So, another year. Soon to be bidden farewell with another new year’s eve.
Champagne? Dancing? Noise and crowds? Not for me thanks. New year’s eve is an occasion for low-key celebration, at least in my book. And this isn’t solely because I’m getting to be a boring old grump. I’ve liked it that way ever since I was young — a very long time ago.
Fortunately, my wife and I have the perfect mechanism for ensuring happiness on December 31/ January 1. George and Kate, very dear friends who live near Woodstock in Oxfordshire, share our view of the event. For the past eight years or so, we have headed to their place for afternoon tea. Their young children show off their presents, get fed, watch a DVD or two, and eventually head off to bed.
And then it’s time for champagne with a suitable nibble or two. This is always drunk in the kitchen, where an Aga has been entrusted by George with the same treasure every year: a magnificent joint of beef.
What do you drink with roast beef? On the whole, for me, it’s a claret night. And while we like to drink something good, naturally, the expenditure doesn’t need to go too crazy.
Do you have a Tesco nearby? Then consider popping in for Château Lacoste-Borie 2009, a Pauillac of classic contour and profound complexity. At £19.99, it’s worth every penny.
But it doesn’t have to be claret – nor bust into double-digit territory. Réserve Combes 2011, Saint-Chinian (£7.49 at Waitrose) is a juicy grenache/syrah blend with little or no oak — a pleasure both with the beef and for sipping afterwards.
And if you want to go even lower in price, but not in quality, make your way to Co-Op for the season’s best discounted red. Les Jamelles Réserve Mourvèdre 2010 is a crackerjack of a wine, succulent and savoury. Down in price to £5.49 from £6.99 (until New Year’s day), it’s criminally cheap. Buy a few. As a New Year’s present to yourself. Happy 2013.