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Thursday Night Club 19th Nov - largeing it lockdown style

First up it was go big or go home with the stunning Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2013, Champagne, an exquisite champagne made from 100% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru of Avize. All the grapes for their vintage styles are from their own estate, a very rare occurrence in champagne, and all the grapes are farmed organically. In fact from 2018 the grapes for the Blanc de Blancs have been farmed biodynamically. This champagne boasts an almost Audrey Hepburn-esque elegance to it, understated and yet utterly compelling. On the nose there is a beautiful lifted perfume of jasmine and honeysuckle underpinned by candied lemon peel and a hint of toasty oats. The palate opens with intense and pure lemon and a steely core of minerality which then relaxes in the palate to reveal a beautiful creamy texture showing white almond, oats and toast. The ethereal finish is effortlessly long with chalky minerality and a gorgeous saline twist. Seriously impressive. It has also just won a gold medal at the prestigious Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships. Finest Bubble £76 (2011 vintage)

Tahbilk The Tower Shiraz 2016, Central Victoria, Australia. This is a delicious bold, rich, darkly fruited, gamey Shiraz with some complex notes of leather, earth and pepper. It has been in the cellar for a few years, but is just as good as he remembers it being. Perfect as the nights draw in, and it was particularly good with the South African Babotie that was for dinner! This was an exclusive label for the Wine Society but the 2017 can now be found under their estate label at Vinum £14.70

Ever wondered which wines were fit for a Balinese feast? According to our next couple they were enjoying a match made in heaven; The Society Vin d’Alsace, 2018 a complex blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Sylvaner made by superb producer Hugel. A dry wine that definitely came into its own with food and proved to be a great pairing with grilled prawns and roasted garlic aioli. Sticking with the Alsatian theme is the Society’s Exhibition Gewurztraminer 2016 again from Hugel destined to pair with Balinese satay. This is sweeter than the Vin d’Alsace and very tasty, definitely a food wine and showing beautiful freshness to counter balance the exotic fruit sweetness in the wine. Both Wine Society, Vin d’Alsace £9.95, Exhibition Gewurztraminer £16

Continuing yesterday’s birthday celebrations into today’s wine choice, the Fabiano Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2015, Veneto, Italy is absolutely the indulgence he was looking for. A delicious wine, it is incredibly smooth and rich thanks to the drying of the grapes key to the style of Amarone, although with 15.5% abv and an empty stomach it might prove to be a very jolly evening! This was a gift, (his friends evidently know him very well!) and can be found from Field and Fawcett for £29.99.

Aldi Exquisite Cremant du Jura, France. This is an absolute kick-ass bottle of bubbles that punches well above its weight. A traditional method crémant from the Jura region, it is 100% Chardonnay and has beautiful ripe apple fruit, brioche notes and a lovely fresh acidity. A great party wine or ‘everyday celebration’, and frankly we all need a bit of everyday celebration at the moment. Tarted up with a spot of Crème de Peche for this evenings club but in no way needs it to stand proudly with wines twice the price. Aldi £7.99

Despite a valiant effort, this clubber failed to track down any Beaujolais Nouveau despite it being ‘the day’, so instead opted for the Xose Lois Sebio Cois Mencia 2015, Bierzo, Spain. This is an absolutely beautiful grape hailing from the wild and mountainous region of Bierzo in NW Spain, these vines were in fact from deserted vineyards in the wilderness that showed too much potential not to reclaim. While many Mencia’s are made in a crunchy, crisp style, this is almost more reminiscent of a Ribera de Duero or Argentine Cabernet Franc with dense dark fruit, violets and spice. Absolutely delicious. Uncorked £24

Needing something to lift their spirits after a rubbish week, the first wine (a Tinto de Pais 2006 from Spain) was corked. Not a good start or mood enhancer. So they set their sights even higher and opted to open something really special, a guaranteed bringer of joy; the Cattleya Cuvee Number One Pinot Noir 2017, Russian River Valley, California. They discovered this wine at the Zurich Expovina and bought the wine from a local Zurich merchant. It has classic new world pinot characteristics with lots of bright raspberry fruit, great structure with fine, firm tannins and a lovely acidity. It would certainly continue to improve over the next 5 years. 54 Swiss Francs

Christmas had come early with a delivery of wine landing on the doorstep this morning and after a brutal day of work Reguengo de Melgaço Alvarinho Vinho Verde 2018. Alvarinho is a firm house favourite and there is always an emergency bottle in the fridge, but this newbie is definitely taking top spot. Fresh apples, minerality, smooth, creamy texture and lovely length, it ticks all the boxes. Corking Wines £16.66

Spirals Heiss-Weiss 2018, Kamptal, Austria is an intriguing blend of 70% Gruner Veltliner and 30% Riesling. There is a richness to the wine which belies the lighter 11.5% alcohol, the wine shows classic Gruner pepperiness, with a nicely rounded palate from some lees aging. This wine is the result of an exciting collaborative project between Modal Wine and a different producer each year with the proceeds going towards organisations supporting sustainability. Modal Wines £24

A little dent had been put in the Spirals Heiss-Weiss yesterday, and anticipating the last glass wasn’t going to see her through TNC, there was, of course, a second wine on the go! The Alessandrino Vino Rosso 2019 from Piedmont is a blend of Barbera and Dolcetto. A little funky on the nose, but the palate is light, juicy, crunchy and fresh and should work beautifully with the oxtail stew bubbling away on the stove. Clapton Craft £13

The final wine is an early birthday celebration and therefore something a little bit special. Chateau Musar 2001, Bekaar Valley, Lebanon is a famous and historic winery making some extraordinarily good and age-worthy wines. It definitely requires decanting as there is a fair amount of sediment. It has the most wonderful, complex nose of blackcurrant, cigar, leather and red berries with an underlying earthy richness and lovely supporting tannins and freshness. A very special, classic wine. Majestic Wines £28.99 as part of a mix 6

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