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New coastal vineyard in Argentina planted at more than 45° South

Wed, 21/11/2018 - 17:44

Bahía Bustamante in Argentina is best known for whale-watching, penguins and seaweed farming, but it could also one day be known for wine as Argentina’s newest coastal vineyard takes root.

Coastal vineyard plantation in Bahia BustamanteNew Bahía Bustamante vineyard planted over 45° South

Argentine winemaker Matías Michelini (Passionate Wines, SuperUco), eco-resort owner Matias Soriano (Bahía Bustamante Lodge) and gin-distiller Tato Giovannoni (Apostoles Gin) planted just under a hectare of Semillon and Pinot Noir last month just metres from the coastline.

‘It’s a magical place,’ said Michelini, who has also been involved in other unconventional vineyards elsewhere in Chubut and in Córdoba.

‘The penguins and sea lions came out of the sea to watch us planting our vineyard.’

The region has never been planted with vines before and this is one of the southernmost vineyards in the world – on a similar latitude to Central Otago at 45.1° South.

Despite its latitude, the region has a mild maritime influence with average summer temperatures at 19°C, and rarely lower than 10°C.

This maritime influence is what Michelini, Soriano and Giovannoni are looking for. ‘The vineyard is right on the coastline,’ said Michelini.

‘In high tide, the sea comes within a few inches of getting the vines wet. We have purposefully planted very delicate varieties because we want to taste the Atlantic in the wines.’

Bahía Bustamante was known as the ‘bahía podrida’ (the putrid beach) for many years because of its strong seaweed smell and seaweed farming industry.

The rocky, sandy soils will now also be farmed for grapes and the first harvest of ‘Bahía Bustamante’ wine is expected within the next four years.

Although still relatively small scale, coastal plantations are on the rise in Argentina.

Trapiche’s Costa y Pampa project was a pioneer on the coast of Buenos Aires in 2009, soon followed by Bodega Tapiz, which now has 120 hectares planted in Viedma.

You may also like: Great value Malbec from Argentina: A buying guide

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Wine with Christmas turkey – Food pairing

Wed, 21/11/2018 - 16:00

Tannin is the enemy, argues Decanter's Harry Fawkes. Here's his guide to wine with Christmas turkey and all the trimmings. Updated with new wine recommendations.

Will it be the white Burgundy or the Australian Pinot with your Christmas turkey?

Classic suggestions for wine with Christmas turkey: Key things to remember:
  • Too much tannin will overpower the meat and your taste buds
  • Acidity is important to balance the range of Christmas dinner flavours

Scroll down for specific wine recommendations Alternatively, search our wine reviews database

Turkey has been a traditional favourite in the US and the UK since as far back as the 16th century in some areas, even if it was the Victorians who really cemented its place at the festive dinner table.

Alternative options from steak to nut roasts may be growing in popularity, but a Yougov poll in the UK in 2016 showed that turkey still commands a clear majority at Christmas dinner.

Turkey is not a powerful meat

Turkey is not a powerful white meat and has a low fat content; the reason why it can dry out if not cooked carefully. With this in mind, your wine matches should ideally be either a full bodied white wine or a medium bodied red, with low to medium tannin and relatively high acidity.

Click on the turkey and wine pairing graphic below to see a full-size version

Tips on matching Christmas turkey with wine. Credit: Annabelle Sing / Decanter

Let’s talk about tannins

Fine tannins are great in a balanced wine with some bottle age, but too much mouth-coating tannin could also ruin all those hours you’ve spent slaving away in the kitchen.

There is likely to be a dearth of fat on the plate in general, leaving little to soften tannins in a big, bold, young wine. This can accentuate the harsh feeling of tannins in the mouth, eclipsing other flavours, while the saltiness of the turkey can also make tannins taste more bitter.

Embrace acidity

If that wasn’t enough to think about, there is also the complexity of the accompaniments to your lunch; cranberry, bacon, parsnips, stuffing and brussel sprouts to name a few.

A wine with medium to high levels of acidity should be able to cope better with these myriad flavours.

Wine with turkey: the reds

There are naturally a range of options and we provide some recommendations below with the sizeable caveat that personal taste is important, not to mention the tastes of family and friends; no one wants a Christmas dinner mutiny.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir from muscular Burgundy Crus such as Gevrey-Chambertin or Pommard stack up exceptionally well; and if you can stretch to the Grand Cru of Chambertin then even better.

Lighter, elegant Burgundian areas, such as Volnay, may be overpowered by all those accompaniments, so be careful.

Pinot from slightly cooler areas of the US and Australia are also worth considering; think Sonoma or Santa Barbara County in California, and Mornington Peninsula or Yarra Valley in Victoria.

