This was our Xmas get-together – we tasted a delicious selection of wines that would be suitable for a Xmas Party………….and of course some fabulous seasonal food to accompany them.

1)Brut, (Chardonnay/Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier),  Domaine Chandon,  Yarra Valley, Australia, NV

A pale lemon wine with aromas of pear, biscuit and toast. Dry with medium to high acidity, light–medium bodied with a light intensity palate of pear, toast, citrus it had a delicate mousse (the effect of the bubbles in your mouth) finishing in a medium length.

Price Category: III      Rating: …………..

The majority of the group thought the wine belonged to Price Category II and therefore we cannot recommend at its current price which is just slipping into III (sorry DC!)

2) Tradition Grand Cuvéé, (Chardonnay/ Pinot Noir), Mansard,  Champagne DOC, France, NV

Pale lemon in colour, aromas of hay, quince, spicey pear, toasty, a little resinous? Dry with medium to high acidity, light to medium-bodied. A palate of cooked spicey pear, marzipan, almonds, and toasty, toasty, toasty. A medium to long finish with very smooth and creamy mousse.

Price Category: V      Rating: Fabulous

Well we loved it. This is not the standard Brut from this Champagne house but one of their special cuvee or blend. It is very elegant and has much finesse – a real treat.

3) Oyster Bay, (Chardonnay), OB Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2010,  MYR80

A medium lemon coloured wine. Vegetal aromas, citrus too along with stone fruit, honey and vanilla and even floral notes which we couldn’t pin down and ended up describing as sandalwood. A dry wine with medium acidity, medium-bodied and an intriguingly complex palate of citrus, ruby grapefruit, nectarine, honey and vanilla. This is however the only hint that the wine may have had a little exposure to oak. A fabulous fusion of refreshing and mellow notes. It has a medium to long finish.

Price Category: III     Rating: Absolutely Fabulous

The great thing about blind tasting is that you really TASTE the wine. We probably thought we knew all about Oyster Bay – turns out we didn’t. This was a real surprise and a very firm favourite for the the evening. It really impressed us. It is on the cusp of price category 2 but we voted it smack bang in category 3. Well done OB.

 4) Brut Rosé, (Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier), Mansard, Champagne DOC, France, NV

A salmon coloured wine, aromas of wild strawberries, redcurrants, rosehips (remember them) yeasty and toasty – all of those signs of a real champagne. Dry, medium acidity, light-medium body, flavours of rosehip, peardrops, yeast, forest fruit yoghurt, with a delicate and creamy mousse. Finishing with a medium length.

Price Category: V     Rating: Good but……….

This split the group – it only just falls into category V but clearly not all of us thought it necessarily belonged there……………

 5) Isole e Elena, (Sangiovese), Isole e Elena, Chianti Classico DOCG, Italy, 2009,  MYR95

A medium ruby wine, aromas of black cherry with spiciness incuding cloves and black pepper and some chocolatey notes (promising). Dry with medium-high acidity. Medium tannin levels that are not harsh. Light to medium body. A palate of black cherry, cloves, a chocolate lusciousness, liquorice and almond in the background. A lovely long finish.

Price Category: III     Rating: Very Good

This wine has style. It even improved over the course of the evening and went very well with the food – Yum!

6) The Musician, (Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz), Majella Wines, Coonawarra, South  Australia, 2010, MYR69

A deep ruby wine, black cherry, plum and damson aromas with some minerality along with medicinal notes. The palate is elegant, velvety, the fruits follow through from the aroma as does the medicinal nature but eucalyptus is probably a better description. Then you get chocolate and tobacco coming into the picture ending with a medium – long finish.

Price Category: III     Rating: Absolutely Fabulous

Only one of us thought it belonged in this price category – the rest expected it to be in the higher bracket! Can’t ask for anything more than that, sophistication, complexity and very affordable.

Food and Wine Matching:

Cranberry & Soy-glazed Cocktail Sausages, these have a chilli kick to them and worked very well with the spiciness in the red wines, the sparkling wines were able to cope nicely too.

Quiche of Many Colours, the high acidity in the majority of wines was a good match for the ingredients here. The Chardonnay in particular matched the savouriness of the quiche.

Christmas-spiced Chocolate Cake, yes it is another chocolate dessert but yet again it went well with these reds.

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