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Dry January? For prosperity’s sake, not in this neck of the woods. Orientally speaking, this party’s just getting started. Treasury Wine Estates, one of the world’s largest pure-play wine companies, is culturally attuned to occasions such as Chinese New Year. Plus, there are harvest festivals in our midst. TWE’s bountiful cellars hold a surprising range of wines, apart from the Penfolds reds topped by the great Grange. Try these with your celebratory dishes for enhanced luck.
1. Maison de Grand Esprit Le Être Magique Crémant de Bourgogne NV Brut
Try with: Yee sang, richer fish dishes.
French bubbly, not from Champagne but Burgundy, made using the same Méthod Champenoise and just as ‘unputdownable’. Like a mousse of white peaches and rock melon, it’s lightly creamy with a satisfying persistence. The blend is chardonnay (60%), pinot noir (20%) and gamay (20%).
2. Penfolds Max’s Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2016
Try with: Buttered prawns, fresh bread rolls with full-cream, single-pasteurised butter.
Fresh cream and apples. A terribly (i.e. very) well-balanced and polished wine that speaks of impeccable upbringing. Clear, precise fruit flavours and well-measured acidity. Sure to win favour.
3. Maison de Grand Esprit, La Mystèriale Châteauneuf du Pape 2015
Try with: Roast duck, beef noodles, fried garlic rice; use your imagination.
Another surprise, after the bubby from Bourgogne. Châteauneuf isn’t the most-requested wine at reunion dinners, and that’s exactly what TWE’s Maison de Grand Esprit brand is all about: it’s the gateway to explore the best wines from around France without needing to decipher its origins, TWE ambassador Kate Rowe tells Robb Report. Interestingly, La Mystèriale uses feminine pronoun while Le Être Magique Crémant de Bourgogne is the masculine. Here’s a dusky red nose of white pepper and something… “black olives," says Rowe, on the button. It’s drinking nicely now, untypically for this region; not yet complex, but “savoury". Millennials might like Châteauneuf’s “diversity": up to 18 grape varieties are allowed for the blend.
4. St Henri Shiraz 2015, The Penfolds Collection
Try with: Give the chef a glass so he or she can whip up something sublime to match. Or drink on its own.
Surely the pièce de résistance of lunch, dinner and dim sum breakfast. The St Henri is meant to be to the counterpoint to the world-famous Grange. It’s aged in 50-year-old, 1,460-litre vats, explains Rowe; the wood, seasoned over time to a transparent universality, does not stamp the wine in its own image, but allows it to breathe and develop as it would. Whatever its DNA, it already has an opulent, blue-purple nose and glides luxuriously on the palate. Not posh; but temperate and noble.
5. Lot. 518 Spirited Wine with Baijiu
Try with: Put away dessert and drink this on its own.
Another surprise! If the St Henri is the nobility of reunion dinner, this is its master of ceremonies. There is tradition and there is innovation; celebration is when they come together as successfully as this. The radiant cherry colour provides a hint of the lively nose of fine, sweet herbs and fresh black plum. This wine dances lightly on the palate as it reveals its enticing complexity.