What we’re drinking: Our favourite wines
Author: Issariya Morgan
Our experts relish any opportunity to help you discover something new – as much as they love a good wine itself. Here are a few of their favourites, from Bollinger’s lesser-known Pinot Noir to Hambledon’s sparkling wine. So dive in, find out what our team are drinking, and perhaps you’ll find a new favourite, too.
An unexpected red
A still Pinot Noir from Bollinger? Why not. This is 100% Pinot Noir, originating from a single parcel of four hectares called “La Cote aux Enfants” – a very small production dedicated only to the greatest vintages. The result is a concentrated, powerful wine, with great ageing potential. It has an intense ruby colour, and the nose has notes of cloves, spice and pepper, reminiscent of Blaufränkisch (a black-skinned, blackberry-flavoured grape), along with truffles and sweet spices. On the palate, flavours like cherry, kirsch, prunes and hints of rose emerge – very Burgundy. This is, in short, a distinctive red wine from my favourite Champagne producer.
Dario Cinti, Wine Advisor
An English sparkling wine
Having celebrated a “big” birthday recently, I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of 2015 Berry Bros. & Rudd, English Sparkling, Blanc de Blancs by Hambledon. As celebratory bottles go, this one was a triumph. This English expression of Burgundy’s classic white grape (Chardonnay) instantly entices with piquant gooseberry and lychee aromas. If your mouth isn’t watering already, the invigorating acidity carries lemon, biscuit crumb and crisp, green apple flavours onto a creamily smooth finish. A superb, homegrown alternative to Champagne for a celebration, or something to make “Fish Friday” that little bit more decadent – it’s the perfect accompaniment to cod and chips!
Alexandra Gray de Walden, Product Master Data Administator
A comforting classic
In times of turbulence and uncertainty, an approach I sometimes favour is to lean into the comfort of the classics. From the Beatles to Beethoven, Mark Twain to toad-in-the-hole, familiarity can be just the tonic for a weary soul. Very few distilleries can even attempt to claim the plaudits heaped upon The Macallan. My current preferred bottle, kept always within reach, is the lusciously fruity Double Cask 12-year-old.
Rob Whitehead, Spirits Buyer
A poignant tribute
2015 Saumur Blanc, Chenin du Puy
We were all saddened at the recent news that Loire winemaker Frédéric Mabileau died in a light aircraft crash. As our Loire Buyer, Adam Bruntlett, said: “He was someone who was always asking questions of himself, always trying to improve and was open to hearing new ideas.” Last week, I drank his 2015 Saumur Blanc, Chenin du Puy, which I had picked up in our Summer Sale. Sadly, it has now all gone but his incredible 2017 Cabernet Franc is still available. The 2015 Saumur was in a good spot, five years into its life and still full of that vibrancy and “bitter minerality” that marks so many of the Loire Chenin Blancs. I had it with roast chicken, but it would stand up to a mild curry because of how rich it is. Full of complexity and depth, the 2015 Saumur is a worthy tribute to its maker.
Will Wrightson, Fine Wine Marketing Manager