Fri 13 Dec 2013

Size Matters: A Festive Magnum


I’ve learned to my not insubstantial cost that the main Christmas meal isn’t the time to get out your very best bottles. There’s just too much going on to really appreciate your most precious, cherished wines.

You pull the cork and, before you know it, someone has slung a quarter of it into the gravy (‘that wasn’t anything special, was it?’), Auntie Mabel has poured herself a large glass to which she has added lemonade ‘to take away the edge’ and the rest has been knocked over by some hyperactive child who has been eating nothing but Quality Streets since dawn. That’s no way to start your annual celebration.

Cavas de Weinert 1997 magnumBut you still want something special; it’s Christmas after all and so much hard work has gone into the food.

Last year, a special sherry did the job, but this year I’m going for a magnum of sublime Argentine elegance and grace: Weinert Cavas de Weinert 1997. It’s not cheap at £49 (for a 1.5-litre bottle, remember) but I still think it is an absolute steal. Now a teenager, the happy marriage of malbec, cabernet sauvignon and merlot is just hitting its stride.

Unlike many of the Mendoza fruit bombs that are about as subtle as an Australian cricketer’s sledge, this is a wine of considerable elegance and refinement. Aged for three to four years in large oak vats, it is soft and mellow with the cedary, leathery flavours of maturity. Tasted blind most tasters would, I’m sure, plump for traditional Rioja or claret rather than anywhere in the new world.

The fact that it is in magnum is an extra bonus. Magnum bottles just look so good on the table. They seem to hold much more than a mere two bottles and are sturdy enough to withstand an onslaught from toffee-fuelled, sprout-avoiding youngsters. Best of all, they are great bottles if you are having your meal away from home. Arriving with two bottles under your arm can cause some hosts to be offended that you didn’t trust them to provide enough to drink or dark mutterings about your drinking problem. Turn up with a magnum and everyone looks at you as a wise and generous guest that they’ll happily feed the last remaining roast spud.

I have my eye on a nice Burgundy I’ve been hoarding to enjoy over some quieter times during the holiday once the kids have gone to bed and the Twister is packed away. But I have to say that the bottle I’m looking forward to most is that big bottle of Argentine elegance.

Paul Trelford
Head Of Copy

Members are reminded that the deadline for guaranteed UK Christmas delivery is this Tuesday (17th December).

For more ideas for festive drinking, visit The Society’s online Christmas shop.

Categories : Rest of the World

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