Fine wines of the week: Top Premium reviews

Fine wines of the week: Top Premium reviews

Had a busy week but still want to enjoy excellent wine? Here are some highlights from the wine reviews published online exclusively for Decanter Premium subscribers in the past seven days, from a 21-vintage vertical of Pomerol’s La Conseillante to our full report on Chablis 2017.

For the dinner table…or a quiet afternoon by the fire

Jane Anson’s 21-vintage vertical tasting of La Conseillante in Pomerol threw up some fascinating results. As is so often the case, several so-called lesser vintages were found to be tasting extremely well; the 2008 being a case in point. But we’ve picked out La Conseillante 1998 below. It was a particularly good vintage in Pomerol and a ‘stunning wine’, according to Anson. A centrepiece for the Christmas or Thanksgiving table? The 2001 would also be a strong bet.

Napa Cabernet comes with a bold reputation, but Ronan Sayburn MS picked out the ‘dense and multilayered’ 2011 vintage of Joseph Phelps’ lauded Insignia wine as worthy of closer attention.

California experienced a cooler vintage in 2011 – a year since eclipsed by the heights hit in 2012 and 2013 in particular. This has produced a lighter and more refined style of Insignia ‘than one might expect’, wrote Sayburn. See more of his Napa Cabernet ratings here.

Yalumba’s new flagship The Caley is now in its second vintage of release and the wine understandably dominated attention at the launch of the Yalumba’s new top-end collection.

But we found it just as interesting to read Sarah Ahmed’s write-up of Yalumba’s brilliant Virgilius Viognier 2016, from Eden Valley. At £31 per bottle – $42 in the US – this looks like a relative bargain, too.

For the cellar

Looking for an anniversary or birth year wine? There has been a lot of noise about the Port 2016 vintage, the first widespread declaration since the vaunted 2011s – albeit several houses declared at least a portion of their crop in 2015.

Quantities in 2016 are relatively small in many cases, but our expert Richard Mayson wrote, ‘Some wines are alarmingly attractive already, but have the poise and presence to last. I will hazard more than a guess to say that many 2016s will be good to drink relatively early (perhaps from the mid-2020s) but the best have the balance to keep for decades.’

Graham’s ‘The Stone Terraces’ 2016  and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2016 topped Mayson’s list.

At the other end of the wine spectrum, Tim Atkin MW has picked out some excellent Chablis 2017 wines, although yields are constrained; some of you may remember the dramatic photos of icicle-encased vine shoots following spring frosts in that year’s growing season.

Atkin identified Domaine François Raveneau’s Les Clos Grand Cru 2017 as one of the wines of the vintage. ‘It would be a crime to drink it young,’ he wrote. You’ll have to make your own mind up about that, and you can see more Chablis 2017 top scorers here.


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