Wine lends itself to a fair number of preconceived notions, especially when it comes to the right way (and time) to enjoy it. If you’ve been holding onto wines because there never seems to be a right place and a right time, the place is here and the time is now. If people use the last day of a calendar year to party like there’s no tomorrow, it’s certainly enough of an excuse for you to pop those bottles you’ve been eyeing for so long.
The toughest wines for me to open are bottles from my absolute favourite producers. But if the people you are with on New Year’s Eve are special go ahead, open these wines and share the story of why you love them. There is nothing quite like sharing those bottles with loved ones.
Sometimes, specific vintages are special to us, and we hold onto them for many reasons. Unless you are holding long-ageing wines for a milestone birthday or anniversary, remember that the vintage will always be important to you no matter when you drink it. So go for it, ring in 2018 by recalling some of your best memories.
But what to choose to open this New Year’s Eve (or for any upcoming celebration)?
N/V Drappier Carte D’or Brut
The Carte d’Or cuvée is 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay and10% Meunier. With its very high proportion of Pinot Noir, this light yellow, sparkling has a fine aromatic richness and aromas of stoned fruits such as white vineyard peach, red apple and ripe melon. This Champagne has a lovely complexity that is powerful on the palate and has a characteristic note of quince jelly. (€45, French Depot)
N/V Ruinart R Brut
The very essence of the Ruinart taste, Ruinart R de Ruinart enchants with its beautiful proportions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, allied with a small quantity of Meunier, creating a remarkably balanced wine. The Chardonnay provides finesse and freshness, the Pinot Noir richness and intensity. Elegant and fruity, it offers a harmonious combination of roundness and persistent finish. (€51, La Maison du Vin)
N/V Laurent Perrier L-P Brut
The colour has a pale golden hue, with fine persistent bubbles. Laurent-Perrier Brut L-P is the standard bearer for the house style of Laurent – Perrier. Crisp, fresh and elegant, the nose is fresh and delicate showing good complexity with its hints of citrus and white fruits matched by bright lemon zest flavours and limestone severity. The fine bubbles add to the clean sensation of the finish. It’s spicy, tight and formidable. (€37, ΚΕΟ)
N/V Canard-Duchêne Cuvée Léonie
It produces a lively style that is fresh and yet satisfying. Medium straw, light yellow in colour, steady beads, a triumphant aroma of fresh apples, light yeast and brisk mineral, medium bodied, bright and sassy on the palate, dry with very good acidity, well balanced with bright tart flavours. (€34.90, Bottles)
Moet Brut Imperial Rose
The blend is mostly Pinot Noir and Meunier, including 10% red wine for colour, chardonnay accounts for 10 to 20%. It displays a pink colour, with amber highlights. The bouquet exudes red fruit: wild strawberry, raspberry and red currant, rounded out by the fleshiness and firmness of peach and the freshness of a subtle note of mint. (€45, Photiades Distributors)
2017 Kir Yiannis Akakies, Sparkling rosé, Greece
A semi-sparkling from Xynomavro grape with bright, moderate cherry colour. Brisk and sophisticated nose with red fruit flavours, such as cherry and strawberry jam, while in the background some vegetal characters related to the typical aromas of the variety. In the mouth the wine is medium-bodied while the acidity balances the off-dry character of the wine and the taste is fruity with a slight sweetness. (€12.90, Cava Dionysion)
2012 Nico Lazaridi Magic Mountain, PGI Drama, Greece
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, complex and compelling, this generous wine reflects the diversity of Drama. On the nose vibrant layers of red and black fruit mingle with hints of violet, dried herbs, black licorice and graphite. The flavours echo the aromas with lovely black currant and liquorice elements supported by firm, impeccably balanced tannins and an excellent structure. Good acidity helps to carry the juicy dark fruit notes through a long satisfying finish. (€22, Vassos Eliades)
2014 Bodegas Bilbainas Vina Pomal, Centenario, Crianza, Rioja DOCa, Spain
An intense cherry red colour from the Tempranillo grape. This Spanish wine is very clean and lively, which denotes its youth. Fresh, fruity and balanced, with very expressive blackberry and strawberry jam. Oak barrel aromas provide depth and character, wrapped with sweet notes. On the palate it is soft, very wide and expressive. Both complex and elegant with fruity sweet wood notes on the finish. (€10.90, Bottles)
2013 Marques de Caceres MC, Rioja DOCa, Spain
This Tempranillo red grape shows density; it is lively and lucid with supple aromas of fresh orchard fruit, black cherry, plum, espresso and black olive mingling over firm tannins and balsamic acidity. Fruit forward and round on the palate, it stays balanced and focused through a smoky finish. (€40, Spectus)
2010 Château Reynon Denis Dubourdieu Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux, France
Red garnet colour, great intensity of a classic Bordeaux fruit on the nose engaging with aromas of kirsch, blackcurrant, cassis, dark cherries, liquorice and spices. On the palate the fruit dominates, carried by a beautiful freshness. The wine is clean and balanced with tight tannins, a crisp, fresh style. (€25, Oinotria)
2015 Penfolds Max’s Shiraz, South Australia
Deep, black purple, this new wine from Penfolds offers pronounced plum preserves, blueberry pie and blackberry tart notes with underlying licorice and dark chocolate hints. Medium to full bodied with solid backbone of ripe tannins and lively acid cutting through the concentrated black fruit flavours. It finishes with persistent pepper, anise and spice box notes. (€24, La Maison du Vin)
2012 Boutari Grand Reserva, PDO Naousa, Greece
Splendid purple red colour with aromas of strawberry, cherry and rose in combination with fine vanilla notes from oak maturation of the Xynomavro grape. Although still youthful the wine’s aromatic power and tannic structure reveal strong character and great ageing potential thanks to an outstanding vintage. (€14, Photiades Distributors)