I hope that you and the family are well and have enjoyed as good a Christmas as circumstances allowed. These are, of course, extraordinary times, but the more I speak to my friends around the world, the more we all cling to every possible ray of sunshine and optimism. In my case, as you are well aware, those rays to tend to emanate from vines!
Fortunately, irrespective of the pandemic and its accompanying chaos, wine continues to evolve! The wonderful “vignerons” continue their marvellous work and “ les vignobles” remain hives of activity. And this has been quite some year! Sadly, much of their production has not made it to the usual range of weddings, parties, and tastings, but they have flourished in quieter settings.
I have greatly missed travelling to meet my clients, but I have taken advantage of the hiatus to reflect and to taste a wide range of wines. There is no doubt that I have had the great pleasure of organising the delivery of some truly exceptional wines. A friend recently asked me to name my top three wines. I’m sure I am not alone in finding that next to impossible!
It’s akin to asking a voracious reader to name his or her three favourite books. Each is so different and has such contrasting strengths that I shy away from making such a list. So, what I have done is to narrow down a list of three, which I still have in stock – meaning that if you would like to keep your spirits up during this bleak mid-winter, I can promise delivery within 48 hours irrespective of Brexit, Covid or anything else that is thrown at us!
The first wine is from Bordeaux. A Saint-Émilion Grand Cru from the sustainable vineyards of Château Condat. It is no secret that many of the finest restaurants in Paris already have it on their lists, but it can be hard to source.
Its powerful structure and deep flavours are typical of the best wines from this famous appellation – I am thrilled to have some available and proud to say we served it at our daughter’s wedding. It’s powerful structure together with it silky concentrated flavours are typical of the best wines from this famous appellation and I am thrilled to have some available.
The second wine takes us to Santenay in Burgundy and “les vignobles” of Justin Girardin. This vineyard has been producing sensational wine since 1750, and none more so than this current elegant fruity well balanced Santenay “Vieilles Vignes”. The greatest compliment is to confirm I served it this year on Christmas day!
Last, but no means least, on this very exclusive list is a Châteauneuf-du-Pape produced by Alain Jaume at Domaine Grand Veneur. All the family’s wines are wonderful, benefiting from low yields to maximise quality and this vintage has a particularly rich, smooth texture and a long lasting finish – to drink now or lay down.
Finishing there fills me with guilt, as I could write all week about many more exquisite labels in my cellar, including Champagne. These are true “Knockouts”. Each is nurtured by people who share an extraordinary passion for what they do; not just the wine itself, but the process that leads us there. And I have to admit that sitting here in recent days, I have raised a quiet glass to “les vignerons” whose efforts never sway and whose focus never wavers, irrespective of events around them.
I know I am not alone in hoping that we will soon return to the world we knew before, jumping on planes, attending events and sharing our love of the grape together.
In the meantime, I am always happy to chat, consult and deliver! I wish you and yours a happy and healthy New Year!