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Fine Wine Picks for Christmas, Old world vs New World

Jonny from the Majestic Fine Wine Centre recommends a couple of Fine Wines to treat yourself to this Christmas…

Every year I start to think about what I might drink this Christmas not just on the big day, but across the festive season and my yearning for big spicy reds that will warm you up on a cold winter’s night. Surrounded by so many fantastic contenders in the Fine Wine Centre I eventually managed to narrow it down to two wines; a classic Old World Vs New World comparison.

Both made from Syrah – one from it’s traditional roots in the Rhône Valley and the other from Hawkes Bay, the New Zealand region that is on a rapid rise to popularity especially for the grape variety the Aussies call Shiraz. Could be very similar? Far from it!

Hermitage Farconnet Rouge 2007 J.L. Chave Selection

From one of the original artisan producers of Hermitage, Jean-Louis Chave produces this highly impressive Hermitage that combines power with restraint and a touch of elegance. First up is the power of vibrant red and black fruits that burst from the glass giving up front aromas of ripe black cherry and blackcurrant in an uplifting style. The restraint comes from complexity through earthy, meaty, spicy notes that intertwine with the fruit, giving layers of flavour that leave you wanting more. Elegance comes from the appealing, supple tannins that give the wine structure to match up pan-fried calves liver, smoked pancetta and buttery mash.
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Le Sol Craggy Range 2009 Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay

New, exciting– this is a knockout wine with a softer side. Gimblett Gravels is only now being recognized for producing world class Syrahs and this may well be its first superstar. A deep garnet purple colour belies the intensity of fruit that this wine offers up. Blueberry, black cherry and boysenberry give the initial punch that is followed up by hints of liquorice, thyme and black pepper along with subtle floral notes such as violet. Fine ripe tannins, silken texture and a touch of bright acidity give so much more than just a fruity blockbuster but there is no doubting the magnificent concentration of flavours. Slow roasted venison with braised red cabbage would be my idea of Sunday afternoon heaven.

It would be unfair to pick a winner between these two as they both offer so much but in very different ways. Immensely enjoyable now, especially after at least an hour in the decanter, the potential for these to improve and age gracefully over the next 5-10 years is very enticing but I’m not sure they will last in my house.

Jonny is now running the Fine Wine Centre in St. John’s Wood, London where much of our fine wine is distributed from to your local store. Both he and the team in St. John’s Wood are always more than happy to help with any fine wine enquiries you may have alongside the team in your local store.