Food & Wine

Decanter September 2019

Published by TI Media Limited The world’s best wine magazine. It is simply the “wine bible”. Every month it provides recommendations on the world’s finest wines and tells you where you can find them. From top Bordeaux to the best value wine on the shelf, Decanter guides you through a maze of wine to help you find the right wine for you. It also offers interviews with leading wine personalities, in-depth guides to the wine regions and the latest wine news.

United Kingdom
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12 Issues

in this issue

5 min.
month in wine

France reacts to effects of climate change A potential landmark vote has seen seven new grape varieties approved for Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur appellation wines, with the aim of meeting the challenges of climate change. Winemakers voted in favour of the seven grape varieties – including Marselan, Touriga Nacional, Albariño and Petit Manseng – according to a statement from the Syndicat of AP Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur. France’s national appellation authority, INAO, must still give final approval to the plan; however, it marks a groundbreaking move from winemakers against the negative impacts of climate change. Benefits of the proposed grapes range from strong natural resistance to diseases, such as grey rot and mildew, to an ability to thrive in warmer conditions. If approved, they could constitute up to 10% of the final blend…

1 min.
in brief

French Michelin-starred restaurant Maison Rostang has confirmed that thieves stole €400,000 worth of fine wine between 30 June and 1 July. Maison Rostang said that ‘irreplaceable’ vintages produced by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Petrus, Latour and Lafite were stolen via a hole that had been cut into the wall of the cellars under the streets of Paris. The heavy Burgundy frosts of 2016 have resulted in a ‘one-off’ blend from seven Montrachet grand cru vineyard owners, including Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Leflaive. Low yields led to the producers putting their harvests together to create just under 700 bottles of wine, titled ‘L’Exceptionnelle Vendange des 7 Domaines’ and priced at €5,550 each. Researchers have found wine residue on pottery fragments salvaged from a Celtic settlement at Vix-Mont Lassois, northwest…

3 min.
your letters

History lesson I am sure all Decanter readers will wish John Stimpfig well on his retirement from your columns. His reflections on three decades of wine made fascinating reading. It would be great to see more on the history of wine in the magazine. The August issue also mentioned the rapid expansion in UK land under vine. It would be interesting to see a global chart of the changes this century. I assume the trend has generally been upwards, but it would be fascinating to see the details. And what about the ups and downs of the price of a bottle of wine in relation to incomes? Were fine clarets and Burgundies always out of reach for anyone not in the top 1%? And how has the pattern of wine drinking…

2 min.
hugh johnson

What’s changed?’ is the first question I’m asked. Changed, that is, in the six years between the seventh and eighth (just out) editions of The World Atlas of Wine – or sometimes between this joint Jancis/Johnson number and my first edition, 48 years ago. Yes, I’ve been writing the same book for almost half a century. ‘Everything’ is the glib answer. ‘The climate’ is another. Big changes: yes, of course. New Zealand had a postage-stamp slot in 1971, and China, of course, no slot at all. Burgundy? Bordeaux? It’s not mappable physical changes so much as details, techniques, attitudes and atmosphere. And certainly extensions: into the Bordeaux Côtes (Castillon, Francs, Cadillac), where the wine now is at least as good as some of the stars of the 1970s. Southwards in Burgundy.…

11 min.
californian premium rhône reds

ACCORDING TO PATRICK J Comiskey’s book American Rhône, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Rhône varietal bottling of the modern era in the US – a Santa Clara Valley Grenache by David Bruce in 1969. In just five decades, Californian wines based on classic Rhône varieties, or ‘Rhône Rangers’ as they’re known, have gone through an evolution that’s as rapid as it is dramatic. Though they’ve occasionally impressed, I’ve always gravitated back to the Rhône: its wines have a consistency, balance and finesse that Californian Rhône styles have – until recently – often lacked. But a new generation has struck gold. Over the past decade, more and more wines have been emerging that combine drinkability with uniqueness of expression. I blind tasted 35 Californian Rhône-style reds, with 15 genuine…

1 min.
rhône ringers: the verdict

Two Châteauneuf-du-Papes scored highly in the tasting, stylistically different but both unmistakably Châteauneuf. Domaine de la Janasse Vieilles Vignes 2017 (95pts) had natural power and concentration with an inner tension that was rare among the Californian Grenachebased wines. Domaine Les Cailloux 2016 (93pts) had a harmony, ease, and tannic refinement that shouted Châteauneuf. Similarly, Domaine Maby Bel Canto 2016 (90pts) was archetypal Lirac: cool, silky and stylish. I included Domaine des Bernardins, Beaumes-de-Venise Rouge 2017 (94pts) to see how it would compare, as the producer doesn’t destem. It did well; the stems weren’t the main focus of the wine, just adding texture and floral lift. It was the best-value wine of the tasting (€13.50 at Leclerc in France). The Fontaine du Clos, Reflets de l’Ame, Vacqueyras 2016 (92pts) was a…