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...
Finca de Arantei, Orballo, Rias Baixas, 2007
Stag parties aren’t normally the most reliable reflection of drinking habits, but, attending such an event this weekend with a clutch of contemporaries provided a useful barometer of middle-aged men. (I recently suffered the indignity of filling out the 18-35 age bracket on a form, only to be prompted into having to tick the next one up.) Charged with purchasing the wine for the event, I veered towards the staples of claret and port, in line with the country gent theme of the weekend (a shooting party in Lincolnshire). The surprise hit of the night, though, was a Spanish Albariño, which the assorted gathering declared ‘floral’, ‘honeyed’ and ‘refined’. Not words you normally associate with a stag party, but then that’s what middle-age does to you. Or maybe it just benefited from being drunk at the start of the evening…)
Stag’s Leap Cask 23 1997, Napa Valley, USA
From Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, which produced the winner of the now-legendary Paris Tasting in 1976, Cask 23 is one of the best Cabernets in the world – and 1997 is one of the great Napa vintages. We had this at London restaurant Texture, celebrating Decanter’s winning Best Review Pages at the IPC Awards. And what a wine. It eclipsed many of the very high-class bottles on the table that day. Power and finesse: lots of delicate black fruit and supple tannins, spice and dried fruits, clove and cigar box. Rare, expensive (it’s north of £100 a bottle) and utterly delicious.
Etim 2007 Rosato (Montsant)
Drunk over lunch at London’s Fino restaurant, this Garnacha/Syrah blend fulfilled both criteria: a refreshing glass on the hottest day of the year, and something with enough body to cope with the robust Spanish food being served, without that blast of over-the-top fruit that ruins some rosés. Perfect summer drinking.
Chief Sub Editor, Decanter
Henschke, Julius Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia 2006
Leading Barossa wine couple Stephen and Prue Henschke were in London recently, and while I’ve been lucky enough to appreciate the Shirazes for which they are famed (the sexy herbal spicyness of the Mount Edelstone or the juicy plum pudding notes of the Hill of Grace, for example) it’s been a long time between drinks since I’ve tried many of their underrated whites. Julius Riesling is the most noted, a single vineyard of 50-year-old vines, and the 2008 is superb: a lifted, slatey, frangipani nose leads on to a concentrated, white pepper and lime-cordial palate. Crisp and dry with a lovely long finish and many years left ahead of it – if you can manage to keep away that long. A great value drop to impress your guests at the next dinner party.