What to drink this week

Christmas fizz

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

If you need an ex­cuse to drink Cham­pagne, Christmas cer­tainly qual­i­fies, en­thuses Harry Eyres

Not to be con­fused with the elm-leaf bee­tle, this small, brown stocky in­sect has a lot to an­swer for, namely the an­ni­hi­la­tion of once com­mon elm trees. Fe­males bore into the tree, where they lay eggs in chan­nels they’ve chewed be­tween the bark and the hard wood, al­low­ing the fun­gal spores that bee­tles carry to en­ter and in­fect the ma­jes­tic elm. Si­mon Lester At the fam­ily home in the Chilterns where I spent al­most all my fes­tive breaks un­til 2013, the se­ri­ous busi­ness of Christmas—the eat­ing and drink­ing part—was an­nounced by the pop­ping of a Cham­pagne cork. This tended to be some­thing rather good—tait­tinger Comtes de Cham­pagne Blanc de Blancs or Veuve Clic­quot La Grande Dame—be­cause my wine-mer­chant fa­ther, al­though an athe­ist, had a quasire­li­gious be­lief in good bub­bly.

Why you should be drink­ing it

There doesn’t re­ally need to be an ex­cuse to drink Cham­pagne, but Christmas, when all the joys and some­times ten­sions of a fam­ily come to­gether, is cer­tainly a good one. Prices this year, es­pe­cially if you go up a notch or so from stan­dard non-vin­tage, look re­mark­ably—and per­haps un­re­peat­ably—good.

What to drink

Those sharp-eyed and -nosed buy­ers at From Vine­yards Di­rect have come up with a win­ner in the form of Cham­pagne Ruffin et Fils Cu­vée de Réserve (£19.95; www.fromvine­yards­di­rect. com). This 70% Pinot Me­u­nier grower’s Cham­pagne makes a pos­i­tive, bold im­pres­sion; it’s ex­pres­sive on the nose and full-bod­ied on the palate as well as be­ing great value. Two of the best larger re­tail­ers, Waitrose and Ma­jes­tic, have man­aged to source ex­cel­lent vin­tage Cham­pagne at non­vin­tage prices. Waitrose Brut Spe­cial Réserve Vin­tage 2005 (right, £24.99; www.waitrose.com) is a beau­ti­ful, ma­ture bot­tle with lots of Chardon­nay flo­ral­ity and great length—well worth the ex­tra out­lay. Hei­d­sieck & Co Gold Top Monopole 2009 (£25.99 or £19.99 if you mix six; www.ma­jes­tic.co.uk) is ex­tremely ripe on the nose and full-bod­ied with long, sat­is­fy­ing fresh­ness. For multi-vin­tage com­plex­ity, go for Jac­ques­son Cu­vée 739 (£45; www.bbr.com).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.