May 31, 2019
Whether it’s an anniversary, starting a new job, or marking Valentine’s Day, there is no shortage of special occasions to celebrate with a bottle of wine. But choosing the right vintage can be tricky if you’re no wine buff—will the bottle you’re looking at be to your taste? Is it food-friendly? How can you tell if you’re paying over the odds for a subpar bottle?
To help you out, we’ve picked out three bottles that we believe will do the trick, regardless of what you’re celebrating.
Described by Acker Merrall & Con chairman John Kapon as “the greatest Bordeaux made in the last 30 years”, Petrus wine is a must-have bottle of red. Speaking to Forbes, Kapon lauded Petrus’s rich and decadent taste, with “its saucy and syrupy chocolate and purple fruit [oozing] out of the glass.”
Steeped in history, the wine has slowly, but surely earned its reputation as one of the best wines around. As noted by British wine merchants Justerini & Brooks, ‘Although this estate can trace its origins back to Roman times, Petrus is a relative newcomer to Bordeaux’s top table.’ Produced in Pomerol, the region was long overlooked in favour of nearby Medoc. Both Pomerol and Petrus have come into their own in recent decades, however, with the Petrus estate itself now worth over £1 billion.
A red wine produced entirely from Merlot grapes, Petrus wine is noted for its unique and complex style—although each vintage is marginally different. Flavours that come through include coffee, chocolate, wet earth, and spice, providing an overall rich texture and an unrivaled silky feel. Petrus can also be paired with various meat dishes, including roast chicken, beef, pork, and lamb, as well as Asian and fish dishes, and this versatility adds to its magnificence.
The Petrus estate has produced a number of different vintages to choose from, with the best requiring 20-30 years before they’re at their optimum level. This does mean that Petrus wine will set you back substantially, with the price of a bottle averaging £2,442, but its mouthwatering array of flavours and unique adaptability make it well worth it. Overall, it is without doubt the perfect bottle of wine to have in reserve at home.
Cervaro della Sala
At the other end of the price spectrum at an average price of £38—and perfect for those that aren’t that into red wine—is this white blend from Marchesi Antinori, one of Italy’s biggest and most historic wine companies. Founded in 1385, most of its estates are in Tuscany, yet Castello della Sala is instead made in neighbouring Umbria. It is one of Umbria’s most iconic wines, and regularly scoops top prize at Gambero Rosso’s prestigious Tre Bicchieri awards.
A mixture of Chardonnay and Grechetto, Castello della Sala boasts an immensely layered taste, with drinkers initially experiencing a blend of stone and citrus fruit, before notes including almond, honey, orange zest also come through. It has a rich texture,characterised by its acidity and minerality, although it is important to note that each vintage is slightly different.
Not only is this Umbria-produced gem delectable by itself, it can also brighten up a feast. Unsurprisingly, it pairs perfectly with Italian food, such as veal piccata, as well as various other chicken and fish dishes, and this makes Cervaro della Sala another ideal bottle to pop open in celebration.
A bottle of bubbly is most people’s go-to when celebrating something, so it can pay to have a world class bottle of sparkling wine on hand. Pricier than Cervaro della Sala at an average price of £192, but less expensive than Petrus, Krug is just this, with the Champagne lauded by those in industry. Its 2002 vintage has garnered particular praise. FINE+RARE’s Head of Sales Craig Norton, called it: “One of the most exciting releases of the decade”, whilst Champagne expert and author Michael Edward described the vintage as being “in another league”. This acclaim is why you really should look no further than Krug 2002 for a phenomenal bottle of bubbly.
The Champagne is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Menuier, and has been dubbed an “ode to nature” thanks to its rich, fruity flavour. Krug 2002 is characterised by its lemony flavour and hints of lime green. It has a distinct intensity, with notes including pinenuts, caramelised baked apple, vanilla, and caramel.
Krug themselves recommend pairing its 2002 vintage with foods such as duck breast, butternut squash, and dhal curry. As such, it again represents a superb celebratory fine wine.