Xmas drinks 2011: Bubbles
|Clover Hill 2007|
I really didn’t expect for today to become a bubblefest.
I mean obviously there were bubbles around, but fizz was never meant to be the feature of our Xmas day. Heck I had bottles of Chablis, Shiraz and more on the table ready to go, yet very little of it was touched. I personally think that numerous icy cold beers (and some limoncello) may have gotten in the way, but who am I to dictate drinking terms on Christmas day?
Anyway, ’twas (I’m feeling festive, so ’twas is creeping in everywhere) good bubbly times regardless and I had a cracking day. Christmas is my favourite time of year and with a large extended family (who I like) based locally it’s always a food and drink-fest of classic proportions. Love Christmas
The wines (prices are approximate RRPs):
Clover Hill 2007 (Tasmania) 13% $47
A riper year for Northern Tassie and this is a riper Clover Hill, built richer, fuller and more evolved than the previous few vintages. What’s most pleasing to see is how layered, complex and weighty this fizz is, even if I think it’s just a little too broad and sweet/sour for higher points. Actually, when served icy cold this looked classy indeed, and it wasn’t until the Veuve was opened (below) that the wobbly bits became apparent.
Immediately it’s a full, seriously intentioned and Pinot dominant smelling wine this one, with a bottle age thickness and lees derived weight in there that makes this look every bit a vintage Champagne (if an overly young one). That’s backed by a grunty, powerful and thick palate too, let down only by a sweet and sour acid fruit imbalance and slightly broad finish. I can’t fault the power and flavour, but it just needs more detail and a better acid line to satisfay further. Still, quality vino in the scheme of things.
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin NV (Champagne, France) 12% $70
In many ways it’s a waste of time reviewing big house NV Champagne in Australia, mainly due to the ridiculous amount of bottle variation we experience here (which is of little surprise when you find out how much ‘big house’ Champagne is shipped to Australia in unrefrigerated containers and then sits in hot warehouses oxidising away. A situation that is completely ridiculous when you think about the prices of French fizz).
Anyway, said NV lotto delivered a good bottle today, one that looked typically restrained and lean without falling into the apple juice neutrality that sometimes tars Veuve NV (or some batches at least. Sigh). It’s nowhere near as inviting on the nose as the Clover Hill though, a slender and mono-dimensional creature compared to the buxom Tasmanian bubbly.
Where the Veuve pulls ahead though is the palate, which is lighter and more composed, the acidity pulling harder than the Clover Hill though with a natural softness, the finish slipping through with a soft limestone tang. It’s a sweeter wine than the Clover Hill, but that doesn’t stick out, and indeed the final effort is simply pure (and better for it). Quality NV. 17.6/91
Capital Wines ‘The Black Rod’ Sparkling Shiraz 2008 (Canberra) 14% $37
What would Christmas lunch be without a sparkling red? This splurgundy (love that word) is a brand spanking new release from Capital Wines in Canberra, the fruit sourced from Kyeema Vineyard Shiraz and Merlot, blended with a little Murrumbateman Cabernet for balance.
It’s a rich and sweet smelling sparkling red this, the nose carrying an inviting, dosage heavy, curranty sweetness with some spicy, maturing, leathery bottle age notes. Caramel, redcurrant and a spoonful of spice. Lovely. Palate is long and
warm and rich, finishing curranty and liqueured on the finish. It’s perhaps a little spirituous but that’s a minor quibble on what is a pretty satisfying, generous and tasty, spicy, mid-weight and still concentrated. Lovely push-pull of sweetness and spicy fruit. A well judged mouthful of sparkling red. Yes. 17.8/92