gentleman's journal wine winter

Introducing Gentleman’s Journal Wine: The Winter Collection

Stock up for the festive season with these warming tipples

It’ll certainly be pleasant enough to see my parents when I return home this Christmas. (Lovely people, good genes, and in many ways I feel like I’ve known them all my life.) But it’ll be just as nice to stick my head in the cupboard under the stairs once more. This Tardis-like cellar is where my father keeps his eclectic, rolling, mysterious wine collection. And in December it is at its fullest and most pinchable: a case of tokaji bought at a country house auction; a Chilean red yobbed from a local restaurateur; some black-bottled port from the year of my birth.

This Christmas, however, I will return home armed with a cache to rival even my father’s dubiously-gotten gains. And so too might you. Gentleman’s Journal Wine has been pootling along perfectly happily throughout spring and summer of this year — sloshing magnums of rose and cases of elegant white across West London and the Home Counties (some even went to Wales!). But for winter things have really kicked up a notch. We’ve teamed up with Amber Gardner, the sommelier at Davies & Brook, to curate a formidable collection of wines for the festive season (and beyond).

They are not constrained by fashion or received wisdom, nor are they anchored to geography or tradition. (We will happily place a good old fashioned claret next to an enigmatic Lebanese red.) Instead, they are brimming with remarkable value, eclectic brilliance and dinner party conversation-fuel — every bottle has a reason for being here; every wine a story to tell. Here’s the full run down, for your pre-Christmas consideration. Buy a mixed-case of six, or go hell-for-leather and get twelve of the same for New Year’s Eve. Just don’t tell my father where you bought them.

David Moret 'Le Grand A' Aligoté 2019

Anyone can bring a Chablis to the table. But this white Burgundy is the region’s best kept secret — an insider’s tip for those in the know. Aligoté is the third grape variety of Burgundy, and is often kept for the winemakers to drink while their chardonnays and pinots get snapped up at astronomic prices. This one is stellar, with an unctuous finish of nougat and toasted hazelnuts.

Umani Ronchi Centovie Pecorino 2018

For once, it’s okay to be a sheep. Named after the wooly beasts that clamber over the rolling hills of the region (and love to eat the early ripening grapes off of the trees), Pecorino is fast on course to become one of Italy’s truly great grapes. This wine is brilliant, fresh, floral delight that has notes of aromatic herbs. A dinner party favourite.

le grand a

David Moret 'Le Grand A' Aligoté 2019

£16.22

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centovie pecorino

Umani Ronchi Centovie Pecorino 2018

£24.04

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Lyrarakis Vilana Pirovolikes Vineyard 2019

This one’s drinks like a Greek myth — full of ancient wisdom, heavenly aromas and lightning bolt intensity. The Cretean vineyard behind it is still family-owned and has centuries of history to call upon. What’s more, it produces some of the most progressive wines on the island — expect notes of bergamot, white plum, and melon, with a winning minerality.

Domaine de la Renardiere Chardonnay Jurassique 2016

Join a cult without drinking the Kool Aid. Wines from the Jura region, up in the mountains of eastern France, are fast becoming true cult classics, thanks to the frenzy of natural wine production taking place. This domaine has been farming along biodynamic principles since 2010, with wines fermented in old barrels that are kept topped up. Esoteric, unexpected, delicious.

lyrakis wine

Lyrarakis Vilana Pirovolikes Vineyard 2019

£15.86

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jurassique

Domaine de la Renardiere Chardonnay Jurassique 2016

£25.61

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Domaine FL Savennières Chamboureau 2016

A smart, handsome, and grown up bottle — ideal for fish pie on Christmas eve. It’s made in the small but brilliant appellation of Savennieres, and boasts a remarkable racy minerality with nutty qualities and an incomparable ability to age. Rich, round and energetic with pure notes of baked apples, peach and tropical fruits.

Santa Cruz Mountains Trout Gulch Chardonnay Kutch 2017

A wine to make you quit your day job. In 2005, Jamie Kutch traded his career on the stock exchange for a life of winemaking up in the Santa Cruz mountains. And a mid-life crisis has never tasted so good. This is a classic of the region — intense and well-structured, with notes of lemon peel, chalk, white flowers and mint.

chamboreau wine

Domaine FL Savennières Chamboureau 2016

£29.25

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kutch wine

Santa Cruz Mountains Trout Gulch Chardonnay Kutch 2017

£46.80

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Château Montaiguillon, Bordeaux, 2015

This deep red is like a bachelor uncle at Christmas — staunchly traditional, but a friend to all. (Especially after he’s tucked into a glass or two of rouge.) The label is also exceptionally smart, so your friends will think you’re doing far better than you actually are. Plus, it’s lovely in the glass: plenty of juicy dark fruits and ripe tannins.

Etna Rosso Emanuele Scammacca del Murgo 2018

A wine forged in an inferno. The volcanic soils below these vineyards give rise to some unique wines — earthy, herbal, mineral. The vineyards here are organised into ‘contrada’, which have been carved out naturally by the flow of lava. Expect scents of red fruit and spices and a mineral palette reminiscent of lava and volcanic sands.

Château Montaiguillon, Bordeaux, 2015

Château Montaiguillon, Bordeaux, 2015

£21.58

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Etna Rosso Emanuele Scammacca del Murgo 2018

Etna Rosso Emanuele Scammacca del Murgo 2018

£18.71

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Musar Jeune Red Gaston Hochar 2017

A wonderful bottle with a beautiful back story. Chateau Musar was founded in 1930 by the eponymous Gaston, after he spent time with Bordeaux’s legendary winemaker Major Ronald Barton during the war. It is a brilliant example of Lebanon at its best — with spicy, savoury notes and oodles of succulent fruit.

Turley Zinfandel Juvenile 2018

The Turley estate has garnered rockstar status as an outspoken devotee to the once-unfashionable zinfandel varietal — and this is a fine example of the grape at its best. A medium bodied wine with gentle aromas of perfumed, earthy berries, it drinks well right out of the bottle. Serve it to your resident wine bore, and watch him eat his hat.

Musar Jeune Red Gaston Hochar 2017

Musar Jeune Red Gaston Hochar 2017

£16.38

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Turley Zinfandel Juvenile 2018

Turley Zinfandel Juvenile 2018

£28.70

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La Soula Rouge 2014

A hot tip: La Soula is perhaps one of the most sought after and enigmatic producers in France at the moment, so get in on the action before it goes mainstream. Made from once-abandoned vines in the Agly Valley in the foothills of the Pyrennes, this red boasts great complexity and elegance. It’s especially brilliant once decanted. And you drank it before it was cool.

Corbières Campagnès Maxime Magnon 2018

This Corbières Campagnès is Maxime Magnon’s greatest ever red, made from the ancient vineyards that local farmers weren’t willing to till. It drinks like a grand cru infused with southern soul — big and punchy, but with elegance and finesse. All in all, it’s a pretty magical combo. A true crowd pleaser.

Corbières Campagnès Maxime Magnon 2018

Corbières Campagnès Maxime Magnon 2018

£39

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See the full Gentleman’s Journal Wine range here…

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