What we’ve been drinking (14 – 21 August 2009)

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

Lucy Shaw

Editorial Assistant, Decanter

   Vittorio Innocenti Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2004

It’s always exciting deferring to the sommelier and seeing what they pull out of the bag. So it was last night, when a journalist companion and I dined at the Criterion in Piccadilly. Founded in 1894, the Neo-Byzantine interior lends the room a palatial air, with its marble walls and a gold leaf mosaic ceiling. Such lavish surroundings called for an equally epic gastronomic experience – would the wine reach such heights? I took the glass in my hand and sniffed. A delicious array of flavours danced out of the glass – savoury game, cedarwood, cigar box. Then I sipped – tobacco, sour cherries, liquorice and spice, with a silky finish. Such complexity came as a surprise, and mingled well with my fillet steak with seared foie gras. Think I’ll let the sommelier choose more often…

Stuart Peskett

Acting Sub-editor, Decanter

   Bollinger, La Grande Année 1999

Still a baby even at 10 years old, this has the trademark Bolly bready richness on the nose, but is incredibly elegant on the palate, far more than the standard Special Cuvée. Very fresh, with alluring honey and peach flavours, this wine will continue to age gracefully for years to come – if you can wait.

Tina Gellie

Chief Sub-editor, Decanter

   Vestini Campagnano, Pallagrello Bianco, Terre del Volturno IGT, Campania, Italy 2002

A friend who’s ‘not that into wine’ brought this over to an impromptu tasting one evening (that also featured an excellent Croatian red that may feature in these pages soon), saying that it was one of a few wines she really enjoyed. I can see why. Long thought to have disappeared, the ancient grape of Pallagrello is making a bit of a comeback around Caserta, north of Naples. (Apparently the Bourbon royals served it to guests of honour, so hopefully my friends were suitably impressed). Weighty, with a waxy texture and bright seam of acidity, the palate was full of creamy cashews, toasty popcorn, juicy tropical and melon fruit and white flowers. It was probably a few years past its best, so I’ll be seeking out a more recent vintage to compare; those looking for a unique alternative to Chardonnay, should also give it a try.

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