5 French tipples perfect for the festive season

Words by Alex Rayner

02 July 2020

Your holiday wine list sorted by our sommelier.

Once upon a time, around this point in the year, oenophiles across the world would race to buy, uncork and consume Beaujolais nouveau, the young, French wine that is fermented for a few short weeks before being shipped out from the vineyards of central eastern France.

Of course, the necessity of that mad dash was hyped up a bit by those keen to market the drink. Nevertheless, mid-November, just before the party season starts, is an ideal time for a quick cellar refresh. Stevie Evans, chief executive officer of Quintessentially Wine, has picked out a handful of the best bottles available right now from France.

2016 Maison Les Alexandrins Condrieu
“The grapes in this fruit-focused, terroir-specific wine, aren’t easy to cultivate or harvest”, explains Evans. “The vines of Condrieu are planted on narrow terraces, inaccessible to tractors," he says. “The need for human labour contributes to the high cost of growing Viognier grapes in Condrieu.”
However, these vertiginous inclines get more sunshine, which helps the fruit to ripen, and allows the soil – coarse sand on top of granite – to drain, leading to a wine with great structure, freshness and elegance.
2016 Maison Les Alexandrins Condrieu, Rhône
(12 x 75cl)
£396 per case in bond
£508 per case inc. VAT

2015 Château Pétrus
Uncork a bottle of this, and you’ll have something of a rock star at your table. “Château Pétrus is, without doubt, the most famous wine made from the Merlot variety in the world,” says Evans, “and one of the most expensive and impossible to find in the fine wine market.”
This is partly due to the rare, clay-rich soil, which the vines love, along with careful viticulture, and precise maturation. “Pétrus is matured in 100 per cent new oak barrels for two years,” Evans continues. “It is the full throttle winemaking, which complements the velvety smooth Merlot fruit, giving it lustre and phenomenal generosity on the palate.”
2015 Château Pétrus
(3 x 75cl)
$14,480 per case

2014 Causse du Théron ‘En Pente' Malbec
This old-world wine got an infusion of new-world blood, when the Argentine winemaker Antonio Morescalchi and Pedro Parra, a renowned expert on vineyard mapping in South America, visited south-western France to discover the secrets of good Malbec. “They became fascinated by the diversity of the soils,” says Evans. “With the help of friends, they selected two vineyards, owned by a local family, as the wellspring of their Cahors Malbec project.”
Quintessentially is proud to be exclusively releasing the first vintage of this incredible and exciting wine, which British wine critic Jancis Robinson has described as “beautifully made and so complete.”
2014 Causse du Théron 'En Pente' Malbec, Cahors
(12 x 75cl)
£288 per case in bond
£380 per case inc. VAT

2010 Domaine Laroche Les Clos
No one beats Domaine Laroche when it comes to Chablis. Cultivation on its impeccable six hectares of Grand Cru dates to the mid-19th century. The sites yield truly outstanding, fresh, complex wines, with mouth-watering acidity, that has won over leading experts and won numerous International Wine Challenge awards.
Similarly, when it comes to acquiring this wine, no one beats Stevie and his team. “We have shipped a small parcel from Burgundy,” he says. “It's a great opportunity to get your hands on ex-Domaine aged stock, possibly the most impressive Chablis from the vintage.”
2010 Domaine Laroche Les Clos, Chablis Grand Cru
(12 x 75cl)
£696 per case in bond
£868 per case inc. VAT

NV Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut, Champagne, Methuselah
Going big this party season? Then supersize your champagne order without sacrificing the quality. Bollinger doesn’t produce a great many of these six-litre Methuselahs, and its Special Cuvée Brut is truly special. “It is the ultimate expression of the Bollinger house style: rich and full”, says Evans.
NV Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut, Champagne
(1x 600cl)
£498 per Methuselah in bond
£616 per Methuselah inc. VAT

For more information ordering these wines or for pointed guidance on enhancing your wine cellar, please contact Quintessentially’s wine team via [email protected]

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