MOVIES & BOOZE: Looking for a good wine for Christmas?

Tomas Clancy reviews Champagne Beaumont de Crayeres Grande Reserve NV and Domaine Gerard Seguin La Justice, AC Gevrey-Chambertin 2014

Moncrieff
14:08 15 Dec 2017 Elaine Power 14:08 Friday 15 December 2017

Champagne Beaumont de Crayeres, Grande Reserve NV

Pricing: €29.99 down from €36.95

Available: Nationwide from O’Briens Wines

With a week to go before Christmas, if there is ever a time for looking towards spending a little more on your wine choice, this of course is that moment. The happiness is that the better wine we have at these festive meals and celebrations of course mean we get the oppurtiunity to share these special wines with our family and friends and if convioviality and 2500 years of wine culture has taught us much, then along with a sense of place, a respect for nature, a reminder of time passing as wiens mature then it is that generosity is its own reward. Both our wines today are fine wines ideal for extending our generosity.

In this first wine we see that we can actually find a really superb wine from Champagne without having to go to the super icon level of rock stars and their Cristal songs and parties, nor even to the well known names like Champagne Moet et Chandon whose Brut NV is now around €53.

Of course vineyards where the grapes are different for each Champagne House and the famous names are so because of how good and well regarded they are for centruies, but it also reflects their high image status too.

So if you are looking for good value in Champagne the place to look is outside the big names to well-run smaller operations, family run wineries or as in Beaumont de Crayeres, a collective made up of small growers near Epernay  . Often these growers supplied the bigger names and now with a sense of adventure they are offering the wines direct themselves. Yes, the image building has not been done, but this is entirely case of , not, judging a book by its cover, but tasting the wine.

In this case a slightly leftfield accentuation of Champagne’s third grape, Pinot Meunier along with 25% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot noir. This 60% Pinot Meurnier gives the wine a distinctive fuller bodied, melting butter on toasted brioche taste. A flavour that other Champagne houses have moved away from to court the Sauvignon Blanc crisp edge palate. This is a truly delicious, amber golden delight and at €20 cheaper than the entry level big names, really worth seeking out this Christmas.

 

Domaine Gerard Seguin, La Justice, AC Gevrey-Chambertin 2014

Pricing: €45

Available: Widely available including from Searsons Wine Merchants, Monkstown Crescent, online at searsons.com local independent Off Licences, selected multiples and specialist wine shops

Irish Wine lovers have fallen in love with the great Pinot Noir wines from every corner of the world, and some of the very best from New Zealand, from Oregon and Chile are now playing in the same field and palate delights as red wine from Burgundy.

Crucially, many at the best value pricings are far superior to what can be found in Burgundy for anything like the same price. So we regularly on Movie and Booze look at €15 or €20 Pinot Noir from say Chile’s Leyda Valley or Marlborough in New Zealand, though as they too become increasingly fashionable those prices are increasing every year too.

At Christmas if there is any argument for pushing the boat out for the big meal then it is an opportunity to go back spiritually to the heartland of Pinot Noir, the northern vineyards of the Cote D’Or, called locally, the Cotes de Nuits.

This is where we find Nuits-St-George the capital of red wine in Burgundy and a wine that until the arrival of the New World wines in Ireland in the 1990s was almost the name for good red wine that wasn’t a Chateauneuf Du Pape, a St.Emilion, a Rioja or a Chianti the red wines before the Celtic Tiger.

Well, the great red wines of the Cotes de Nuits in Burgundy have not gone away, they have simply become a rarer choice, at prices that make them an occasional special event, like Christmas time, wine.

This wine is from the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, about 15mins north of Nuits St George and it contains one of the world’s greatest vineyards, Le Chambertin. In fact the village here was called Gevrey until 1847 when in a very smart early marketing move they voted to attach their name to their most famous asset.

The village is surrounded by brilliant small vineyards, the best on the high slopes near Chambertin, but all of the soils in the appellation enjoy a real sense of glamour from the wines they have been producing for 1600 years, of which we have records.

The Seguin Family have been in Gevrey for centuries and were farmers and in fact horticulturalists. The great grandfather of the current owner, Gerard Seguin, during the Phyloxerra plague which killed almost 90% of the vineyards of Europe in the 1860s and 1870s was instrumental in the salvation of Burgundy by being amongst the first to realise that grafting French vines onto American vine roots would save the vineyards including Gevrey-Chamvertin.

The family run estate has remained small, it is a beautiful, small but perfectly functioning winery and home for Gerard, his wife Chattel and their son, Jerome, now readying to take control, in amongst the vines on the low slopes of the Chambertin hillside. This wine comes from a plot of vines, a climat, called La Justice, the lawyer’s lands, and it produces a very wiry, expressive, linear, savoury and adult wine. This is a wine that has a clean, gorgeous and precise fruit filled bouquet, then a bright lifted cherry and meaty tone, touches of light spice, and a long, savoury and evolving finish.

It is elegance and precision personified and a joy to share with friends and family and a rather brilliant evocation of the clean, neat vines of the impeccably mannered village that is Gevrey-Chambertin today. A superb Christmas treat.