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Steven Spurrier’s wines of the month – November

Decanter’s long-standing consultant editor and 2017 Decanter Hall of Fame Award recipient picks fine wines to drink now and others to lay down, all priced from £25 upwards...

From the cellar

Le Pin, Pomerol, Bordeaux 2008

On 10 July, Berry Bros & Rudd’s Napoleon Cellar saw the launch of Fiona Morrison-Thienpont MW’s book 10 Great Wine Families under the Académie du Vin Library imprint.

The venue and the impressive guest list were well matched by the wines presented, one from each family, seven members of which had travelled to London for the occasion. Egon Müller’s QBA Riesling 2018, Familia Torres’ Varietat Recuperada No23 Forcada 2015 and Weingut Emmerich Knoll’s Loibner Grüner Veltliner Vinothekfüllung

2009 set the scene for the whites, followed by Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair’s Clos du Château Vosne-Romanée 2010, L’Ermita 2015 from the Palacios dynasty, Gaja’s Sorì San Lorenzo 2015, Thienpont’s Le Pin, Pomerol 2008 in magnum, Château de Beaucastel’s Hommage à Jacques Perrin 2007 (magnum), Frescobaldi’s CastelGiocondo Ripe al Convento 2006 (magnum), to conclude with Dirk Niepoort’s 2017 Vintage Port, also in magnums.

From the underrated 2008 vintage, Le Pin picked a small crop of 100% Merlot in the first days of October. With malolactic and ageing in 100% new oak for 15 months, this has a superb aromatic intensity on the palate, spice and elegance on the finish – a totally classic wine with wonderful precision to match its natural warmth.

Probably Pomerol’s wine of the vintage, with another decade in front of it.

For the cellar

Domaine Drouhin, Laurène Pinot Noir, Oregon, USA 2015

Created in 1987 on Oregon’s Dundee Hills by Robert Drouhin, for whom the gentle slopes overlooking the Willamette Valley bore a striking resemblance to his native Burgundy, Domaine Drouhin now covers 52ha of mostly Pinot Noir with a little Chardonnay.

Robert named his daughterm Véronique as winemaker from the start and the Cuvée Laurène’s first vintage was 1992, the year Véronique’s eldest daughter was born.

A very strict barrel selection, it has been made every year since, winning regular citations as one of America’s best-expressed examples of Pinot Noir.

2015 was an exceptional vintage, matching if not surpassing the superb 2014, the wine described by Véronique as: ‘Intensely aromatic and complex on the nose, the palate is captivating, displaying great concentration with refined texture, beautifully balanced with a long aftertaste.’

While being totally Oregonian, it could match a premier cru from Vosne-Romanée. Thirty-two years on, Robert Drouhin states: ‘Skills get more refined, methods evolve, but what’s important is what is transmitted from generation to generation: the search for excellence, the intellectual curiosity, the sense of values, passion, the respect for terroir.’

The Cuvée Laurène 2015 reflects this well: 94pts, drink 2020-2030, £47-£50 from AG Wines or Hic.

The Spurrier Selection

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