Christmas and New Year drinking thread ‘22/23

To start proceedings this weekend I’ll soon be opening this half bottle.

Bought in Saumur a couple of months ago. Wouldn’t it be good if TWS were to offer more sparkling wines in halves?

Onwards and upwards on this thread from here, I’m sure.


And… in true Mark Kermode fashion… this wine was actually not that unpleasant this evening. Montidori Sangiovese Wine type - Waitrose Cellar

The story goes back a few days…the Brief was to secure a half-case of cellar defenders to insulate against unexpected “Yes pleases” to more wine offered over the coming weekend to sundry guests, but they had to be On Offer at Waitrose and and a sub-14% abv; and hamstrung by the immediately self-evident fact that nearly all the current £10 specials were “temporarily unavailable” at my local branch in North Walsham. (I really wanted some of that Dona Paula malbec…)

But roll on supper - stuffed portobello mushrooms with blue cheese, walnuts etc - there was no chambréd wine to be had save the hallway-stashed said mixed half dozen, and so it came to pass that this one was opened impromptu-style, just to see what it was like.

Not a wine for over-contemplating but it was eminently quaffable with some structure and depth and a pleasing cherry sweetness to it. Not a Chianti Classico wannabe, but none the less decent vfm

I’ve a feeling that this thread will run into hundreds of postings and I look forward to seeing what y’all are having. Merry Crimbo all.


We weren’t supposed to drink this evening, but Santa made us do it. I thought it would be best to limit ourselves to a fairly light wine, considering the amount of drink coming our way, so out came this Austrian white:

Martin Obenaus, ‘Unchained’ Roter Veltliner, Weinviertal 2019

The producer is new on me, but whenever I spot a Roter Veltliner I always part with my cash. There are favourites - namely, Ecker Eckhof (who made a speciality of RV) and Weingut Hagenbüchl (whose ‘Mastodon’ I can drink like water) – though it’s still not easy to find the variety in the UK.

But I digress - this is slightly different to my preferred, more rounded style of the grape, but it’s a cracking example, nonetheless – reminiscent, perhaps of the WS listing from Familie Mantler, but with a bit more complexity.

It was clearly not filtered, not only because it stated it on the label (with the advice to ‘shake the bottle a little’), but because there were gossamer-like bits floating in the bottle. Gentle shaking got rid of these apparitions, and first glass was a delight! The nose has notes of Golden Delicious apple, peach skin, wet stones and mandarin/orange citrus note. A certain smokiness there too, we thought.

On the palate this is light – though with substance – the fruit is a mix of the orchard and the grove. A gentle note of smoked bacon is there too – strangely pleasant – and there’s vibrant citrus zest note on the finish. Acidity is brisk but not in any way tart or overpowering; would have been nice if the finish lingered a little longer – there’s a nice rounded fruitiness to the aftertaste. Perhaps a bit pricey for the £16.99 I paid, but I am happy that I did, and it should go nicely with a simple pasta and hot smoked salmon dish.

Happy Christmas Eve eve all! :clinking_glasses: :christmas_tree: :grin:


First day off work today; and a rare/luxurious child-free one as the Barleysprout had his last day in childcare of the year. So my partner and I took the opportunity to check out a new restaurant in Manchester for lunch: Climat run by the same people behind the (very, very good) Covino restaurant/winebar in Chester.

Excellent food and I wouldn’t be suprised to see it getting some buzz in the national press; it strikes me as the sort of place Jay Rayner would like. Standout dishes included a Lamb Keema Vol-au-Vent, some great vension and a choux bun filled with nutmeg icecream, chocolate ganache and cherries.

Wine-wise, a bottle that I spotted on the list and had some awarenes of from reading posts on the community. 1997 Pegasus Xinomavro - my first experience of aged Xinomavro but on the basis of this, not likely to be my last.

Merry Christmas!


Well, it’s Christmas, the tree is up and decorated, and we ate some hearty winter food and wine to go with it. I had some shin of beef going with root vegetables, white cabbage and red wine for about 5 hours over the wood-burner - it turns into something where the vegetables taste almost as meaty as the meat itself, which just falls apart We drank a bottle of Ulysse Pauillac, 2015, and a bottle of Jalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Domaine de Thalabert, 2013.

The Pauillac is definitely open for business, and in fact I’d say that it’s probably at a point where it’s not going to get much better. A slight surprise, given my experience with other vintages, which at this age were good to drink but needed time in the glass to soften a bit and open. No tightness, tannins very smooth, some acidity, a bit of sweetness to the blackcurrant fruit. But not really the structure that I was expecting, and I think that I’ll drink my remaining two bottles quite soon.

The Thalabert was a different beast - wilder, perhaps a bit less controlled, dark fruit, liquorice and tobacco savouriness and good length. Lovely to drink now, but I’m also not going to rush to drink the remaining two bottles that I also have of this - I sense lots of development is still to come. Of the two, this bottle was just much more alive and vibrant.

Happy Christmas weekend!


First treat of Christmas for me!

Half bottle drinking brilliantly started with a lot of va but now mellowing out to reveal some lovely dried red fruits, raisins, cedar, tobacco and a Christmassy spiciness to it delicious.
Bought 4 of these when on offer last year, first bottle wasn’t great but last 2 have been very good. Looking forward to the last!


