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Wines added pleasure to a year of no travel, no restaurant visits

The normal thing to do now would be to offer a few inexpensive wines as, even in the best of times, we rather overspend In December and are now on a tighter budget.

As I took some time suggesting “holiday wines” at the end of 2020, I have decided instead to just give an accurate report on what took place in our home.

It is 7.30 in the morning of December 24 and I am placed third in a socially-distanced and masked long line of folks waiting for the fishermen to set up shop near the southern roundabout on Trimingham Hill. I get my two lobsters for that evening and head home.

A great nephew had recently given us a bottle of 2017 Remoissenet Meursault and it had been sitting in our fridge waiting to pair with a rare lobster treat. After all, this wonderful rich chardonnay is so perfect with lobster baked with a topping of melted butter, lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese and a dusting of paprika.

Ten minutes to go and so the cork is extracted and I pour a taste in a perfect chardonnay glass and gasp in surprise at its bright red colour! Only 4 per cent of their Meursault production is pinot noir and it never occurred to me that this was an example of red Meursault, a wine that I had only ever had a few times in my life. The dark glass and lack of any blanc or rouge indication on the label had not helped. Never mind as we quickly placed a bottle of 2017 Stags Leap Winery Chardonnay (Stock #6340; $48.45 – 95 points James Suckling) in the freezer and all was lovely. You may find 2018 in our stores now and this garnered 93 from Suckling. Stay tuned for a red version report.

It is now Christmas dinner time and I know that I wrote about an anticipated duck with suggested wines; in truth the bird is still in the deep freeze and the two of us enjoyed a small rib roast of beef instead. We were fortunate to be on the receiving end of a few very special wines as a gift and decided that one of them, 2010 Good Times, Bad Times from The World’s End in Napa Valley would be a fine match.

Wine Enthusiast rates it 94/100 and comments: “Brambly and spicy red and black fruit mark this mighty cabernet sourced from the famed To Kaloon Vineyard in the heart of Oakville. Despite its name it offers only good times, a well-composed, unabashedly hedonistic taste of juicy ripe Napa fruit and overtly lush tannins.” It was indeed glorious to experience on Christmas Day. $152 (Stock #6012).

New Year’s Eve and there is salmon to be baked in the oven and of course the Meursault rouge, not used on Christmas Eve, had been re-corked and would amply suffice for our favourite marriage of salmon and pinot noir. This time however, the chef had altered the game plan and, instead of just the usual lemon juice, fine olive oil, Bermuda honey, selected spices and white wine, she had decided to use white vermouth and, also create a panko crumb crust. Her opinion is that it may overpower the pinot. No worries as, alongside two balloon glasses revealing the rich pinot noir cherry, raspberry, mushroom, violet and vanilla, we now had two fine glasses of 2012 Domaine de Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du Pape. It just seemed the right thing to do as we were aware of how the oils in seafood react with the tannins found in cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec to create an unpleasant metallic taste. Why the Rhone varietals in the Chateauneuf worked I am not sure, but they certainly did.

Here is what Parker feels about this wine: “94/100. One of my favourite wines, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Réservée is a classic. Beautiful on the nose, with notions of ground pepper, wild herbs, minerality and smoked plum and dark fruit, it’s medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and has plenty of tannin that comes through on the finish. Similar in style to a lighter-weight 2010, drink this beauty anytime over the coming 12 to 15 years.” $78.85 (Stock #6035). The 2017 Remoissenet Meursault rouge is $62.45 (Stock #5913). I should mention that we used one of those inexpensive pumps to remove about 85 per cent of the oxygen from the unfinished bottles and so they were fine a couple of days later.

It is now Sunday, January 3 and we are about to enjoy “football food” as our Green Bay Packers, as they have done for over one hundred years, take on their arch-rivals, the Chicago Bears. It is suggested that a simple red will be appropriate with slow-roasted pork spareribs, baked beans, Bermuda corn and coleslaw made with red and regular cabbage, grated carrots and raisins.

I think of the last visit we had with the family of my wife and how the temperature never crawled above 15F for those few bone-chilling days just outside of Green Bay. I need a full-bodied, heart-warming wine and so pour us tastes of CUNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2011. It seems to jump out of the glass and embrace me with a soul-warming, perfectly balanced hug.

Here is how the Wine Enthusiast felt about this Spanish blend of 85 per cent tempranillo, 10 per cent graciano and 5 per cent mazuelo: “97/100. This is a fabulous gran reserva from a very good but lightly heralded vintage. Aromas of spiced plum, black olive, fig, tobacco and cassis come together like a puzzle. A deep, pure palate shows near-perfect balance, while this tastes of plum, berry fruits and earthy spice. Smooth, elegant and chocolatey on the finish, this delivers all one can ask for from Rioja. Drink through 2035.” $80.05 (Stock #9735).

What a way to finish with the Packers winning 35 to 16 and becoming the top seed team for the season. The wines and food added so much pleasure as we wrapped up a year of no travels and no visits to our favourite restaurants. I so much wish that we make all the difficult but needed decisions this year and heal our island and our world.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

Michael Robinson enjoyed CUNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2011 and slow-roasted pork spareribs as he watched the Green Bay Packers take on the Chicago Bears last Sunday

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Published January 08, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 06, 2021 at 1:47 pm)

Wines added pleasure to a year of no travel, no restaurant visits

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