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Pedro Ximenez, 1911-2010: wine legend come to life

It was the year that saw the first non-stop flight from London to Paris, the year that saw the launch of the Titanic – and the end of the last Chinese Imperial Dynasty. It was 1911 and now I can say I’ve drunk wine over 100 years old.

A little fragile perhaps but still vivid on the nose with aromas of ginger, citrus and burnt sugar. A little less length than its younger siblings but still a force to be reckoned with. And there’s still stock available should you want to buy a bottle of this rare and remarkable wine.

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‘Harvested to the sound of gunfire, but drunk to the sound of trumpets’: tasting Champagne Pol Roger

1914 was one of the finest of all champagne vintages. Harvested by women, children and old men in the absence of the men of fighting age, it became Winston Churchill’s favourite wine (and favourite vintage).

Cassidy Dart, of Pol Roger UK, who presented the company’s range of 7 wines at the Bridge Street Wine Bar in Cambridge last week, has tasted this wine twice (lucky man). He describes it as still having a few bubbles, though the colour is slowly shifting towards orange / brown (as happens with almost all old white wines).

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Bubbles over the Loire | Mon Ange, Fillibulle and La Tour Grise

We ate with good friends the other night at ‘La Part des Anges’ in Chinon. Given the name of the restaurant there was only one choice to start the evening: Domaine de la Noblaie’s sparkling rose, Mon Ange. And  very good choice it was. Apricot rather than pink in colour, very fresh on the nose with peach and white fruit aromas. The mousse was gentle rather than aggressive but there was a real liveliness in the mouth and lots of red fruit in the flavour – hardly surprising since this is a 100% Cabernet Franc wine.

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We paid 22€; the cellar door price is around 10€ – and at that price it’s excellent value. There’s no UK stockist that I can trace.

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