This year’s Christmas lunch was held in our board room in keeping with these austere times. But there was nothing austere about the wine! The salesteam each generously contributed a magnum from their own cellars, so we had plenty of top quality wines to choose from, and plenty of them.
We kicked off with our beloved Jean-Philippe Fichet’s Meursault Chevalières 2002. This was the star white at our recent Burghound dinner. Two of the cases for the dinner had to be purchased from our MD’s cellar and it seemed only fair that a left-over bottle was put aside until he was around to enjoy it. As delicious as ever – citrus, tropical fruits, vanilla, mineral, honeyed, rounded texture, well balanced.
The Chairman’s first offering was Batard Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 2000. It was quite a kick to taste a wine of this calibre from such a legendary estate. In fact it was a bit young still, with nutty, marzipan flavours, creamy textured, tropical fruits. At this stage everyone was still in good order and well-behaved.
On to the reds – a quintet of Burgundy to go with fillet of venison. Johnny’s second bottle was Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Joseph Drouhin 1999. A very charming wine, although it struggled a little in comparison with the delights that followed. Lots of red cherry flavours, savoury, smoky, mineral.
Then on to a pair of delicious pair from the Managing Director’s cellar. Beaune 1er cru Clos-du-Roi Tollot-Beaut 1999 – dried fruit flavours, plums, damsons, meaty, savoury, almond – and Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Poissenots Geantet-Pansiot 1996 – packed with dark black fruits, spicy, mineral, mouth-filling. Followed by a Chambolle Musigny 1er cru Beaux Bruns Barthod 2001 from Justin our Finance Director (slightly ungiving at this stage, but savoury, with red fruit flavours and a smoky minerality) and the last Burgundy, a Pommard 1er cru Les Pezerolles Hubert de Montille 1996 from Strutty’s Suffolk cellar.
Time to head further south to Bordeaux with James Low’s stylish contribution of Cos d’Estournel 1997. This had been headed home, but it was spotted in the cellar and ear-marked for lunch. We were quite well refreshed by this stage and calling for Claret. This ticked all the boxes – black fruit flavours, cedar, cassis, herbaceous, green pepper, earthy minerality.
And then, a break with tradition heading down to Spain. Mark Robertson our new super salesman brought a magnum purchased from, shock horror, another wine merchant. The Aalto Ribera del Duero 2004 had sweet spice, coconut, vanilla, black fruits. It was however overshadowed by Julian Chamberlen’s Teofilo Reyes Ribera del Duero Riserva 1994 – earthy and herbaceous, sweet spice. Quite delicious.
After lunch we got to work with the camera. A group shot ended in disaster for James Low, who somehow got covered in a glass of something that should really not have been wasted. Perhaps we should take the photo at the start next time…
Classic Christmas games were eschewed to avoid a repetition of the injuries incurred during an excessively competitive round of the cornflake packet game a couple of years ago. Instead a pack of cards from the crackers got put to good use in a game of poker (Peter long-sufferingly explaining the rules to several inebriated novices a number of times) but nobody can now remember who was the fortunate winner of the largest pile of corks.