Going to the tip is not normally an emotional experience. A hassle? Maybe, a relief to get rid of heaps of clutter? Almost definitely.
However this weekend, car laden up with Christmas tree, heaps of cardboard and the other remains of the last few weeks, it served as a final full stop on the festivities and a return to normal. With it went all the bottles that had accompanied our first home-cooked Christmas and helped it go off with a bang.
The Christmas line up, most of which was consumed on Christmas Day was assembled over the preceding weeks from a variety of shopping trips – the final one being a bottle of Port on Christmas Eve as our guests were on their way. None were break-the-bank expensive – but I was pleased to unearth a couple of real gems.
There were two Macon Villages, good old Chardonnay from Burgundy, both from 2011. The first was a £4.99, Henri de Lorgère – part of the Core range at Aldi. I’d been wanting to try out wines from Aldi for a while because despite the supermarket’s bargain basement image, it has the reputation of having some half-decent booze.
The wine was clean and light – and pleasant enough – although I found it had a slightly sour, lingering aftertaste.
What followed was twice the price, but tasted it, a Louis Jadot, Les Roches Blanches from Majestic (£7.99) a perfect accompaniement for the hot smoked salmon.
There were three reds on Christmas day and the first was really knock-your-trousers-off fantastic.
A Wirra Wirra Church Block, from Australia’s McLaren Vale, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot (£12.49 Majestic) was picked to go with a beef fillet and it was quite simply gorgeous. Smooth, creamy, and full of dark fruits.
I’d have to say that the biggest mistake I made on Christmas Day was not realising that actually there was something left in the bottle before I moved onto the next wine. The second mistake was that when I realised the first mistake, I didn’t gulp it down and enjoy the ill gotten final glass – I gave it to my Dad instead.
There was also a second McLaren Vale red, a Kangarilla Road Cabernet Sauvignon from 2010, one of only two wines I’d tried before and it disappoint. Putting it next to the Wirra Wirra is a bit unfair, but it was in a similar vein, smooth, velvety and with blackberry flavours.
A third red was another Aldi number. a Toro Loco Reserva from 2008, a blend of Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauivnon and Garnacha. It was £4.99 and actually I bought it by mistake. I was looking for the other Toro Loco – the non Reserva one, which had been recommended among The Observer’s top wines for Christmas. This wine I liked. It was very drinkable and for a fiver an absolute bargain.
The dessert wine was another star find – bought on a whim from a small independent shop opened up in St Andrews (it was so new that the shop still smelled of paint as we went in.) The Stump Jump from d’Arenberg – another McLaren Vale wine – a blend of Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon and Pinot Gris. It was a perfect dessert wine, sweet and slightly treacly, without being sickly.
Frankly, I’ve no idea how much it was according to this link it can be obtained for £6.45. It was probably more than that, but it was bought alongside an “interesting Chardonnay”, yet another interesting bottle of whisky and a few other items as Christmas wine-buying fever got a little out of hand.
Last but no means least was a Porto Neipoort Ruby Dum – part of an Alice in Wonderland theme down to the twin bottle of Tawny Dum and a label round the top marked “drink me”. Despite the slight twee (sorry) theme, it was a lovely juicy, rich port that went perfectly with the mountain of cheese brought up from London by my sister.
This is a mere taster of things to come, so here’s to even brighter and better wines in 2013. Prost!