There is only one magazine I have been receiving longer than Decanter Wine and that is Private Eye which I started a subscription to as I left school over 50 years ago. As I said in a company blog a couple of weeks ago, if you want to be remotely serious about wine, Decanter is a must-have. I get almost all my ideas about what to drink from it, and I follow Steven Spurrier, the veteran wine writer avidly.
In fact, when I lived in Paris for a couple of years as a trainee at Le Crillon in the Place de La Concorde, Steven had little wine shop very close by called Les Caves de la Madeleine where he sold stunning wines, and a couple of hours there were a total joy. He’s still going strong and he last year was voted the Decanter Man of the Year.
As soon as the magazine arrives, I go straight to the ‘Weekday wines’ page. Having made my choice, I go and find the product and always enjoy them. Last edition there was an excellent article about Spain, and I purchased a few bottles. Always well described, and priced so you make an informed judgement on how much you want to pay. Easy.
My recommendations (all via Decanter) to my company a couple of weeks ago were;
Waitrose Cava Brut Castillo Perelada
Lots of fresh citrus flavours with a hint of nuts in this family-run winery. Minimum of 12 moths aging on the lees giving a subtle but complex crisp finish. £9.49 for one of the best cavas
Torres Vina Esmeralda 2016
One of the most famous names in Spanish wine, this is consistently good. No holiday is complete without some of this, and readily available in UK for years.
Honey and grapefruit flavours with a bit of spice. 90% Moscatel and 10% Gewürztraminer gives a wonderful grapey wine. Sorry but its Waitrose again, but firstly I live very close to one, but more importantly, it’s presently on offer at £6.80, down from £9.19!
Roqueta Lafou el Sender Terra Alta 2015
The Roqueta family have been producing wines for ages and have managed to make a red wine with richness and bags of flavour. Blueberry, liquorice, green peppers. Somebody at Waitrose has a special relationship with Spanish wines, as they get some great value products, and this really fits the bill. £10.99
Ian Mitchell, Chairman, Bartlett Mitchell
Well spotted Ian. Spanish wines have become really popular, and also excellent value over the last few years. Get them whilst you can!
The 2017 harvest was very difficult in Spain, with volumes down by nearly 20% on 2016 and 17.6% on the average previous 6 years. Pressure is not just on prices but on selection too and these are slowly working through the supply chain!
Alistair Morrell, Hospitality & Catering News, Wine & Drinks Editor