The last three days of Christmas…


Call me unromantic, but surely it feels like a done deal now? If my true love had done this well I would be tempted to let him off the last three days of presents. So I am going to cheat and use the last three days of Christmas to look ahead at the months to come.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me a table of ten at the next Goedhuis wine dinner. In fact the next wine dinner we are holding is a Riesling extravaganza with the extrovert Ernie Loosen at the end of February. However it is a small affair, just thirty guests, so no tables of ten there.

The next large scale affair is planned for the very end of April to tie in with the Bordeaux 2008 vintage. It is a surprisingly tricky matter to pin down our French friends and agree specific dates and wines. Which makes it a case of watch this space.

However, a couple of things are certain – in the current dismal economic climate this is not going to be a £500 First Growth blow out – the chateaux we are talking to are serious and well-loved, but will ensure that a sensible price point is possible. And we will not be compromising on quality, quantity or entertainment.

As always we will be having a pre-dinner tasting of ten to twelve wines across a good range of vintages and then six or seven fully mature wines with dinner. This seems to us about the right number to give a proper feel for an estate, changes that have taken place over the last couple of decades, current style and so on, without overwhelming all but the most serious guests.

We have heard on the grapevine that the wine does not necessarily flow freely at some of our competitors’ wine dinners. I can say in absolute confidence that there will be no shortage of wine at our events. We would probably get into terrible trouble with the responsible drinking people, and don’t reccomend consumption of this variety or volume as a nightly occurrence, but it is a wine dinner and there will be plenty of delicious wine.

Finally we will not blind you with science. Either the chateaux owner or wine maker will always be on hand to introduce the wines and provide a bit of context and history. However, we mostly let you get on with tasting and enjoying the wines. Dates and details will be confirmed wiuthin the next few weeks.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glasses, so that I will still have ten when I have inevitably broken one…..

Reams have been written about the correlation between glass shape and the tasting experience. There is no doubt that it is more enjoyable to drink wine in good glasses, but at what price? Hand-made glasses do seem an extraordinary extravagance, so the Riedel Vinum range is a perfect halfway house. Extremely serious but it is not a domestic disaster if the odd one gets broken. As they do in my house.

And finally, on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve bottles of 2007 Burgundy. Many of us are feeling a distinct tightening of the purse strings. If previous years saw a purchase two or three cases of En Primeur Burgundy, it is still definitely worth buying at least one case. But it does make the decision harder.

If it could be absolutely any twelve bottles I would go for a pair of Cathiard six packs – Nuits St Georges 1er Cru Murgers (£290 IB per six) and Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Reignots (£340 IB per six). I fell in love with Sylvain’s wines in Burgundy – they have a quite extraordinary purity and flavours which burst out of the glass. Sadly, I am far from the first to spot this and unsurprisingly the prices reflect this. We get tiny quantities and they are heavily heavily allocated.

So my real twelve bottles will be a case of the Volnay 1er Cru Champans (£325 IB per 12) from the wonderful Jean-Pierre Charlot at Domaine Joseph Voillot.

I can’t better Robin’s tasting note – so here it is: A sexy little number, the 2007s Champans is seductive with intermingled spicy and sweet fruit and a succulent core. Curvy yet finely delineated. It finishes on subtle “˜sauvage’ characters. What a vixen.

With Twefth Night upon us that ends all things Christmassy and catapaults us into the New Year. The much-delayed launch of our website is imminent. Look out for our Bin End and Clearance Sale in the coming weeks. And save the date in your diary for our Portfolio tasting on March 17th at the Saatchi Gallery. Until then, happy drinking and Happy New Year.