Drinks News

Top drops: An expert's wine picks for November

Party season calls for large format bottles. Here, NED GOODWIN picks the best magnums to share.

By Ned Goodwin
Ned Goodwin
A party can mean many things depending on occupation, interests and the sort of festivities one chooses to countenance. Given my life talking about wine, I can't think of too many better parties than the one that goes on in mind when I am solo, walking the streets of Granada, Marrakech, Naples or somewhere else suitably raffish with a new experience at every bend. The problem is, drinking good wine alone is not much fun. After all, wine is a conduit of a moment and its myriad of angles: conversation, company, the hourglass of life and one's reflections that come with it all. It is difficult to justify opening a full bottle, especially a large format one, when it can't be shared. This is all the more reason to buy magnums!
Not only do larger format bottles age better because of the lower oxygen to liquid ratio, but one seldom reaches for a 1.5-litre bottle when prowling the cellar after a big night. Large formats always look good on the festive table, too, particularly if the party is with a number of people. Do the math: there are six glasses in a regular bottle, and 12 in a magnum. That saves the host from fetching the next bottle, changing the stemware and altering the mood, the key to any good party. As each festive season rolls across our lives, it is time to reflect that the last one only feels like yesterday. Life is simply too short to drink rubbish. Here are some better options.

2021 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra

The magnum for lonely nights or the hordes. Few do it better than Wynns in Coonawarra. Those red loamy clays and underbelly of limestone deal a card of currant, dried sage and menthol, drawn from a deck of finely wrought tannins and an air of sophistication.

Vazart-Coquart & Fils Grand Cru Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne NV

Champagne is cold, the fizz frothy and the finish a bit sweet. Fruit is largely blended from all over the joint to come up with a house style, over anything of place. The grower revolution changed that! The new world order: dry salinity, a wisp of chalk and autumnal fruits.
While the magnum format is now sold out, you can still buy 750ml bottles below.

2021 Rimauresq Cru Classé Rosé, Provence

Provençale rosé is often party juice. A conduit for the aspirational to pretend, for just a moment, that they are on the Côte d'Azur. As a result, it doesn't really need to be much chop. Yet there is good stuff out there. Here, a leading example laden with dried thyme, musk and peony.
While the magnum format is now sold out, you can still buy 750ml bottles below.

2019 Eden Rift Estate Chardonnay, Cienega Valley, $69

It becomes an effete exercise to compare New World wines to their plinth of inspiration in the Old, yet in this instance it is very hard to do otherwise. Burgundy-like scents of nougat, roasted hazelnut, truffle and stone fruits. Broad and flavoursome chardonnay from the San Andreas Fault.
While the magnum format is now sold out, you can still buy 750ml bottles below.
  • undefined: Ned Goodwin