Summer tasting of Decanter Award winners

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.

vin santo

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.

guisbourne pinot

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!


Christmas wine wish list

Recent tastings  have lead to the creation of my Christmas wine wish list.  In case you are looking for wine for Christmas here goes.

Owing to an influx of visitors and just because it’s dark and gloomy outside I have taken refuge in several bottles of Cuvee Royale Brut Cremant de Limoux NV (£11.99) – available at Waitrose and  a recent Decanter award winner. Very easily drinkable, reasonable mousse, light on the tongue but with good balance and a world away from the frequently terrible but more popular, now  produced on a truly industrial scale, prosecco.

For a fresh, jammy  and blackcurranty shiraz look no further than The Back Craft Shiraz, Barossa valley, Australia, 2014 (approx £15). This lacked the overwhelming punch of many Australian wines and was all the better for that. This shiraz would work well with game. This is distributed through Boutinot wines.

wine tasting glasses with pen

For laying down I have bought Charmes de Grand Corbin, St.Emilion Grand Cru, 2010 (approx £20). Rather closed at the moment but  has good tannins, length and  a roundness in the mouth. This will, I think, be something to look forward to in another 5 or so years.

Also the Oxford Wine Fair I ordered some delicious orange blossom infused Sauternes, The Reserve Dulong, France 2012  (approx £12) from the Oxford Wine Company which can  be drunk by itself or with Christmas cake or even some decent blue cheese. Incredibly good value sauternes  and I am now doubting that I bought enough!

On a different note all together  at  an Italian restaurant, Micatto’s, in Warwick I drank an excellent Sardinian wine – the simple Cannonau di Sardegna 2013. Cannonau is actually the grenache grape and widely planted across Sardinia. This wine was earthy  with cherry and packed with fruit. tells me you can find it  via for about  £9 a bottle.

wine joke