What we’ve been drinking (1 May – 8 May 2009)

At Decanter we all love our wine, and every week members of the Decanter team - from editorial assistants to publishing director Sarah Kemp - tell us what they've been enjoying at home and when they go out...

What we’ve been drinking index

Tina Gellie

Acting Assistant Editor, Decanter

   McHenry Hohnen, Rocky Road Zinfandel, Margaret River, Western Australia 2008

Zinfandel is a variety normally associated with California in the form of 16%+ jammy, alcoholic monsters, so I was dubious when offered this by winemaker David Hohnen during a recent trip to London. I shouldn’t have been worried though: Hohnen, who before starting this winery with his daughter Freya and brother-in-law Murray McHenry, founded and nurtured Margaret River’s Cape Mentelle and Marlborough’s icon Cloudy Bay, is a man that knows wine. At a tame – almost elegant – 14.5%abv, this is all pure, primary, crushed raspberry fruit. Very lush and ripe, with enough acidity to balance and sweet teasing spices. This vintage is due to the market in August, and puts many a Californian Zin to shame. Enjoy with venison or game birds.

Adam Lechmere

Editor, decanter.com

   Piper-Heidsieck Rare, Champagne, 1999

Served at the Sommelier of the Year competition at the Tate Modern last night, the jewel in the PH crown. The Rare has wonderful biscuity aromas on the nose and palate, followed by delicate citrus fruits, caramel and peach, all set off with tiny bubbles, creamy mousse and wonderfully melded acids. Superb, but one cavill – the name. It’s almost unpronounceable if you’re speaking English: calling it ‘Rare’ as if ordering steak sounds daft, and giving it the full throat treatment sounds pretentious. But as with all great wines, you want to drink it, not talk about it…

Oliver Styles

Deputy Editor, decanter.com

   Elephant Hill, Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand 2008

You’ve got to see this place to believe it. A huge multi-million dollar winery (that resembles a huge, spring-green warehouse) sits amid rows of young vines. For sheer boldness, you’ve got to hand it to owners Reydan and Roger Weiss. Anyway, onto the wine. A nice varietal nose with barrel aromas but a great freshness coming through. This wine has great texture and mouthfeel, with length and finesse. It’s a style I’m liking more and more (especially Cloudy Bay’s fantastic Te Koko, and Seresin’s Marama).

Lucy Shaw

Editoral Assistant, Decanter

   El Gordito Tinto 2005 Calatayud

Made by Pamela Geddes, a jovial Barcelona-based Scot, I swigged El Gordito (the little fat one) between chunks of tortilla and juicy gambas at El Camino Kings Cross. Produced in the exciting Calatayud DO near Zaragoza, it’s a blend of old vine garnacha, syrah and tempranillo. The nose shows dense black fruit, dark chocolate and subtle spices with wonderful ripe blackberries wrapped around smoky oak on the palate. As the name suggests, El Gordito is big but well rounded with ripe dusty tannins and impressive length – olé!

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