THE BALVENIE TWENTY-FIVE
It might just be our favourite expression from The Balvenie yet. Acclaimed malt master David Stewart has created a 25-year-old scotch for discerning drinkers. The first in a new range called Rare Marriages, a nod to the European and American casks used in the process, The Balvenie Twenty-Five is a limited production. It is fruity and sweet, with notes of caramel and honey that slowly finishes into a nice apple tart.
A RISING STAR
For 110 years, the Telmont winery in Damery, near Epernay, has been producing deliciously austere champagnes. It is probably unknown to anyone but dedicated connoisseurs. Since Remy Cointreau acquired Telmont, you can expect to see and taste the wines more often. They are bursting with an aggressive acidity, and the winery aims to become organic by 2025. Its Chardonnay- dominant Reserve Brut is an excellent entry to the brand, but we recommend moving quickly to the silken richness of the Blanc de Blanc Vintage 2012. You can enjoy it today, but save a second bottle for 15 years from now. It has the aromas of bread and flowers and a fruit- driven peachy taste.
WORTH THE WAIT
New Zealand’s most atypical sauvignon blanc has missed out on the last two vintages due to unimpressive harvests, so it is with extra excitement that we welcome the 2019 Cloudy Bay Te Koko this year. As a sauvignon blanc that is the product of a highly time-consuming winemaking technique, it is every bit as dense and contemplative as people have come to expect from such a range. A blend of citrus, stone fruits, and a hint of oak and smoke, it just begs to be enjoyed with shellfish.
You can put your mind at ease when choosing a new distillery to try by simply looking at its awards and accolades, which The Glen Grant 15 YO has plenty of. This Speyside whisky, formerly an exclusive to the US market, will go well with fruit cake this Christmas. At 50 per cent ABV, there are sweet biscuit and fruit notes, while the finish is long and nutty. It will be available by the dram at venues like Dragon Chamber and Public House, by the bottle at Malts and Js Bar & Grill, as well as online at Cellarbration, Redmart and Amazon.
BUBBLY FOR A STEAL
There are worse things than being called “poor man’s Krug” because Krug does indeed make some of the finest bubbly in the world, and champagne authority Tom Stevenson meant that as a genuine compliment when he reviewed Champagne Vilmart & Cie in 1991. To this day, he considers Vilmart a top grower of champagne. Its reputation as a mini Krug refers to its cost – the Grande Reserve begins at $78. Typical of the Vilmart style, the wine ferments in oak barrels without malolactic fermentation, resulting in a bubbly that is fresh, fine and structured.