Welcome to the December edition of the l’Art du Vin wine club!
As is often the case, our year is ending with a flurry of activity. Our team will be working all week to ensure that our customers are all topped up and prepared for a busy festive period. If you still have some wine requests that we can help you with then please do get in touch with me directly – firstname.lastname@example.org
I do really love Christmas. There is something so special about slowing down, taking time to cook and eat well with family and, of course, open a couple of great wines to enjoy.
Sourcing the perfect bottle for Christmas Day can be a challenge – sometimes the anticipation is hard for the wine to live up to. My recommendation is to get some crowd pleasers in for the day itself and save those special bottles for other occasions over the next couple of weeks. I personally love opening something great on Boxing Day – expertly paired with Christmas dinner leftovers of course!
For this month, the club selection is a greatest hits compilation of wines that I think fall into that crowd pleasing category. All of them are great gastronomic options but are equally at home when being enjoyed on their own. I hope that they go down as well in your household as they do in mine.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. We never take it for granted and it is a true pleasure putting together this selection for you each month. Next year I would love to develop the concept of the wine club a little further. In order to do that, it would be great to receive any feedback that you may have. I would love you to get in touch so that we can mould the club to include your ideas.
I hope that you have a wonderful festive period and all the best for a happy and healthy 2024!
‘Bulle d’O’, Blanquette de Limoux, Château Canet Brut, France NV
Château Canet is a family run wine and olive domaine in the appellation of Minervois. Winemaker and owner Floris Lemstra tends to his 45 hectares estate following the principles of Terra Vitis, promoting sustainability throughout his vineyard. In order to further boost the ecosystem across his land, Floris maintains a 3 hectare olive grow alongside a vast wild pine forest.
Sparkling wine was produced in Limoux by the monks of the abbey of St-Hilaire long before it was in the Champagne region. It uses the same production method as Champagne, with a second fermentation taking place in the bottle.
Floris’ Bulles d'O Blanquette de Limoux is packed with fresh white fruit flavours before a soft creamy palate. Produced using 90% Mauzac, 5% Chardonnay and 5% Chenin Blanc, it really is an excellent example of the quality that can be found in regional French sparkling wines – culminating in a refreshing, long and pithy finish.
Ideal as an aperitif but also pairs well with fresh seafood or shellfish. Additionally, it is a dream match with fried chicken, fish tacos or moules-frites!
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Grillo, Feudo Arancio, Sicily, Italy 2022
This modern-style estate is based on the windy south coast of Sicily. It encompasses two distinct vineyard areas, with plots in Sambuca di Sicilia in the west and Ragusa in the east. The team cultivate a range of indigenous grape varieties, which are all vinified separately before any blending takes place. This result is a range of wines that offer excellent value for money and show true varietal character.
Tropical notes of mango and papaya combine beautifully with hints of jasmine and acacia flowers. Refreshing, yet oppulently textured, this Grillo offers real pleasure and an elegance rarely seen in this variety.
Think of Grillo as a fuller, fleshier alternative to Pinot Grigio. With that slight herbal note and bright acidity, it acts as the perfect foil to seafood, veggie recipes or pasta dishes.
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Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Merlot ‘Releaf’, Imbuko, Western Cape, South Africa 2020
We have always been proud of our ‘micro FairTrade’ label, Cannonberg, that we produce in conjunction with our friends at Imbuko estate in the Western Cape. In recent years, we have also added their Releaf project to our range.
Their ‘Releaf’ wines symbolise the true meaning of sustainability and harmony within nature. Sustainable agriculture is used in order to cultivate 100% hand harvested, organically grown grapes that are used to produce two separate cuvées. Every effort has been made to ensure this wine is as eco-friendly as possible, down to the fact it is packaged using partially recycled glass and is labelled with recycled paper and sustainable ink.
Similarly to our Cannonberg venture, a portion of the proceeds of the Imbuko Releaf wine goes towards supporting the Imbuko Schools Support Project – through which the estate supports a number of children in education by funding scholarships to local schools.
Dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and backed up with Shiraz and Merlot. An elegant wine offering intense blackberry and cassis flavours leading to a finish with vanilla spices. It is a big, rich powerful and spiced number that offers excellent value for money.
This is crying out to sit alongside some red meat. Alternatively, pair with some aged cheese for a match made in heaven.
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Malbec ‘Festivo’, Bodegas Monteviejo, Mendoza, Argentina 2022
The estate is located at the foot of the Andes in the heart of the Uco Valley, and is owned by the Péré Vergé family.
Having been winemakers in France for generations, they set up their Argentine estate in the 1990s, having fallen in love with the potential of the Mendoza region.
Situated in the village of Vista Flores, the vines range in altitude from 1000m to 1200m above sea level, the overwhelming majority of which are located on northern or eastern facing slopes. This gives the grapes better exposure to the Southern Hemisphere sun, aiding the ripening process.
A red with silky and round texture and lots of dark fruits and hints of walnuts. Chocolate too. Full body, with beautiful fruit. Wonderful quality, pure Malbec character.
This is a real crowd pleaser – delicious with or without food. Goes well with steak, venison and roasted pork. A must with earthy dishes.
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