This year, I intend going magnum where possible on Christmas Day. See below for the plan, and please excuse the poor image.


Bollinger Special Cuvée (Magnum)

For many years, I received a magnum of Bollinger every Christmas from the late Pat Byrne, a friend and colleague in the wine trade. He is greatly missed. The magnum was my fee giving a wine talk to the members of the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, a very nice bunch of people. I would put the magnum away for a year, sometimes two, before opening it up on Christmas morning. This is my final bottle, so I will drink a special toast to Pat, who loved his Christmas dinner. The Champagne should be pretty good too.

Calvarino 2013, Soave, Pieropan (Magnum)

I have been eying this up in my local wines shop, La Touche Wines for the last year or more. I am a huge fan of Pieropan, one of the great white producers of Italy, and have a number of bottles of Calvarino stashed away; it matures beautifully. This one won’t get the chance to age gracefully. It might be a bit light for the seafood – prawn salad I think, but I doubt it. In any case, it will be light and elegant with a mere 12.5% alcohol, keeping everyone sober for the moment.

Viognier de Rosine 2014, Stephane Ogier, Vdp des Collines Rhodanniennes

In case that isn’t quite enough, I will chill a bottle of this wine from Stephane Ogier, also responsible for the wine below. This is made from vines located just outside Condrieu, home to the greatest Viognier in the world, which explains its lowly Vin de Pays status. I have written about the wine before, and it appears in Wilson on Wine 2017. It will provide an interesting contrast to the Soave, although it has the same 12.5% alcohol, less than in most Condrieu.

Côte Rôtie 2010, M&S Ogier (Magnum)

Stephane Ogier is one of the bright stars of the Northern Rhône and 2010 a very good vintage. Possibly a little young, but I will decant it into my magnum decanter, which up until now, has only been used for mere bottles. This was a thank you gift a couple of years ago. I am really looking forward to this.

Clos des Papes 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Magnum)

I am not sure we will need it, but I will have this standing up as a fall-back. A wine with an incredible reputation, from the amazing fine wine room at Jus de Vine in Portmarnock. I last tried this a few years ago down in Kelly’s Resort Hotel, at a tasting tutored by Vincent Avril, the owner of Clos des Papes, and brother-in-law of Bill Kelly. Back then it was very very good, but closed. We shall see.

Quinta do Noval 1970 Vintage Port

I intended opening up a bottle of Fonseca 1970 bought in the 1980’s, when I worked with Mitchell & Son, then located in Kildare Street. I think I have drunk two so far, but there is no rush with vintage port. However, I wasn’t able to get to my cellar, which is located in a (trustworthy) friend’s house, so I will open up this Noval 1970 instead. Some online reviews are very lukewarm, but we shall see. I have plenty of alternatives, including a few nice bottles of sherry.

Ch. Coutet 1989, Barsac (1/2 bottle)

I have a diminishing pile of ½ bottles of assorted Sauternes from my time in Searsons, so I intend opening up my last ½ bottle of this, to drink over a few days.


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