Winter Warmer Wines – December 2023

For this tasting we selected wines appropriate to Christmas and/or Winter drinking.  Details of the wines we presented are as follows:

1. Nyetimber Brut Classic Cuvée NV
Region: West Sussex, England
Grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
ABV: 12%
The Wine Society £30.81
Nyetimber’s multi-vintage wine is a full-flavoured, savoury standard-bearer. Predominantly chardonnay alongside Pinots Noir and Meunier, the blend is aged for more than three years on its yeast lees to add extra complexity and class.
Festive food matches: a perfect aperitif or with salmon blinis, potted crab or shrimps, Gougères

2. Saarburger Rausch Kabinett, Zilliken 2020
Region: Mosel, Germany
Grape: Riesling
ABV: 8%
The Wine Society £19.66
Ripe yet steely German Riesling in the Zilliken tradition, balanced by peach, apricot and tropical fruit flavours like mango, and shot through with an enlivening bolt of electricity. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, which helps to preserve the delicate flavours and aromas of the grape.
Festive food matches: as an aperitif, or with fish terrine, roast pork with apples sauce, Asian-spiced Ham hock, roast chicken

3. Allende Blanco Rioja 2018
Region: Rioja, Spain
Grape: Viura (Maccabeau), Malvasia
ABV: 13%
Allende is fast becoming the pinnacle of proper, traditionally made white Rioja. Fermented and aged in oak for over a year, this Spanish white is toasty, nutty and savoury with wonderful texture and grip. Voted one of the Society’s ‘Wine Champions’ in 2023.
Festive food matches: Baked cod, Shellfish Risotto, Roasted Turbot, Salmon en croûte, cheese course (Manchego, Ossau Iraty)

4. Domaines Schlumberger Grand Cru ‘Spiegel’ Pinot Gris Alsace 2021
Region: Alsace, France
Grape: Pinot Gris
ABV: 14%
Majestic £18.99 (or £16.99 mix six)
Domaines Schlumberger is now in its seventh generation of family ownership. ‘Spiegel’ is one of four Grand Cru spots in this part of Alsace, and it’s one of the best Pinot Gris sites in the region. Here, the grapes ripen perfectly under the sun while retaining a balancing freshness and acidity – making for an opulent, complex and elegant wine. There are rich notes of ripe yellow plum, apricot, quince, orange blossom and honey, with a silky, full-bodied texture courtesy of eight months’ careful lees (dead yeast cells) ageing.
Festive food matches: Apricot/prune-stuffed pork or Asian-spiced Belly pork, roast Goose, roast Chicken, Cheese course (Munster, Comté, Beaufort, Appenzeller, Gruyère)

5. Lomond Wines, ‘Phantom’ Pinot Noir, Cape Agulhas, South Africa 2021
Region: Cape Agulhas, South Africa
Grape: Pinot Noir
ABV: 13.5%
Symposium Wines Lewes £19.75
Fragrant aromas of rose petals and oriental spice lead to notes of wild, red-berried fruit and an appealing earthy complexity. Elegant, with beautifully integrated oak, refined tannins and long, silky finish. Elegant, with beautifully integrated oak, refined tannins, and a long, silky finish.
Festive food matches: Nut roast, roast duck with cherry sauce, roast turkey, vegetarian Wellington with mushrooms and chestnuts, Salmon en croûte, cheese course (Époisses, Taleggio, Gruyère)

6. Massaya Terrasses de Baalbeck, Lebanon 2019
Region: Baalbeck, Lebanon
Grape: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre
ABV: 14.5%
The Wine Society £25
A classy blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre from the talented team at Massaya, one of Lebanon’s most progressive wineries. This nods to Châteauneuf-du-Pape with ripe fruit and earthy notes. Generous and substantial from grapes grown at more than 1000-metres above sea level on the foothills of Mount Lebanon.
Festive food matches: Pork pâté, roast lamb, roast beef, Beef or Lamb tagine, Game pie, Roast haunch of Venison, vegetarian Wellington or nut roast, vegetarian Moussaka, cheese course (aged Gouda, Cheddar, Havarti)

7. Montresor Amarone della Valpolicella ‘Satinato’, 2018
Region: Veneto, Italy
Grape: Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara
ABV: 15%
Symposium Wines Lewes £31
Hints of mocha on the nose with ripe, sweet plummy fruit. Black cherry on the palate with a touch of damson and notes of dark chocolate. Rich and warming, well-balanced, with supple tannins and appealing freshness on the finish.
Festive food matches: Grilled red meats, Game stew, Beef Wellington, roast pigeon breast, cheese course (aged Cheddar, Parmesan) or by itself as a Vino de Meditazione…

8. Rutherglen Topaque (multi-vintage)
Region: Rutherglen, Australia
Grapes: Muscadelle
ABV: 17.5%
Quaff Fine Wine, Hove £16.99 per ½ bottle
The aroma has lifted toffee, honey and cold tea characters, which combine to produce the unique character of Rutherglen Topaque. On the palate there are toffee and tealeaf characters with a cleansing hint of spirit and old oak on the finish. The grapes are left until late in the season to achieve optimum ripeness, ensuring maximum fruit flavour and a high degree of natural sweetness.
Festive food matches: by itself as a digestif, Panettone bread and butter pudding, honeycomb ice cream, Dundee cake, with coffee after dinner