What we've been drinking (19 - 25 September)
Yabby Lake Chardonnay 2007
A yabby is a freshwater crayfish whose appearance on the label of this wine I ignorantly took for a scorpion. Yabby Lake, meanwhile, is a relatively young producer in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula owned by the Kirby family of Australian film and theme park operator Village Roadshow. Larry McKenna of ace New Zealand Pinot producer Escarpement is also a shareholder, and was previously in charge of winemaking, but last year the Kirbys took on the lauded Tom Carson, previously of Yering Station, to take over. This wine pre-dates him, but is true to his vision of cool-climate winemaking: picked early, wild ferment, no malolactic fermentation, gentle handling and no oak. The result is a pure, linear, natural wine with none of that creamy butteriness that can fudge Aussie Chardonnays. It’s not the most complex, but went perfectly with a seafood lunch, aided by early autumn sun.
Chief Sub-editor, Decanter
Bodega Colomé, Colomé de Terruno, Salta, Argentina 2008
I’ve been keeping my iron levels sky high by enjoying a lot of red meat recently, and it’s been very interesting to pair everything from venison to lamb to beef with the gamut of red wine grapes from around the world. Not surprisingly it was a Malbec that really stood out – the flagship red from a country known for the quality (and consumption) of its beef. It’s made for the Gaucho restaurant group, which has the biggest Argentinian wine list outside Argentina, as well as arguably the best steak. Salta has vines at 3,000m altitude, apparently the highest in the world, which bring out the aromatics, colour and fruit in the wine. Here all the varietal character of the Malbec (and touch of Cabernet) is emphasised as the wine is left unoaked: vivid, pure blue and bramble berries and lifted floral notes on the silky, savoury palate. Perfect with a juicy, rare rib-eye, where the wine’s natural acidity and ripe fruit tannins cut through the protein and fat of the meat, rather than the oak tannins you’d normally expect.
Villa Ada Chianti Riserva, Tuscany 2006
Monday nights are generally wine-free in the Lechmere household, but for a series of reasons this week we reached for the corkscrew as early as was decent. I pulled out this bottle from the rack. A spicy, fairly intense palate with roasted coffee and toasted black fruits, very refreshing. Now here's the thing: it was good on Monday night, but vacuum-pumped and sealed and brought out again on Tuesday, in 24 hours it had found a whole new layer of smoky complexity and a delicious roundness, and not a hint of oxidation. Gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2009.
Tastings Executive, Decanter
Tsantali, Metóxi, Assyrtiko-Sauvignon Blanc, Mount Athos 2008
Not an everyday blend to most of us, but quite possibly a run of the mill combination on the peninsula of Mount Athos in northern Greece. There's a touch of lees to the nose on this, but the main note is one of runny honey, white fruit and some subtle red fruit aromas. It's satisfyingly weighty on the palate, with touches of grapefruit, pears, honey, an ever so slight pinch of spice and a cool, mineral finish. Tailor made for an Indian summer?