The summer season has finally arrived in England, and so here are a few reflections on recently tasted Decanter award winners. Christelle Guibert from Decanter gave the Oxford Wine Club an overview of a selection of this year’s award winners as well as insight into her own entry into the world of wine making.
My current favourite chilled drink has to be the Greek, Argyros Vin Santo 20 year barrel aged wine from Santorini. The grapes which grow in rounded bushy baskets on the ground owing to the high winds are hand picked early in the morning and have no irrigation to help them develop. They are then dried in the sun for a couple of weeks. After 17 years in French oak casks and 3 in bottle, it is nectar in a bottle. Some spice, delicious figginess and a touch of coffee on the nose. At approx £54 a bottle it is not a cheap Vin Santo, but it is utterly delicious.
At the opposite end of the scale as an interesting but not successful experiment is the Gusbourne 2014 Pinot Noir, from Boot Hill Vineyard here in England. Gusbourne is quite well known for its Blanc de Blanc but this foray into Pinot needs some further work I think. Despite the South facing slope, the stainless steel and then 10 months in old oak, this was rather insipid and lacked sufficient interest on the palate. Even by Pinot standards it was very pale in colour, barely darker than the label shown below.
The club was also delighted to try the 2014 Muscadet Guibert made by Christelle, from a tiny 1 hectare parcel of land with 65yr old vines from which she has produced 2000 bottles of old style excellent muscadet. This new venture is hand produced, biodynamic, using natural yeast and a large concrete egg. The wine has a floral character, is at the fuller end of muscadet and has a lovely clean finish. I do hope that at some point it will become commercially available. Although this was not entered into the Decanter awards, for obvious reasons, in yearsr to come it should be!