Midweek Drinking Thread - nearly Christmas! [20 to 23 December]

Merguez sausages and Rose Harissa couscous for dinner, which will be accompanied by this liquid form of a winter hug:

2017 Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Saint-Maurice - bought en primeur as part of a mixed case - a blend of 80% Syrah/20% Grenache. The first glass was an absolute joy, so will be interesting to see how it evolves over the course of the evening and how it responds to the food.

Looking young still in the glass – very deep violet, maybe just a hint of brick on the rim, the nose is plush with ripe fruit (prunes, figs, dark cherries), spices (liquorice, black pepper, clove) as well as dark chocolate. On the palate, the generosity continues with ripe plums and black cherries, bramble and pepper but also chilli pepper, baking spices, tapenade and a gentle smokiness.

Acidity is medium but keeps things fresh and alive, and tannins are velvety smooth – the whole ensemble is quite suave and comforting. We’ll leave the second bottle to evolve further, though this is delicious and satisfying already! :heart_eyes: :wine_glass:

What’s in your glass in the run up to Christmas?


I’ve decanted this to sip over the course of the week. It is definitely in the “nectar” category on first taste, with great length and complexity.

Sadly, I can’t compliment it with blue cheese.


Good job I have another of this. Simply outstanding. White Burgundy eat your heart out!


I had a ch Musar 2015 at a wine bar in downtown Reykjavík last night. The lady running it was kind enough to decant it for us. Sadly she neglected to tell us the price prior to opening.
I reckon the bottle could do with a couple of more years of aging but otherwise quite tasty.


A glass of this Aalto 2007 last night, opened on Saturday.

Some bricking and any youthful fruit has given way to liquorice, leather, vanilla, spice and a slightly sweet mocha or caramel effect. Still a big wine - reminding me of @ricard’s notes on Priorat - everything turned up to 11, tannin, acid and alcohol. But with age the tannins have integrated, the acid is mouthwatering rather than over-powering, and the alcohol warming. Really needed more appropriate food than the homemade pizzas I did for me and the kids, but was a very pleasant contemplative sipper.

Unfortunately what we had to contemplate was Elf, which the kids had chosen despite having seen it before and got bored with after an hour. I got a few Christmas cards done though.



Yes it’s interesting that in Ribera del Duero, most wines are made exclusively with Tempranillo (which there they call Tinta del país) whereas Priorat is Grenache/Carignan dominant. However, the high altitude and extreme temperature fluctuations in Ribera (as contrasted with Rioja) yield much more powerful wines. So the comparison with Priorat is not unsurprising, even though the grape varieties could hardly be more different. What’s more, Ribera is a continental wine, and Priorat is a Mediterranean wine. Nonetheless they share a love of power, intensity and concentration. Over time, there is now plenty of evidence of Ribera’s ageworthiness thanks to its famously long-lived and unforgettable classic, Vega Sicilia, known to last decades and decades. Tim Atkin recently opened a bottle of 1948 for his father’s 90th birthday. They soften and deepen, these wines, but they stubbornly resist death.


Merguez sausages, yum !

Many thanks for the notes @Inbar, they’re appreciated as I took a punt on a full case EP !

I also bought a bottle, when it was recently listed, to try which I’m now looking forward to even more after reading your thoughts :+1:

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@Inbar - did you decant this wine?
I found it to be a bit too much on the barnyard side of things for me personally. But you don’t mention anything along those lines such as game, hung meat etc so just wondering if that blew off. My taste was PnP at a BBQ back in the summer.


I just picked up a bottle of 1985 port in a local auction. I won’t be touching it just yet - 1985 is my son’s birth year so it will wait for a suitable occasion with him.

I hope this is as good as yours!


Yes - decanted for nearly 3 hours.

Interesting that you mention barnyard… There was nothing remotely Brett-y about our bottle. There was a gentle smokiness, a bit like bacon perhaps - but nothing in the way of farmyard at all. Strange!


Yes I wondered if air may have helped. Sounds like it was the case.


Got the Christmas countdown started last night with fish pie and these three. The Rontets Pouilly-Fuisse was the standout, definitely a re-buy if it comes back. The Mosel rosé was a first for me. Similar to a good dry Loire rosé in style.


Phew ! Thanks for the update and putting my mind to rest as I find overt Brett-y farmyard notes revolting :woozy_face:

Your decanting advice has been duly noted too.

@winechief sorry to read about your disappointing bottle though. Hopefully none of mine will display the characteristics yours did.


Picked this up from Booths to go with crudités for tea.

It’s been years since I had one of these which always seems a bit of a nostalgic risk but it is as plush and opulent as I remember, and with a familiar pithy acidity it feels like it has the bones to age well.
In other news there is a couple of quid off the Guigal 2018 Cotes du Rhône making it less than a tenner if you buy 6 or more!


Is that the Pellehaut of Armagnac renown, or other?

Tonight with baby back ribs & Japanese Napa cabbage 'slaw* a rather good Barbera 'd’Alba. To be honest it’s a bit expensive for a Tuesday, but its nearly Christmas.

Barbera is one of those grapes I rarely buy; in the glass dark crimson & richly aromatic, velvety smooth on the palate with fresh, almost floral high notes. This is very good indeed.


*Japanese 'slaw is Tsukemono it takes longer to read the recipe than to make it - I barely leave it 30mins to pickle. Super crunchy - had it in a Japanese restaurant in Singapore (it was a free nibble) and cannot understand why it isn’t common here. The Kombu is a ‘nice to have’ but tastes fine without.

And less than a couple of hours later - those are baby back ribs, honest.


An inappropriate choice tonight to celebrate the winter solstice, perhaps…

…a 2016 Albarino from Rias Baixas made by Norrel Robertson. Which was left on its lees for either 24 or 36 months before bottling dependant on what to believe, the label or the TWS notes.

Anyway, a fresh and invigorating nose of nectarine and sea spray. Similarly bracing on tasting with tangy white stone fruit and green apple flavours and plenty of refreshing lees-y / mineral intensity to lift and cut the surprisingly soft textured fruit. The lip smacking finish has decent length too and it should be a good match with this evening’s meal of clam linguine.

All the best everyone.


One of my favourites.
It is full of fruit and spice. There is a school of Burgundian thought that claims stems included in fermentation add a spicy flavour after 3-4 years. I have not checked whether D-F add stems, but my guess is that they do so.
Fruit is gorgeously rich.


Yes, I believe so!

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Just checked their website. The village red is 100% destemmed!
Moral of the story is never rely on my tasting notes…