Beaujolais Cru

Gamay is often underrated and it’s easy to also make the mistake of thinking that all Gamay wines are lightweight. Not so, especially in those 10 Beaujolais Crus known for making wines with more power and depth, such as Morgon or Moulin-à-Vent.

If you’re not a huge Pinot fan then consider mature reds, or at least those with a few years of bottle age.

Aged Bordeaux

Cabernet Sauvignon is obviously in a completely different universe to what we’ve just talked about; big tannins, big acidity and lots of luscious dark fruit. Merlot, too, carries significant weight in its classic Bordeaux Right Bank form.

Yet the delicately poised balance of fruit, acidity and integrated tannins can work excellently at the Christmas dinner table, particularly if some of those tertiary aromas from a few years of bottle age have started to develop around the edges. Tannins soften and integrate over time in well-made wines.

Other classic reds from the bolder end of the spectrum would be Chianti Classico or Barolo.

Mature Rioja

Be wary of too much oak, but some mature Rioja would work well, too. Naturally medium-bodied and full of red fruits, our experts recently found plenty to recommend from the 2010 vintage and further back that had relatively good availability.

Wine with Turkey: The whites Chardonnay

A Decanter Panel chose white Burgundy as their best match with Turkey

Sometimes ignored at Christmas lunch, a full-bodied Chardonnay can be an enchanting accompaniment to your turkey, especially with traditional sides such as bread sauce.

Oaky richness gives sweet spice notes, while creamy lactic acid really helps out with a meat that can sometimes be on the dry side.

Good Chardonnays, in general, are found in the same geographical areas as good Pinot Noir.

White Burgundy from the Côte de Beaune will work well at almost all levels; upgrade where you can to something like a Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru or a Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru.

The high levels of minerality and acidity in these wines help to cleanse the palate, allowing you to wade through all the trimmings effortlessly.

Other wonderful examples can be found in Victoria, Sonoma and New Zealand. The Kumeu River Chardonnays from near Auckland are extraordinary wines and are capable of offering fantastic value for money.

Top tip for cooking turkey: 

‘Take off the legs and cook them separately from the crown,’ says Stephen Harris, chef at the Sportsman in Whitstable, Kent.

‘It’s easy to overcook the breast otherwise. I like to confit the legs in goose fat and last year I sous-vided the breast, which worked well.’

Ideas for wines to pair with Christmas turkey:


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This article has been updated in 2018 after being originally written by Harry Fawkes in 2015 and 2016. 

More festive food and wine pairing advice:

The post Wine with Christmas turkey – Food pairing appeared first on Decanter.

Black Friday Champagne deals

Wed, 21/11/2018 - 10:20

Take advantage of what Black Friday has to offer with these Champagne deals.

Keith Jackson / Alamy

If you’re willing to be strategic, Black Friday 2018 is a great time to pick up some top Champagne at relatively reasonable prices. The best prices aren’t here yet, so there’s a waiting game.

See also: Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne NV


A solid rosé Champagne and one of the best-known, available for an unusually low price. A great way of announcing your arrival at a Christmas party or enjoying date night, but with the added bonus of not rinsing your bank account.

£42.99 – £21.00 off – Buy Now 

Pol Roger Champagne NV

Berry Bros are doing a fantastic 25% off all Pol Roger Champagne, and this is about as low as you’ll ever see Pol Roger – one of the best NV Champagnes out there and most famed for their Winston Churchill Cuvee, which, unfortunately, you won’t find discounted.

£31.95 – £8.00 off – Buy Now 

Taittinger Champagne NV

Of the Comtes de Chamapagne, this relatively small Champagne house puts out a lovely, crisp NV. Will happily improve for 18 months on its side dependent on the disgorgement date.

£26.25 – £12.25 off – Buy Now

£21.00 – £14.00 off – if six mixed bottles are bought at Tesco – Buy Now

Lanson Rosé NV

One of the best value rosés out there at this price, we would happily buy them this year for next – especially with Lanson’s fresh styles of Champagne.

£20.25 – £16.75 off – Buy now

Louis Roederer, Brut Premier NV

With ‘a zesty lemon and fresh apple character, with a steely mineral note and some wood and cream in the background‘, according to our taster, this is a great price  for a Champagne that will always be greeted well over the Christmas period.

£31.50 – £8 off – Buy now

Laurent Perrier 2007 MAGNUM

A magnum is a special thing over the festive season. A Champagne ages even more gracefully in larger formats. This is one to impress the family from this Grand Marque house.

