoy » Silex ,

Sauvignon Blanc €13,50

A wonderful Sancerre – full of tension and minerality.

As its name suggests, mineral aromas of silex, and also citrusy notes.

Palate is dry, with crisp, refreshing acidity. Lingering clean, fresh , ‘smokey’ finish.

Absolutely perfect with oysters.

Because you’re worth it!

Red wines :

Paul Barre, Château La Grave, AOC Fronsac, 2009

80% Merlot ; 20% Cabernet Franc €16,00

Bio-dynamic wines since 1990.

Dark red, deep intensity. Delicate aromas of black fruits, plums, black cherries, spices, graphite, and hints of tobacco. Palate is dry, with firm but fine grained tannins, an earthy mouth feel, medium bodied, fresh acidity, sustains mid palate with flavours of plums, fennel, and laurel, with a fine mineral backbone. An elegant wine with a lot of finesse.

Domaine Nivet-Galinier, « les Aspres », Côtes de Roussillon. 2005.

Carignan 50%; Syrah 30%; Grenache 20%. Incredibly low yields 15/18hl.

Labour à cheval. Bio dynamic. Alc. 15.5% €18,00

Almost like a port . Figs, prunes, candied fruits, yet still an exceptional freshness. Well balanced, great length. Rather like an Amarone, or a fortified banyuls without the sweetness. This would be glorious with cheese or wild boar.

Château Thenac , Côtes de Bergerac, 2009

58% Merlot, 20% Malbec, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet franc. €18,00

This popular wine can beat many a top Bordeaux in a blind tasting. Black robe, deep intensity. Black fruit aromas of myrtle, also ripe figs, grilled almonds and nutmeg. Lovely juicy black fruit flavours. Velvety tannins and an opulent mouth feel, yet still very elegant and perfectly balanced. Very long finish.

Third ‘coup de coeur’ in the Guide Hachette since 2010. Drinking now, but will keep. Ideal with goose or free-range turkey.

Château Barouillet Château, « Hecate », Pécha rmant 2010.

No added sulphur ! €18,00

Robe is inky black, very deep intensity. Ripe black fruit aromas, with hints of gunflint. As it opens up, toasty aromas of cocoa and smoke appear. Palate has lovely black fruit flavours, with silky tannins and a soft, velvety mouth feel. Full bodied and very well balanced, with a long gourmet finish. Ideal with beef, duck or goose.

White wines :

Domaine Gilbert Chirat, Condrieu, 2010. €28,00


The Condrieu appellation is in the Northern Rhône, producing distinctive white wines, of great character, made exclusively from the Viognier grape.

Powerful aromas both floral and fruity, orange blossom, honeysuckle, fresh ripe peaches, orange peel and pink grapefruit. Palate is very rich, full bodied and unctuous with flavours of

dried fruits, quince, apricots, ripe pears, some honey, and gentle hints of ginger. Lovely creamy texture, and an incredibly long seductive finish. Wonderful with foie gras, goose, and ‘saucy’ dishes. Don’t serve it too chilled.

Domaine Leflaive, Puligny Montrachet, 2010. €69,00


Limited quantity of this bio-dynamic wine.

Fruity, floral and very mineral. Orange blossom, citrus fruits – lemons, limes, orange peel, dried peaches and apricots . Full bodied, full of flavour with an extremely long finish.

A wine of outstanding quality due to its balance, concentration, complexity and length.

Needs several hours to open up.

Tour des Gendres, AOC Bergerac, ‘Anthologia’, 2010 (€42.00)

Sauvignon blanc Organic

Nose is fresh and lively, yet with a restrained elegance. Aromas of candied peel, and a wonderful mineral backbone. Dry, fresh, lively acidity, powerful flavour intensity on the palate – écorces d’oranges and a clear-cut gunflint minerality.
Sweet wines :

Sauternes: La Tour Blanche 1999 . €69,00

Old gold colour, with aromas of tangerines, candied apricots and quince jelly. Complex, full bodied, seductive palate with an amazing endless finish.

Sauternes: Chateau d’Yquem, 1945. (price on request)

From the outstanding 1945 vintage, this extremely rare Yquem scored 91/100 Parker points. Burnished gold tending towards amber in colour, it is medium to full bodied, but remarkably rich and concentrated with a honeyed-caramel sweetness on a background of tropical fruits, dried apricots, and biscotti. This iconic wine has a massive long finish.

“L’abus d’alcool est dangereux pour la santé, à consommer avec modération.”