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24 Days of Wine - Part III: Christmas is Coming

Updated: Jan 14, 2023

It is the homestretch and Christmas is right around the corner (or at least it was at the time that I was drinking these wines). The first 17 wines drew from the Old World and showcased a selection of whites, rosés, and reds. We found some hidden gems, like the Gran Sud Sauvignon Blanc from Day 15, as well as a selection of quaffable but uninspiring wines, and a few arguably flawed wines that are not good representations of their originating regions. As we approach the final 7 wines, we must remain open minded and ready to experience the joy of trying new wines. John Snow commonly refrains that winter is coming. However, I find that commentary too somber for the Christmas season. Sorry John, but I subscribe to an alternative refrain, Christmas is coming.

Day 18

Wine: 2021 Grand Sud Rosé

Variety: Merlot

Country/Region: France/Vin de France

Review: The wine has an inviting salmon color. The nose is focused on floral and rose water notes that seduce the drinker into taking a sip. The palate is dry with a bright acidity, and there are notes of quince that pair with a slight but pleasant bitterness. Overall, the wine is very balanced, while still being light and refreshing.

Conclusion: Buy, this is my favorite rosé in the Advent calendar so far. The floral and fruit notes make it very elegant and delightful.

Day 19

Wine: 2021 Kiwi Cuveé Bin 18

Variety: Malbec

Country/Region: France/Vin de France

Review: The wine is a fairly translucent medium ruby color. The nose is mildly expressive with notes of red and blue fruit but not much else. On the palate there is a medium acidity and mild tannins that pair with the red and blue fruit also found on the nose. Since the majority of Malbec in France is found in Southwest France, I am guessing that the grapes are also from there and the wine has been declassified from something like Cahors. Additionally, the mild acid and tannins may mean that the wine has been fermented and aged in concrete vessels.

Conclusion: OK, this wine lacks the power and finesse seen in many other Malbec wines. A drinker expecting an Argentinian style Malbec will be sharply disappointed.

Day 20

Wine: 2021 Undivided Chardonnay

Variety: Chardonnay

Country/Region: France/Vin de France

Review: The wine has a pale lemon color but still seems young and lively. The nose has mild notes of green apple and citrus fruits with mineral notes throughout. There does not appear to be any oak or lees contact on the wine. The palate has a nice texture, which provides a pleasant weight to the wine without the need for leesy, autolytic qualities. There is a balanced acidity and a carryover of the apple and citrus from the nose. The wine is more restrained and seems to be from a cooler growing region.

Conclusion: OK, there is nothing wrong with this wine and it has an intriguing texture, but I think that there are other expressions of Chardonnay that warrant your hard-earned money more.

Day 21

Wine: 2021 Wild Coast Sauvignon Blanc

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Country/Region: South Africa/None

Review: The wine has a pale lemon, almost water white appearance. The nose is very expressive with tropical, lemongrass, Meyer lemon, and papaya notes. The palate is dry and there is a creamy body and texture, with notes of citrus fruit. However, the low acidity makes the tasting experience fall flat.

Conclusion: OK, the nose was really inviting but the wine fell flat on the palate and lacked acidity. This lack of balance on the palate moves this from a buy to a barely passable quaffer.

Day 22

Wine: NV Orée de Roses Rosé

Variety: Unknown

Country/Region: France/Aude IGP

Review: The wine is light with a pale salmon color. It lives up to its name with notes of rosewater and floral rose nose. The palate is dry with a bright, refreshing acidity. There is not much flavor on the palate, honeydew melon is lightly perceptible.

Conclusion: OK, I am always weary of wines with no vintage date (besides sparkling and dessert wines), but at least this wine seems fresh and young. It is possible that a previous vintage was back blended and this wine just barely missed the vintage date threshold of 95%. The biggest downside of this wine is its lack of flavor complexity.

Day 23

Wine: 2021 Grand Sud Red Blend

Variety: Unknown

Country/Region: France/Pays D’Oc

Review: This is one of the darker wines we have had in the Advent calendar with its medium ruby color that is nearing opaque. The nose is filled with lots of fruit, namely fresh Italian plum. Although the alcohol is stated at 13.5%, it seems higher and is perceptible on the nose. The palate has a mild acidity and mild tannins. There is a ton of fruit sweetness on the mouth which makes me second guess the wine’s dryness. However, the mix of noticeable alcohol and high fruitiness could be the source of perceived sweetness.

Conclusion: OK, this is your classic fruit bomb. This wine is not meant to age and is probably best drunk towards the end of the night. It is not bad, but it is just not exciting.

Day 24

Wine: 2020 BDX Claret

Variety: Unknown

Country/Region: France/Bordeaux

Review: The wine has a medium ruby, almost garnet color. The browning rim of the wine is odd for such a current vintage. The nose is herbaceous and vegetal with hints of red fruit. The nose is not very aromatic or expressive. The palate is dry with medium acidity and green, underripe tannins. Confusingly, there is alcohol coming through on the palate, which makes for a very out of balance wine. The flavor profile is dominated by the vegetal notes and has very little fruit.

Conclusion: Pass, the wine seems to be underripe and overripe at the same time. This makes for an out of balance and disjointed drinking experience. I am a little sad to finish the Advent calendar with such a lackluster wine.

What a journey it has been over the last 24 days. There have been wines from across Europe, as well as a lone white wine from South Africa. While I may not have been blown away by every bottle that I opened throughout the Advent calendar, it was important to try wines that I would not normally be inclined to pull off the shelf and take home. I implore you to resist the urge to drink the same thing every time you get an itch for a glass of wine. Try something new, try something different, and try something that you have never heard of before. I promise that you will find something unexpected. Coming into this tasting, I never would have guessed that my favorite wine of the calendar would be a Pinot Grigio from Italy.

Thank you for reading.

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