A dish of lutefisk here this evening, dried fish rehydrated with lye…think fish flavoured jelly. With it a 2020 Fritz Ekkhard Huff trocken Riesling. Sweeter than expected but offset with nice acidity. Double decanted, didn’t seem too young. Grassy nose, dollop of nectarin and peach on palate to begin with which morphed into gooseberry with time. Pleasant stuff.


After a 3hr drive in constant rain upto the lake district:
2015 Thalabert, put through an aerator a couple of times before drinking. Majority saved for tomorrow.
Followed by couple of drams of Bunnahabhain from a Manzanilla cask. Lovely.
Holiday season has definitely started, cheers all.


Fancied a little something to help with the wrapping. Work tomorrow so just a small one


Very much the first night of Christmas here - first day we were both due to be off work. I promptly got called in to work, for which Mrs Tim has been incredibly forgiving.

With an unctuous (need to use that word more) mix of chicken thighs, breast, leeks, peas, orzo and other tasty things a bottle of:

Annoyingly I can’t see the reviews behind the 2.5 stars (new website vs iPhone), but whatever they say they are probably wrong. For the price this is a good Fleurie - it might be over-sold in the description. I guess if you’re expecting burgundy for £11.50 because it says “burgundy-like” then you would be cross (but it’s £11.50…) but I see what they mean. A food-friendly demonstration of what good Beaujolais can deliver for a fraction of the price of average Burgundy.


It was a one star, which very much sounds like a bad bottle, especially as the reviewer said that the first bottle they had was fine… So a bit strange giving it one star :woman_shrugging:

Ordered a couple of bottles to try this out. First bottle was fine, but second a few days later was disgusting and has gone down the sink…cannot explain the unpleasant taste.

Edit: the 2.5 star is the average. The other reviewer gave it 4 stars (and echoes your notes :slightly_smiling_face:)


Ah, thank you! I query the reviewer’s assessment criteria but the 1* review increases the chance of sufficient stock when I put my next order in…


Never bought wine from Aldi before, but a rare visit to my local store for mince pies resulted in a few bottles of wine too…

This Châteauneuf-du-Pape was on offer at only £9.99, so had to take the last bottle on the shelf. Really not bad at all, aromas of red fruit, meaty and earthy notes coming through on the palate. Don’t drink a lot of CdP, but for me this easily competes with other supermarket versions at double the price. It wears its 15% ABV fairly lightly and did the job very well with bangers, mash and onion gravy.


Like @Inbar , we also thought it would be an alcohol-free evening until Santa (in the shape of a merry neighbour who knocked on our door) convinced us otherwise.
So it was our favourite English Sparkling Wine, which I found by chance while travelling on my bike through the vineyards of W.Sussex in 2019, interviewing various winemakers. Smock Alley 2018 , from a single 2 hectare vineyard, made by the excellent team at nearby Wiston.
A beautiful classic Cuvee, from a record year, quantity and quality- wise.
Happy Christmas to all !


This PF La Soufrandise 2017 will be familiar to many here.

The third of six, after a couple of slightly disappointing bottles possibly drunk too soon. This one was a bit of a let down on opening, being rather woody (not oaked, though). But it did develop through the evening with delicious apple and melon flavours coming through. I might have had it a bit too cold to start with as well. Next time I’ll go with the advice to decant, and not straight from the fridge.


A couple of tiny glasses of this fortified sticky late yesterday evening here…

…a Campbells Bin 28 Rutherglen Muscat 1998. Unusually for this style of wine, it’s from a vintage specific single barrel and not a solera blend of young and aged wines as is normally the case.

A deep mahogany colour with an olive green robe and the viscous consistency of a super sticky balsamic vinegar in the glass. Boozy fruitcake, coffee beans, walnuts, liquorice and salted caramel on the deep and intensely fragrant nose. The tinniest sip on tasting flooded the palate with similarly powerful and lusciously complex flavours. Fortifying spirit and fresh acidity provided beautiful cut and balance to the unctuous texture and incredibly sweet flavour. The length on the intense and gently warming finish was off the scale. After one sip, the mince pies intended to go with it were put back in the tin as there was no way they were going to compete flavour-wise !

Although not cheap ( £30 per half ) looking at the level in the bottle this morning I’d guess 70ml was consumed in total and that another five evenings of slow, contemplative, sipping remain :smiley:


Within 5 minutes of switching off the work laptop not to be switched back on for the next 5 days, this was in my glass.

A Barthod BR ‘16 to accompany my Christmas jigsaw. Hugely pleasurable wine. Approachable, fresh and uncomplicated but a super classy wine. Great way to start the Christmas.


After an exhausting time on high court jury service, finishing off work, followed by a few days of lurgy I’m feeling better and ready for the celebrations.

Still to decide Christmas day wines, likely to be NW Chardonnay with the remaining Michel Arnold rose champagne from tonight. Red TBD.

Butchers steak pie tonight with Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissee 2015. Miles Mossop Max 2019 as back up. We were intending a fish platter but we’re still under the weather so leaving in the freezer for another day.

After the last of the shopping this is my start to the festivities.


I like the slightly surreal label!


I go big on Xmas Eve. Let’s see how this Kreis Kabinett Trocken 2015 plays with salmon…