This year I spent the Easter weekend at home with the family, chatting, drinking, eating and taking Bailey, my daughter’s little dog for walks. The television was not switched on even once and no one missed it. Here are the wines that were uncorked:
1. Manzanilla Solear, Barbadillo – in half bottles that can be finished easily and not kept for days losing freshness. It is a perennial favourite of the family, well chilled and drunk as an aperitif out of copitas (the perfect aperitif next to champagne!) with salted Spanish almonds, chorizo and Padrone peppers lightly fried in olive oil and sprinkled with liberal amounts of sea salt. I am never without a fresh bottle in the fridge. Light, slightly tangy and wonderful!
2. Champagne Théonot NV – remnants of several cases bought at the winery in Reims two years ago after tasting with Stanislas Théonot one evening. Made with all three champagne varietals, it is a pleasant but one dimensional wine which had not gained much from the two years it spent in bottle after release.
3. Champagne Grand Cellier D’Or 2006, Vilmart – This was absolutely magnificent – fresh, rich and creamy and a joy to drink. It is a blend of all three champagne varietals and like Krug, fermented and aged in oak. I drank them out of delicate Vilmart champagne goblets that affable Laurent Champs gave me during one of my many visits to Vilmart over the years. Sadly, I have only two bottles of the 2006 left. I decided to visit him in October when I am in Champagne next, hoping to get hold of some of his 2008s. I sent him an e-mail the next morning.
4. Hunter’s Sauvignon Blanc 2014 – I like Jane Hunter’s wines and there is nothing wrong with this example – crisp and full of pyrazines but nowadays, I find it hard to get excited about anybody’s Sauvignon Blanc. It went perfectly well though with a goat’s cheese salad.
5. Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2013 – This is another classic. I prefer it to Ken Forrester’s FMC and buy almost every vintage from Enotria. It is crisp and rounded with a wonderful mouth feel.
6. Torres Milmanda Chardonnay 2005 – This was my last bottle of Milmanda and I probably kept it too long. It was golden yellow in colour and had a musty smell. However, after decanting it leafing open for about half an hour, the wine smelt good and tasted fine with grilled chicken. I feel Milmanda is best drunk at 5 years.
7. Fleurie 2011, Julien Sunier – A wine I bought with great expectations from this celebrated producer but so far it has failed to deliver. It was not a good match for the guinae fowl I tried it with.
8. Badia A Passignano 2001, Antinori – A great wine from a great producer in a fantastic vintage, bought following a visit to the Estate during the last wine tour of Tuscany. Soft, harmonious and still drinking beautifully. I am glad I still have another case!
9. Mount Horrocks Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – From the stock I bought from Liberty Wines after tasting the wine for the first time with producer Stefanie Toole at a Hotel du Vin tasting dinner in Harrogate. Beautiful wine, perfect with roast lamb.
10. Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2011 – Brilliant dessert wine from Stephanie Toole in half bottles, sipped on its own.