Fizzy lunch and a Graillot
Continuing with our Christmas series of social engagements, today we had a really enjoyable family lunch with my parents and three siblings, plus my aunt, uncle and their kids, plus all the various sprogs. Quite a crowd in all, and it was good to see everyone. Cheerful mild chaos.
Brother-in-law Beavington was in good form and pulled out some magnums of Champagne - Drappier NV and Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. There's something special about drinking from magnum. As well as it being the best format for ageing wine, it just feels kind of generous and life-loving and a bit extravagant to be pouring a 1.5 litre bottle. The Ruinart Blanc de Blancs magnum, with its clear glass, looked particularly gorgeous (pictured above, on the table). The wine was really good, too.
At home this evening, I'm using the decanter again. The wine is Graillot's 1998 Crozes Hermitage. To be honest, I prefer Graillots Crozes to many Hermitages. They offer the essence of Northern Rhone Syrah, complete with edges and definition and personality. They can be quite challenging wines, though - the 1998 is an example of this. The last of nine bottles I purchased some time ago, this is still alive but was nicer a couple of years ago. There's high acidity, a bit of austerity on the palate, some green olive meaty notes and a bit of violetty perfume. The overall impression is a very savoury one, and I reckon this is definitely best with food, where it would excel with fatty meat, game, rich meaty stews or something a bit off-piste, like moussaka. A bottle that has been stored in pristine conditions might show a little better than this one, but I'd drink up soon if you have any. The most recent vintages of this wine that I've tried, the 2003, 2004 and 2005 have all been excellent.