What we've been drinking (29 May - 12 June 2009)
Chief Sub-Editor, Decanter
JJ Prüm, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany 2000
A trip to Homebase later and I was ensconced in a new sunchair, wedged into my stamp-sized patio, ready to soak up all the rays the near-perfect weekend had to offer. All I needed now was a refreshing glass of something – but nothing too boozy – to enjoy in the midday sun. Sifting through my stores I found the perfect drop. At 7.5%abv and well chilled, it is dangerously moreish (but not so dangerous that you can’t enjoy a second glass before lunch). Aromas of zesty lime cordial, white flowers and mineral leads on to a zesty, concentrated wet-stone palate with a delicious touch of spritz and mouthwatering limey acidity. Still bright and youthful, there’s a hint of lifted petrol characters and a long slatey finish. I’ll be hunting down more of this for the coming months.
Tastings Director, Decanter
August Clape, Cornas, France 1999
To celebrate the 40th year anniversary of Yapp Brothers (the independent wine merchant based in Wiltshire), we tasted some of the finest Rhône wines around. The 1999 Cornas from August Clape was the highlight of the event. The wine had a beautiful nose showing development with classic game and tobacco notes. The palate was dense yet elegant, with lots of finesse, beautiful natural acidity and silky tannins; it was packed with a fine structure and a lingering finish.
Château La Lagune, Haut-Medoc, 1995
A weekend away in Leeds and a restaurant recommendation from the magazine’s resident eatery critic Brian St Pierre. Brasserie 44 is a cosy enough place, with decent food, but the real draw is the astonishing value of the wine list (go to http://www.brasserie44.com/b44/menus.shtml to see it). Maybe I’ve just become too accustomed to London’s outrageous mark-ups, but I must have spent 20 minutes poring over it (Yes, I’m great company for dinner). It came down to a choice of Au Bon Climat’s 2006 Santa Maria Pinot (£38.50) and La Lagune 1995 (£55). Ordinarily, I try to be a touch more adventurous in restaurants, but the chance to drink 14-year-old claret at reasonable prices doesn’t come along as often as you’d think, so I plumped for the Haut-Médoc 3rd growth. It wasn’t actually showing that well – a little tight and angular – but at this price, I wasn’t complaining…
Château Marsyas, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 2007
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot has all the exotic spice and fruit we've come to expect from the Bekaa Valley. Long sunny days and cool nights give the wine splendid spicy acids and gripping tannins. Lots of plums, minty blackcurrant and raspberry leaf. Delicious. Drunk at home with cold meats, chorizo, new potatoes and tomato salad
Deputy Editor, decanter.com
Marramiero, Pecorino, Colline Pescaresi, IGT, 2008
I first discovered Pecorino several years ago, lunching at the British Film Institute restaurant and liked it straight away. This wine has an aroma I liken to the smell of polystyrene cement - but in a very attractive sense. There's quite a waft but its fresh and very attractive. There's great weight, body and a lovely citrusy palate. A really lovely wine - I even regretted using a few millilitres in my risotto that evening.