What we've been drinking (27 February - 6 March 2009)
Trimbach, Gewurztraminer, Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre, 2001
Fine aromatic nose with aromas of spice and flowers. The palate is very expressive and rich with ample weight and texture; the balanced acidity really carries the sweetness, the alcohol and the richness of the fruit.
Really enjoyed it with my Thai green curry.
Acting Assistant Editor, Decanter magazine
Piper-Heidsieck, Cuvee Millésime Brut, Champagne, France 2000
A bit of a cheat, really, to recommend one of the wines on show in Tom Stevenson’s Champagne masterclass last weekend at the Decanter French Fine Wine Encounter, but there you go. Not only did it stand out as a truly fine wine on the day, among a stellar line up of other Champagnes, but a half-open bottle still held its own – and its bubbles – the next evening. Creamy mousse, a lemon sherbet fizz up the nose and lovely digestive biscuit autolytic notes on a round but firm tart apple palate. It’s got a long life ahead but nine years in, paired with Vietnamese chicken salad on a Sunday night, it proves why Champagne shouldn’t just be enjoyed on the special occasions.
Viña Alicia, Brote Negro, Malbec 2005, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza
Though blossom may be beginning to form on the trees, spring has not
quite sprung and we still need to cosy up to a big bold red to keep
warm. What better way then than with the Brote Negro, or 'black
shoot', with its bold nose of blackcurrants, violets, licorice and
hint of mint chocolate. Dark, dense and deeply fruit driven, the
palate's velvet jacket is laced with delicious vanilla creaminess,
subtle spices and smokey notes. Intense, persistent and wonderfully
well balanced, this wine packs a punch and yet remains remarkably
Chateau Camplazens Grenache 2007, Coteaux de Languedoc
Husband and wife team Peter and Susan Close regularly take medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards for their superb stable of southern French reds. The Grenache is everything I want from these baking hills, spicy sweet juicy tannins and garrigue flavours, lots of juicy cherryish fruit, and an almost meaty strength underlying it all. You couldn’t be anywhere else than the south of France, and you should only be eating wild boar with it. Delicious, and ridiculously cheap at around £7 a bottle.
Editor, Decanter magazine
Yalumba’s 2006 Barossa Bush Vine Grenache
After a modest, in-line-with-the-current-climate evening spent sampling local pub wines – Delicato’s Californian Viognier-Chardonnay was serviceable at its unambitious price point, though I didn’t need a 250ml glass of it, filled to the brim (distracted, I had neglected to effect my usual request of a small serving in a large glass) – we headed back inside unfulfilled… until we cracked open Yalumba’s 2006 Barossa Bush Vine Grenache, which soon lifted our spirits. Light, bright, but with a density of pure berry fruit that carried through long into an ultimately enriching night.
Turkey Flat, Sparkling Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2005
Sparkling Shiraz fans are somewhat thin on the ground, especially at Decanter. I couldn't describe myself as a flag bearer for the style, but surely you can't be a lover of wine and not be intrigued - if only until after the first sip. Turkey Flat produce top-drawer wines, and their fizzy red is a superior offering as well. You can identify the quality of the wine beneath the bubbles, blessed as it is with lush, curranty fruit, a liquorice core, minerality, violets, sweet, peppery dashes, and a bit of tannic grip.