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On the First Day of Christmas


There is some debate as to whether this is simply a popular romantic song celebrating Christmastime or an aide memoire for Catholics concealing their faith in Elizabethan England, each “gift” laden with symbolism. This gives the two turtle doves as the two testaments of the Bible, the three French hens as Faith, Hope and Charity and so on all the way up to the twelve drummers drumming being the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s creed.

Whatever the truth of the matter, over the next twelve days we will be proposing our own twelve gifts. A combination of bottles and vinous paraphenalia to guarantee devotion from your wine-mad beloved.

In general we only sell by the case, however there always seems to be a whole host of odd bottles lurking in the cellars as lines are finished and a bottle or three gets left behind. We try to keep on top of this with our intermittent bin end sales, but just when we think we are nearly there it is time to start again….

So on each of the Twelve days of Christmas we will be choosing a bottle lot worthy of sending to your true love. We are closed until the 5th of January, but if anything seems particularly appealing do call us (020 7793 7900) in the New Year.

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me a half bottle of Velich Beerenauslese Seewinkel 2002 from Burgenland in Austria, available with or without a pear tree.

Austria’s viticultural star is firmly in the ascendant and this is a truly stellar sweet wine. Weingut Velich is a small family estate which was originally established in the 1930s. Today the estate is run by third generation brothers Roland and Heinz Velich. The vineyards have recently been expanded from 3 to 10 hectares with the addition of a new winery. As winemakers, Heinz and Roland share a philosophy of using wild yeasts, natural fermentation in open vats, and both brothers are big proponents of wood cask maturation.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave this a whopping 94 points and commented as follows, “The 2002 Beerenauslese a cuvee of Chardonnay with Welschriesling and Bouvier, smells of apricot nectar with a hint of burnt sugar frosting. Lovely peach and apricot nectar laced with invigorating grapefruit citricity are underlain by notes of cocoa powder. With the viscosity and intensity of TBA, this wine soars in the finish with clear, ringing fruit essences rather than any obvious honey or caramel character.”

We don’t have much more to add to that. This is a perfect Christmas wine. It would be a dream with cheese, mince pies, dates and fruit. But even better, later in the day as the evening draws in, gathered in the sitting room for a classic movie or even a board game, a glass or two of Velich will see you through perfectly to bedtime.