Acting Assistant Editor, Decanter magazine
Riposte, The Foil Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills, South Australia 2008
Hearing about Adelaide’s mid-40°C heatwave from winemaker Tim Knappstein over lunch, this seemed the ideal wine choice to inject some Aussie summer into a cold London winter’s day. With bracing acidity and ripe passion fruit, gooseberry and grassy notes, this cool-climate wine is a perfect midway between New Zealand and Loire Sauvignons, but shows better texture than both. Not overt in power, but not shy either, it’s a refreshing, clean mouthful that’s a tasty partner to as diverse a menu as goat’s cheese, scallops and antipasto.
Seghesio Zinfandel 2006, Sonoma County, California
I had this over a steak lunch during London’s great ‘snow event’ of February 2008. The drifts piled up outside as this delicious, enormous (16%) wine went down inside. A wonderful peppery, chocolate nose, and a palate of unbelievable power and finesse. The weight of alcohol is there, to be sure, but in no way does it overwhelm the fruit flavours (black cherry and blackberry), the chocolate and zingy spice, and the delightful ripe tannins.
Tastings Executive, Decanter magazine
Yalumba, The Menzies, Coonawarra 2005
Barely on the market so, unsurprisingly, this has a good ten years left in its legs. It’s an opulent wine with creamy, licquer-ish, spicy Cabernet fruit with alluring whiffs of dark chocolate truffles and spice. The flavours are dense and concentrated but retain a pleasing freshness, and plenty of New World sheen. A luxurious wine.
Deputy Editor, decanter.com
Robert Keenan Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa, 2005
This goes down as one of those wines I should have opened in a lot later than I did. I have a soft spot for Napa Cabernet, and this showed classic Napa berry fruit with a wonderful balance and structure. Although it teetered on rusticity, it was a joy to drink. It would have been more interesting, however, to taste it a few more years down the line. It certainly had the legs to stand up for a few more years.