Wines for Christmas – 2nd November 2014

When we learned that The Wine Society was hosting a tasting in Swansea, we felt that we had little option but to go along and put in a hard evening’s research. Life can be tough at times…

The tasting was organized into 5 sections:

  • Aperitif Wines
  • Party Wines
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day and Beyond
  • And Relax…..

There were twenty wines in all, and we managed to taste eighteen of them. We have posted our detailed notes on all the wines here, but for those of you who just want to know the good stuff, we have picked out our favourites. Some of our choices surprised us. Angela normally prefers Sauvignon Blanc, but on this occasion we had to give the accolade to a Chenin Blanc. Ian is big on Kiwi Pinot Noir, but found he had to pass over the (very good) example on offer because the Bordeaux was exceptional.

Aperitif Wines

ws_montbourgeau Angela loved the Crémant Du Jura Brut, Domaine De Montbourgeau. Beyond a floral aroma, the chardonnay came through on the palate with a fruity taste and a creamy mouthfeel, while the fine mousse and dry finish helped make this wine a lovely aperitif.

Party Wines

ws_schistWe both fell for  A Fistful Of Schist Reserve Chenin Blanc, Coastal 2014. This wine had far more flavour than would be expected for £5.95 a bottle. On the nose we got ‘a spice shop a long way up the breeze’ and on the palate ‘mellow peach stones’. There was a much better mouthfeel than would be expected from a typical Chenin Blanc. A very impressive wine for the price.

Christmas Day

ws_senejacIf you are looking for a lighter red to go with Turkey, the Seresin Pinot Noir covered in the detailed tasting notes is a pretty decent wine. But Ian chose the Château Sénéjac, Haut-Médoc 2005 to receive our top honours for this tasting. Angela relished in Tayberries on the nose, while Ian found old leather and cedar. On the palate we both agreed on a lovely deep fruitiness (blackberries and blackcurrants) balanced by mellow tannins. The satisfying dry finish completed a wonderful drinking experience. This wine provides everything you would expect from a good claret.

ws_rutherglenOur second pick of the Christmas Day selection was the Stanton And Killeen Rutherglen Muscat, 12 Years Old. On the nose Ian relished in ‘Rum and raisins and all things nice,’ while Angela had ‘Rum, raisins and fruits in brandy.’ Angela describes it on the palate as ‘warm and comforting – gives you a massive hug – delicious.’ And Ian’s take on the finish: ‘long, long, long…’

A great wine for Christmas pudding.

Boxing Day and Beyond

ws_ex_riojaThe stand out favourite in this category has been a big favourite of ours for some time. The Society’s Exhibition Rioja Reserva 2007. This wine is made for the society by La Rioja Alta (if you are not a member you should be able to find a similar wine from the original producer). On the nose we found old dusty leather. While on the palate we detected vanilla and blackberry perfectly balanced with smooth tannins. If you like Rioja in the traditional style, you will find no better example than this.

And relax…..

ws_tawnyAn appropriate category, because by this stage we were so relaxed that we only managed to taste one of the wines. So,  The Society’s Exhibition Tawny Port, 10 Years Old gets our award on account of it being a very nice example of tawny port. And if this seems rather light on detail, perhaps you could bear with us as a certain amount of ‘palate fatigue’ had set in by this time.

We ended the session with a very entertaining conversation with a lady that lectures on prehistoric cooking. As a result, we have a mutton recipe that looks interesting and we hope to feature this in a future blog post.

To finish the evening we gradually meandered up St. Helen’s Road towards the centre of Swansea, hoping to find nourishment. We were fortunate to come across Rose Indienne  an Indian ‘fine dining’ restaurant.

batak_rajaIan ordered the Batak Raja made with duck breast marinated in ground spices. The dish came with a creamy sauce that was not too spicy. Angela had the Chicken Pathia, which was good. There’s not the usual detail here we know. Palate fatigue can be a killer…

But we liked the restaurant and we would definitely like to return again.

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