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...
Feudi di San Gregorio, Serpico 2004
During a recent long weekend in Venice I made it my mission (between bellinis) to try the local wines – from honeyed Soaves and sprightly Valpolicellas to delicious dusky Amarones, my new favourite wine. The apogee of the trip however came from further down the boot – Campania, through a recommendation by the young sommelier at Fortuny, the Cipriani hotel’s restaurant. Made from 100% Aglianico harvested in part from century-old pre-phylloxera vines, the nose was a complex heady mix of wild cherry, damsons, black pepper and savoury meaty notes. Rich and full bodied, the palate showed delicious toasty notes and soft vanilla from the oak, along with lashings of spice, violets, tobacco, cedar, earthy cocoa and coffee. Dense, mouth filling and well-balanced, it reached its crescendo with a lingering licorice finish and proved a fantastic bedfellow for my lamb and crushed pistachios. Looking out onto the moon drenched lagoon while enjoying my last glass was one of those rare moments you wish you could bottle.
Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso, Castelliere delle Guaite, Montresor 2004
We had this on a Wednesday night, if I remember, with a leek and pancetta risotto, made by me, and rather good, though I say it myself. Superb dark wine with dense perfumed nose and palate. Very intense ripe fruit and juicy tannins and lovely long finish. Delicious.
Chief Sub Editor, Decanter
KWV, Jerepigo Muscadel, Boberg Superior, South Africa 1953
After a fantastic morning touring the vineyards and cellars of Gusbourne Estate in Appledore, Kent (including harvesting a row of Chardonnay for one of the cuvées of fine sparkling wine) owner Andrew Weeber – a South African who’s owned the estate since 2003 – brought out a number of wines for us hardy workers to enjoy over lunch. This was uncovered in his cellar of riches brought over from the Cape. If you had to make a scene from the perfume of a wine, this conjures up a respectable elder gent in tawny-orange velvet robe and slippers, smoking a pipe and sipping Port while relaxing in his old leather chair, perhaps finishing off the last of his treacle tart. Warming alcohol, but well matched even at this stage of its life, with choc-covered liquorice notes, prune and fig fruitiness, cinnamon, white pepper and even a bit of chilli heat on the finish. A remarkable wine that caused such discussion (and such refilling of glasses) that we almost missed our train back to London. More’s the pity.
Managing Editor, Decanter
Tyrell’s Winemaker’s Selection Vat 47 Chardonnay, Hunter Valley 2006
I caught up with Bruce Tyrell at the Fells tasting in London. His Vat 1 Semillon has to be one of Australia’s best whites, and has become the winery’s calling card. But this Chardonnay impressed me every bit as much – it has the classic toasty, hazelnutty, buttery character that you want from a New World Chardonnay, with lovely freshness at the same time. The word ‘freshness’ came up in our chat over and over. Tyrell’s is working on a blended white at the moment, convinced that today’s wine lovers want a fresher white with clean, lifted, aromatic character. The company has also made big changes in its red winemaking over the past few years, introducing bigger barrels to give the reds freshness and lift. Great to see that one of Australia’s big names is by no means resting on its laurels. Less well-known but equally delicious wines I tasted at Fells included the delicious, keenly priced Douro white from Symington Estates, Altano Branco; an incredible Madeira, Blandy’s Harvest Malmsey 2001; and a fantastic value sherry that Waitrose sells for around a fiver, Barbadillo’s Manzanilla Solear. I can still taste the salty tang now…