Nigel Lelew on Wine



Haselmere Herald
An Alternative Millennium Party!
© by Nigel Lelew
You may have been planning your Millennium Eve party since this time last year. You've found the perfect venue, have the best guest list around and stocked up on Champers a long time ago to avoid the Millennium Drought! Well if you have ... congratulations!

But if you've been busy with some of the other priorities during the year, like living, and haven't had a chance to respond to all the hype, please don't panic. My own guess is that the greatest party of all time could go the same way as the 'Greatest Eclipse off Earth' that we saw, (or maybe didn't), earlier in the year!

I have an alternative idea for all those who haven't planned to do anything special, couldn't find a baby-sitter anyway and don't understand why they should pay three or four times the 'non-Millennium' price. Why not knock on the neighbours' door at around 9 p.m. on Friday 31st and invite them in. Invite a couple of friends and family round as well and just enjoy great company on the spur of the moment. But what about the food and drink, I hear you say?

For the food, go and rummage around the freezer for a while and for the wine, try getting into 'Millennium Magnums'. Two bottles in one, magnums are something a bit unusual ... what better for a once in a lifetime party. Party wines are often drunk on their own rather than with a meal, so that means that the wines need to stand on their own. So I have a couple of magnums to recommend to you for a Millennium Eve party to remember.

Try a magnum of Jacobs Creek 1997 Chardonnay. The days when you could almost pick the lumps of oak out of Australian Chardonnays is long gone...thank goodness! This Jacobs Creek vintage has great tropical fruit and melon tastes with brilliantly balanced toasty oak notes. It really is a wine that can be drunk on its own and at £9.49 from Waitrose, the magnum is great value for money too.

To make a pair of magnums, team the Jacobs Creek with a big bottle of Millennium Merlot. It's a 1998 southern French Merlot varietal with a gorgeous ripe plum aroma typical of the grape variety. The soft red plum comes through on the taste and the finish is as long as Millennium night itself! Again its smooth easy drinking style means that its great on its own. Making the shopping easy, its from Waitrose at £8.99. Pick up a few of each and be prepared for a brilliant party!

As the all important midnight hour approaches, all the hype about there not being enough Champagne to go around, seems a distant memory now. It was just a rumour started by one or two champagne houses to keep sales up as well as profits. As Big Ben strikes, pop the cork on a bottle of Waitrose's own Champagne Brut at £17.99. From the much-acclaimed 1990 vintage it's got length and zippy fruit as well as those rich toast and yeast flavours ... your very good health!

Whatever you do this Millennium Eve, take care, have a great time...and above all relax and enjoy.

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