What we've been drinking (9 January - 16 January 2009)
Tastings Director, Decanter
Cave Cooperative Vinsobres, Vinsobres, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2001
We see Côtes du Rhône Villages as a wine to be drunk within a year of the vintage but during my trip to the Rhone Valley this week, the Côtes du Rhônes Villages Vinsobres 2001 from the Cave Cooperative Vinsobres proved me wrong. The wine showed some very intense black olives and black truffle aromas. The palate was still complex and surprisingly fresh and the tannins were very mellow. A great wine to enjoy with food.
Château St Michelle 2006 Eroica Riesling
Maybe not a natural January wine, but on a bracing day pre-lunch, the '06 Eroica Riesling set the tastebuds tingling with its nervy acidity and zingy citric tang, counterbalanced by a welcome layer of viscous fat.
Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
We had this on Christmas day. Not the most natural choice for turkey but, given the richness of the meal as a whole, this powerful but elegant wine was a winner. A splendid velvety blackcurrant nose gives way to a palate that is pure Napa - blackberry, black cherry, strong spicy coffee with soft juicy tannins. The owner, Darioush Khaledi, is Iranian, and his winery is outlandish even by California standards, a Persian temple in the middle of Napa. The wine itself is full of eastern promise, with notes of pepper, cinnamon and exotic spice. And was that a hint of saffron?
Acting Assistant Editor, Decanter
Cave de Tain, Gambert de Loche, Hermitage, Rhône, France 1998
I’d been eyeing this for some time, it being the oldest of my Rhônes, waiting for a suitable occasion. It came on a bitterly cold evening when I needed to thaw out in front of the telly with some lovely cheeses and biscuits. Named after Louis Gambert de Loche who founded the Cave de Tain, this has all the smoky bacon and dark, savoury fruit you’d expect from Hermitage along with developed leather and wood notes backed by chewy, dusty tannins and acid freshness. I could have waited a few more years, but on that night it was the perfect wine.
Tastings Executive, Decanter
Matetic EQ, Pinot Noir, San Antonio 2007
Still something of a young pup, Matetic managed to produce 2,000 cases in 2007 with yields at just 3.5 tons p/ha. Thus it's no surprise that this is a beautifully concentrated Pinot laden with summerfruit coulis characteristics and a slight savoury twist. Very youthful yet still very drinkable.
Deputy Editor, decanter.com
Viña de Nora, Nora de Neve, Rias Baixas, 2007
A stunner. Everyone these days knows how good Rias Baixas can be when it's given a chance and this wine proved it. Wonderful, fresh, exotic fruits and Piel de Sapo melons, with weight on the palate, but it had such wonderful balance and a citrusy acidity that went on and on. There is oak here, but it is exceptionally well handled and, like good white Burgundy, only heightened the experience.