What we've been drinking (17 April - 24 April 2009)
Publishing Director, Decanter
Chateau Palmer, Margaux, 1982
A classical beauty with highly perfumed etheral nose with scents of violets, a complex and completely harmonious wine with blackcurrents and hints of cigar overlayed with minerals, perfect with the end of freezer grouse.
Acting Assistant Editor, Decanter
Mt Langi Ghiran, Billi Billi Shiraz, Victoria, Australia 2006
Made mainly from 80- to 100-year-old bush-vine and cool-climate fruit, this packs a real punch of spiced plum intensity cloaked in a silky, velvet texture. It’s not intended to be a thinker or a keeper, more an enjoy-now weeknight wine – and I was happy to oblige. Its ease of drinking and of opening (good to see another leading estate embrace screwcaps) would also make it a food-friendly crowd-pleaser to stash in your picnic basket once the sun comes out.
Cono Sur, Vision, Riesling, Chile 2007
I love Indian food as much as the next man, but my tolerance level for the hot end of the spectrum is low. So when I arrived at a friend’s house to be told they’d cooked a chicken Madras, my heart sank. Luckily, it was on the mild side, and even better, my offering of Cono Sur’s Riesling offset the spiciness via a zesty, limey-based tropical fruit hit and just a hint of sweetness. Not a difficult bottle to finish – even just with poppadoms.
Deputy Editor, decanter.com
Te Mata Estate, 'Awatea', Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, 2007
A first glimpse of this new release was tasted at the estate on a beautiful sunny day in the Hawke's Bay. Claiming to be the oldest winery in New Zealand, Te Mata (whose gorgeous Elston Chardonnay will feature in Steven Spurrier's New World Chardonnay masterclass at the New World Fine Wine Encounter next month), specialise in Bordeaux blends. This is one such example - coming one step below the flagship wine Coleraine. Very pretty, with great red and black fruits, it also shows a caramel hint that I find in attractive New World Cabernets. This wine has great structure, good length, with nice tannins that don't dry your mouth out. Great stuff.
Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Les Hauts de Smith (white), Pessac-Léognan 2007
This is the second white wine of Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte, one of the superstars of the Graves. 2007 is a superb vintage for the whites, and Les Hauts lives up to that reputation. A delicate, floral nose with hints of spice, which is carried through onto a wonderful, exotic, mineral palate. Delicious.