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... What we've been drinking index
Chief Sub Editor, Decanter
Roger Brun, Grand Cru Réserve, Champagne, France NV
I could mention the copious quantities of glühwein consumed on a recent ski trip to Switzerland, or the rather mediocre Dôle washed down with a boozy fondue, but I think I’ll stick to this more serious wine, enjoyed on a whim one weekday evening. I didn’t look much at the label when popping it in the fridge to chill, so didn’t notice the ‘Grand Cru Réserve’ wording. Consequently, I was very pleasantly surprised by its powerful richness and development: the blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay is made from only from fruit from the grand cru village of Aÿ, using 50% of reserve wine. It had comforting apple crumble flavours of bruised Granny Smith fruit, digestive biscuits and a creamy note, enlivened by crisp acidity and a firm mousse that ‘lingled’ on the palate – my new word for a lingering tingle – and easily said as you enjoy more than a few glasses of this!
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet/Shiraz, South Australia 1993
I’d tasted this actual bottle a couple of years ago when I picked it up at one of Penfolds’ recorking clinics in London, where collectors turn up with holdalls full of rare Penfolds wines. 90% of them bring Grange (to be assessed a wine has to be at least 15 years old). Peter Gago, Penfolds chief winemaker, demonstrated the process: opening, tasting, recorking and certifying. Anyway, I’d tasted it before, as I said, but I’d forgotten what it was like, and this time I was at home cooking Sunday lunch, three pheasant pungently roasting, guests arriving, and in any case nothing could have prepared me for the aroma as I pulled the new cork, stamped ‘2008’. Now that is the definition of power with finesse: deep purple, almost black in colour, opulent, smoky blackberry and blackcurrant, intense black cherry, chocolate, spice, sinewy tannins. It was a uniquely delicious wine, and was wonderful with the very well-hung game. I can’t really describe it. The Penfolds official tasting note talks about aromas of ‘Japanese satsuma plums’. So that’s what they taste like.
Tastings Director, Decanter
Olivier Leflaive, Champ Gain, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru 2002
What a treat; I had the chance to relish this fine bottle over lunch at the Harrow in Little Bedwin, the Michelin star gastro pub in Wilshire. The wine exceeded my expectation; the nose displayed lots of complexity with a fine minerality. Ripe fruit, buttery and hazelnut characters fulfilled the palate wrapped with a rich structure and layers of complexity; the wine still has a refreshing zesty finish carried by the acidity.
Editorial assistant, Decanter
Marqués de Murrieta, Capellanía Reserva, Rioja, 2004
Monday night was momentous – a rite of passage. I hosted my first dinner party. Admittedly it was only for four people (myself included), but for someone who has yet to wean herself off her university diet of cheesy nachos and Super Noodles, it was a big deal. I picked this wine to match my starter: eggs en cocotte with my secret ingredient, truffle oil. Made from single vineyard Virua, the wine first wooed me at Tapas Fantasticas in Brick Lane last summer. I remember being seriously impressed by its depth and complexity. Luckily for me, it didn’t disappoint this time round. It had an alluring waxy mouthfeel, with notes of fennel and honey wrapped around a buttery oak core. Broad, round, and creamy on the palate with citrus, vanilla and hints of spice and minerality, the wine had delicacy despite its richness, and faint traces of oxidization only added to its charm. But what of the eggs? Annoyingly, I had let the yolks go hard whilst waiting for the soldiers to toast, but they proved a hit and disappeared quickly from their ramekins. Thanks Nigella.