January Wines of the Month: toasting the New Year
This is my first post of 2015 – Happy New Year! May it be healthy, happy and chock-full of great wine, like these two, my January Wines of the Month.
You might say that the horse has bolted on the fizz front now Christmas and New Year are over, so why am I recommending bubbles? I could say (as is true) that sparkling wines are out-performing other wine sales, so why not replenish stocks. But the simple fact of the matter is that my Wines of the Month are wines which particularly tickled my palate the previous month. In other words, don’t miss this terrific fizz or, for that matter, the Marsanne, a perfect winter white.
Arras Grand Vintage 2005 (Tasmania)
Ed Carr is Australia’s leading light when it comes to fizz. Aged on lies for seven years and with a judicious element of oak-aged liqueur d’expedition, this multi-award-winning wine (Chardonnay 69.2%, Pinot noir 30.8%) demonstrates why. Suffice to say I didn’t hesitate to snap up a case when Oz Wines’ offer dropped into my inbox. It made a most fitting start to Christmas week – rich, very textural (it undergoes 100% malo), yet remarkably fresh with great line and creamy persistence. Wonderful, glancingly pure, cool (golden delicious and strawberry) fruit at its core is spun around with complexing notes of biscuit, nuts, honey and an umami dash of oyster sauce. A sensual, lingering fizz – terrific value at £23.99 or £260/12 bottles at Oz Wines.
Bird On A Wire Marsanne 2013 (Yarra Valley)
I struggled to select which of Caroline Mooney’s highly accomplished Bird on a Wire wines I should pluck for this post, but I reckon this wintry white fits the bill perfectly. A complex perfumed nose with talcy florals and hints of orange blossom and ginger entices. And an even more complex palate – beeswaxy, slightly oily, with honey, calisson, aniseed, fennel and rose and lemon Turkish Delight. It really took me back some 10 years or more to Oddbins Fine Wine and a particularly fine old vine Marsanne which we stocked, Jaboulet Old Vine Marsanne, Domaine Raymond Roure. Though there’s some distracting warmth to finish (it was served too cool), when I go back at the end of the tasting I don’t pick it up and the honey and beeswax notes fly; crunchy perfumed pear too. I suspect its firm structure (a certain stems/skins austerity) will make this an interesting keeper, but it is hard to resist now. A thoroughly intriguing wine that keeps drawing you back to the glass. £33.99 at Naked Wines (£24.99 for Angels)