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...
Weingut Steininger, Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal 2007
Naively falling for the weather forecasters’ optimism, I had been dusting off my picnic hamper this summer. Alas in recent weeks I have spent more time drying if off, with various plans scuppered or aborted halfway through. But on a rare sunny evening I was able to enjoy the charms of a delightfully effervescent Austrian Gruner Veltliner. Tangy, perfumed and flighty, with notes of apple blossom, and a stony but lifted intensity. Not overly showy, but effortlessly transformed my mood to one of radiant serenity.
Domaine de la Fourmente, Nature Visan Rouge 2007, Cotes du Rhone Villages
Lunching at Baltic in Southwark, my hostess announced she hadn’t had breakfast, nor supper the night before, and was hungry enough for the stroganoff. I on the other hand had breakfasted handsomely in the canteen at Decanter HQ, so decided on the sea bass… To go with those two dishes we chose this workmanlike Grenache/Syrah, thinking the Grenache would be juicy and ripe but not overbearing, for the fish (sea bass is quite robust anyway), and the Syrah giving a good bit of body and peppery spice for the meat. Very nice indeed.
Quinta do Crasto, Reserva Old Vines 2007
Crasto’s HQ on the banks of the Douro boasts a decidedly chic infinity pool with stunning view through the valley – it’s a rather nice spot. The wines are similarly impressive. This is a real field blend, with up to 30 different varitals in the mix, making Chateauneuf-du-Pape seem painfully simplistic by comparison. Portuguese through and through, it has a slightly rugged edge, with brambly fruit, wild flower aromas, a touch of violets and plenty of spicy fig and chocolate flavours. This has soul.
Alión, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2004
What I love about this wine (from the team behind the renowned Vega Sicilia) is how it combines its sensual, red-fruit perfume with robustness and great depth. Strawberry and red fruits dominate the nose, and on the palate, red berry fruit and cherries. The beautifully balanced tannins are just right, and the flavour is very complex, with rich, dark, even tarry notes. This has the stamp of Vega all over it – except the price tag.
Chief Sub Editor, Decanter
Stoneleigh, Rapaura Series Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand 2006
In a very Pinot mood of late, I’ve been digging out some good-value New Zealand bottles I had the vision to squirrel away for just such occasions. Stoneleigh’s vineyards, near the Wairau River, are covered with smooth stones, much like in the Rhône, which reflect the sun’s heat during the day, assisting ripening, while the cool nights give the wines – like this one – lovely heady, lifted aromatics. Easy and juicy enough to enjoy on its own, the wine’s concentrated raspberry and black cherry fruit and mineral characters were a perfect match for a hurriedly prepared Thai-inspired duck à l’orange. A wine that proudly flies the Kiwi flag.
Cillar de Silos Torresilo, Ribera del Duero, 2006
Enjoyed with winemakers Oscar and Amelia Aragon during a lunch at the winery hosted by Richard Bigg – a charismatic Hispanophile who runs Spanish restaurant Camino in London’s Kings Cross, or ‘Cruz del Rey’ as he’s renamed it, the wine went wonderfully well with our tender baby lamb. On the nose it showed ripe red and black fruits – strawberries, plums, cherries and a few mulberries thrown in for good measure. On the palate it really comes into its own – the fruit swathed in layers of creamy silk and held up by velvety tannins. Chocolate, mocha, white pepper and earthy spice all force their way forward, along with toasty notes from the French oak rounded off with a deliciously persistent licorice finish. Complex, confident and at the same time very approachable, this wine has impressive structure, arresting intensity and huge ageing potential. You can find it at Camino for £54; a very fair mark up.