As usual, the run-up to Christmas was a prolonged period of pandemonium at work and so, by the time the holidays eventually arrived, all plans of elaborate meals and fine wines had been abandoned in favour of simpler family favourites. That’s not to say I didn’t open a couple of reasonable bottles, but only so I had something to write about, you understand.
with a pre-Christmas bird, a magnum of Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2009
(14.0% ABV) certainly helped me to start to unwind and to get into the spirit
of the season. Youthfully deep ruby in colour, its well-defined legs lined my
glass. Red cherry fruit and freshly ground coffee and cocoa aromas on the nose
were rounded off with hints of cassia and clove spice that resulted in a gently
medicinal character. At the fuller end of medium bodied, bright cherry fruit
carried through to the palate complemented by a soft creaminess and gentle
toastiness from the oak. Moderate tannins and firm acidity balanced the
richness; the ground coffee and medicinal spice flavours lent a savoury note to
the long finish. I’d have liked a touch less alcohol - there was a hint of warmth
to the nose and to the finish - but I was probably being hyper critical as
there was certainly no lack of poise and balance. Although the most junior ranking Pinot Noir in the Felton Road hierarchy, Bannockburn gives many premier cru Burgundies a run for their money in the quality stakes. Overall it was a very lovely wine,
possibly a touch awkward as it was beginning to shrug off its
youthful primary flavours, although it will be lovely to drink over the next
three to five years as it matures.
|Felton Road, Bannockburn|
Pinot Noir 2009
Sagrantino Di Montefalco
25 Anni 1997
(cellar damaged label)
Sophisticated, elegant and supremely well crafted, Umbria's often rustic Sagrantino was here sculpted into a truly great wine. Were this one of the bigger names in the canon of Italy's wine grapes, I would normally eschew a modern and rather atypical style such as this in favour of its more traditional brethren. However, as with Malbec in Cahors or with Tannat in Madiran over the last ten or fifteen years, passion and unshakeable belief have been paired with skilful winemaking and judicious use of new oak to tame an unruly local variety whilst highlighting its world class potential. It is wine that I never fail to enjoy. This was no exception, and what better way to round off the holidays, and the year, with a bottle that undoubtedly ranked as one of 2012’s finest?
A merry Christmas to you, dear reader, and my very best wishes for a happy, healthy new year.