Every Christmas wine box should contain at least two fantastic bottles of fizz and two ravishing reds. Alan Kingsbury makes his 2015 selection from Virgin Wines.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“English Fizz has come of ageÃ¢â‚¬Â says Andrew Baker, head wine buyer at Virgin Wines; and Andrew backs up his belief in English Sparkling Wine by offering some fine examples on the Virgin list.
Henners Brut 2010 (£29.99) is an East Sussex Pinot Noir / Meunier blend made with race-winning precision by ex Formula One auto engineer Lawrence Warr.
Careful handling of the ‘traditional method’ gives an exemplary Champagne style in which deeply embedded memories of English orchard fruits are lifted on a cloud of creamy brioche.
It is a premium traditional blend of predominantly Chardonnay with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
The honeyed citrus fruit and balanced, crisp acidity typify the high quality which is catapulting Engish producers onto the international stage.
And what about the reds?
La TraversÃƒÂ©e, Terrasses du Larzac, France, 2012 (£24.99) is a sumptuously fruited, biodynamic beauty from France’s booming Languedoc region.
The label may be minimalist in style but the wine takes us to the max with its blend of Grenache / Garnacha grapes, aged for eighteen months in fine oak barrels.
The overall effect is of luxurious depth, well worthy of the Christmas table.
The winery is named after it’s own beloved herd of Gloucester Black Spots; and this prize Shiraz, being made from the finest selected grapes, reflects the peak of the maker’s aspirations.
It’s one full-bodied hog.
Ripe black fruits are smoothly delivered over a background of earth and spice and hit the ‘Spot’ with manicured precision.