Tastings Director, Decanter magazine
Harlan Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 1994
From one of the great vintages of Napa, the 1994 is still holding together. More of a Bordeaux style than a Napa fruit bomb, the wine still has lots of complexity with some dark fruit characters and enticing aromas of tobacco; the acidity is still very much alive.
Tastings Executive, Decanter magazine
Barossa Valley Estate, Ebenezer Shiraz 2001
Cracked open on a grey, drizzly afternoon, this matched the mood perfectly. Pure and crunchy violet fruit, peppery spice on the back of the palate, vibrant, lifted flavours and breezy acidity – they were all there, as was a nice level of freshness that helped it slip down even more easily. It was a bit like a warm blanket
Chateau d’Angludet 2005
There are those who would look askance at opening this superb Margaux Cru Bourgeois so young…but…what a fine herby, almost garriguey nose and delicious, meaty, spicy, aromatic mouthful it offers! We had it over a weekend lunch with a robust beef ragu pasta, which went perfectly with the strong dark cooked blackberry fruit and firm tannins. Too young? Of course. This wine will last and last. I won’t be opening another for another year…
Acting Assistant Editor, Decanter Magazine
Casa Valduga, Identidade Single-Vineyard Arinarnoa, Encruzilhada do Sul, Brazil 2006
A week spent in Brazil’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sul was a real eye-opener in terms of varietal diversity. None more so than at this family estate, where the Identidade label showcases three very underrated grapes: Marselan, Ancelotta and Arinarnoa. The first two I’ve tasted before – and are increasing in popularity in this burgeoning wine country – but the latter, a cross between Merlot and Petit Verdot is a one I’d never come across, and is unique to Valduga. A lifted boysenberry, mineral nose leads to ripe, red cherry fruit and white pepper balanced by firm acidity and soft tannins. The alcohol is a touch warm at 14% but it would make a great match with a churrasco of barbecued pork.
Deputy Editor, decanter.com
Christophe Pacalet, Chiroubles, 2006
I found this a very interesting wine. Although very reductive, it opens out given time and reveals itself as quite a serious Beaujolais (and far, far away from a ‘nouveau’ style). Drinking this, I began to understand why some people might draw parallels with Pinot Noir (I don’t, I must admit, try very much Beaujolais). Very attractive red berry fruit and cherry characters abound. It’s quite deep and complex too. Not only enjoyable, this was an eye-opener. Mea culpa, Beaujolais.