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What we’ve been drinking (20-27 March 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

Sarah Kemp

Publishing Director

   Chateau Pavie 2006, St Emilion, Bordeaux

Before Hugh Johnson’s glittering lunch at the George V host Gerard Perse put on a vertical tasting of Chateau Pavie. Perse has been heavily criticised for blockbuster extracted wines but the wine which I wish I was in my cellar for future drinking was his 2006. First impression, elegant, then fresh spicey exotic nose, palate a beautifully balanced wine with finesse and poise. Very drinkable.

Amy Wislocki

Managing Editor

   Bollinger, Reserve Wine, Aÿ 1990

At a masterclass on Bollinger’s Special Cuvée, chef de cave Matthieu Kauffmann explained the importance of using older reserve wines in the blend – an impressive 50% of the total blend of the non-vintage is made up of various reserve wines. The wines of Aÿ add complexity to the blend, he said, presenting two reserve wines from the grand cru village, one from 2004 and this incredible wine from 1990. With a lovely golden colour, it had wonderful and complex aromas and flavours of spicy gingerbread, dried fruits, honey, vanilla and apricots. The acidity was fresh and the finish lingering. Absolutely delicious, and made even more so by knowing that this was rare chance to taste a blending wine that can never usually be enjoyed in isolation. Sadly there won’t be much of it left now, so Kauffman will have some hard decisions about where to use the last precious drops!

Guy Woodward

Editor, Decanter magazine

   Yering Station Pinot Noir 2006, Yarra Valley

Listening to the dramatic trials and tribulations endured by Victoria winemakers during the recent bushfires brings home the fragility of a winemaker’s existence… and more besides. It’s impossible to fathom the trauma of producers whose livelihood was threatened, or families who lost fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. But as a small tribute or token, I opened a bottle of Yering Station’s 2006 Pinot, from the Yarra Valley, enjoyed its bright fruit and earthy tones, and sat back to enjoy one of the simpler forms of human endeavour – Liverpool’s humiliation of Real Madrid in this week’s Champions League.

Tina Gellie

Acting Assistant Editor

   Domaine Grisard, Persan, Cuvée Prestige, Savoie, France 2006

Many of France’s most interesting wines sadly never make it this side of the Channel, driven back by the hoard of mediocre clarets and insipid whites consumers seem to favour. Thankfully, we’re free to discover these gems on holiday – and take them back (if you can bundle them up well enough in your luggage). Our chalet of skiers and boarders enjoyed numerous bottles of this wine on a recent trip to Val d’Isère – its spicy aroma, cherry and leathery fruit flavours and lively acidity was a winner with boar, venison, cheese and other local delicacies. Persan, long overlooked by Mondeuse or Gamay in the Savoie red stakes, is an ancient, obscure variety now enjoying a revival in France. Let’s hope that interest stretches to the UK.

Christelle Guibert

Tastings Director

   Etienne Suzzoni, Clos Culombo, Corse Calvi 2007

Corsica remain a well-kept secret wine producing region and is now making some very exciting wines as proved by this Grenache, Syrah and the local Niellucio blend enjoyed last night at the new-ish tapas bar, Terroir.

The wines displays earthy aroma first but then opens up onto classic red cherry fruits and floral characters. The palate is full and rich and has a meaty complexity to it. Great with charcuterie and cheese platters.

Mark O’Halleron

Tastings executive

   Wynns, Michael Shiraz, Coonawarra 2003

Came across this almost by accident behind the bread bin – as you do – and wasn’t able to resist the temptation to unwrap and sample, even if it was only Thursday evening. This is the best Shiraz that Wynns have to offer. It’s very light and fresh (13.5%) and has started to show some nice peppery dashes with good, juicy blueberry flavours underneath. However, it didn’t really hit the spot as I was expecting. Perhaps it was my assumptions that were off kilter, or the fact that it was nudging 9pm and the palate was fatigued. Anyway, something seemed missing and a touch hollow. Quite possibly when I polish off the bottle this evening after it’s had time to stretch its legs, things will smell and taste a lot different.

Lucy Shaw

Editorial Assistant

   Nicolas Feuillatte NV Rosé Champagne

An attractive copper pink colour showing lovely fresh summer fruits on the nose, with strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants in the mix. Vibrant and youthful, the red fruit flavours burst forth on the palate of this bright buoyant number. The finish shows toasty notes, with a floral hint. Elegant and refreshing, it’s the perfect spring sunshine wine.

Adam Lechmere

Editor, decanter.com

   Chateau Latour a Pomerol 1996, Pomerol, Bordeaux

We had this with magrets of wild boar at the Don restaurant in the City of London. Deep colour and a splendid nose of leather and spice, and a gorgeous, full-bodied, meaty palate with wonderful dark fruits and a hint of wintry, raisiny flavours. This is a gamey, autumn or winter wine – a chilly day in March is about the latest it should be drunk. Opulent.

Oliver Styles

Deputy Editor, decanter.com

   Dry River Estate Gewurztraminer, Martinborough, 2008

At the homely Dry River autumn release tasting in Auckland’s Old Government House this was not the highlight of the 4-wine lineup – that went to the superlative late harvest Riesling. But this wine stood out, for me, as a stunning example of a restrained Gewurtz. With lovely, soft aromas of rosewater and ginger it had a gentle body, without the overpowering phenolics that can blight the variety, giving way to a slightly spicy, gingerbread finish.

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