£79.99 – £22.66 off – Buy Now

Updated 21/11/18

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Steven Spurrier’s top wine memories

Wed, 21/11/2018 - 09:55

A sold-out masterclass at the recent Decanter Fine Wine Encounter in London saw Steven Spurrier introduce 12 of his most memorable wines to a room full of enthusiastic attendees, Decanter's content editor, John Stimpfig tastes through them...

The line up at Steven Spurrier's masterclass...

Steven Spurrier needs little introduction to anyone with more than a passing interest in wine.

Famed for organising the Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976, Decanter’s consultant editor has accumulated a lifetime of vinous memories, which he brought together for this masterclass on the Sunday afternoon of this year’s Decanter Fine Wine Encounter in London.

The 12 wines he picked represent people he’s met along the way, famed estates and even his own sparkling wine project in Dorset.

Decanter’s content editor, John Stimpfig, chaired this fantastic masterclass. See his tasting notes & scores below for an insight into Spurrier’s wine memories – exclusively for Decanter Premium members.

Steven Spurrier’s top wine memories: John Stimpfig’s Notes function trackVivino(wineId, initialAction) { if (window.ipc && window.ipc.utils) { const category = 'Premium'; const action = 'Vivino Buy '+initialAction; var label = wineId+ ' ~ Collection ~ '+initialAction; window.ipc.utils.trackEvent(category, action, label); } } You might also like: Steven Spurrier: My top 10 Bordeaux wines of all time Barca Velha vertical: Superstar of the Douro Top Bordeaux 2016 wines: Full Médoc report

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What are the best Lidl wines to buy for Christmas?

Wed, 21/11/2018 - 08:30

Decanter's tastings team highlight the best wines from the Lidl range this winter...

Scroll down for Decanter’s best Lidl wine picks

Amy Wislocki recently tasted Lidl’s latest winter-themed wine releases, due to hit the shelves on 22 November.

We have added these to Tina Gellie’s tasting notes below, from a tasting of Lidl’s French wines back in August.

Amy’s pick of the best Lidl wines to buy for Christmas include a vintage Champagne, a Lalande-de-Pomerol from Bordeaux, and a Canadian icewine (perfect with dessert!). Scroll down to see all of Amy and Tina’s Lidl wine recommendations.

Looking to expand your wine horizons, or after great gift ideas? Subscribe to Decanter Premium for tons of exclusive content and over 1,000 wine reviews every month

Lidl’s ‘Wine Tours’ are seasonal updates to their core range, and are only available for a short period of time, while stocks last.

Best Lidl wines to buy this winter:


function trackVivino(wineId, initialAction) { if (window.ipc && window.ipc.utils) { const category = 'Premium'; const action = 'Vivino Buy '+initialAction; var label = wineId+ ' ~ Collection ~ '+initialAction; window.ipc.utils.trackEvent(category, action, label); } } You might also like: Decanter’s Christmas wine guides Best Sainsbury’s wines to try this winter The best Asda wines this winter Best Aldi wines to buy in 2018

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Photo highlights: 2018 Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter

Tue, 20/11/2018 - 19:12
Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter 2018 highlights

The Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter was held at the Ritz-Carlton, Pudong on Saturday 17 November.
See photo highlights of the day below, or watch the live video here.

Thanks to all of the producers and partners who helped to make it a great day, including Riedel, Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino.

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DRC co-director Henry-Frédéric Roch dies aged 56

Tue, 20/11/2018 - 17:46

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s Aubert de Villiane has paid tribute to his co-director’s ‘friendship’ after Henry-Frédéric Roch passed away on Sunday 18 November at the age of 56.

Credits: Domaine Prieure Roch website

Speaking to de Villiane said Roch, who he had worked alongside for 26 years, had ‘a strong idea of the duties of our families regarding the Domaine.’

‘He was on my side for all the important decisions we had to take. Our collaboration was excellent.’

‘He was very appreciated at the Domaine and by all his peers in Burgundy for his kindness, human approach and generosity’.

Roch became co-director of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in 1992, at the age of 30, following the death of his brother Charles in a car accident.

Born in 1962 to Pauline Roch-Leroy, the eldest sister of Lalou Bize-Leroy who was co-director of DRC until 1991, he was the family’s representative at the famed Burgundian estate where he remained for almost three decades.

Before his mandate at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Roch founded his own estate, Domaine Prieuré-Roch in 1988 in Prémeaux Prissey, classified in Nuits-Saint-Georges AOC. He also owned plots in the famous Clos de Bèze and Clos de Vougeot and was the owner of the Monopole of Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Corvées which de Villaine said was the vineyard he ‘cherished the most’.

‘He had also started a restaurant with an original concept: Le Bist’Roch in Nuits-St-Georges and he had recently bought a farm in the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits to make and sell organic products’ de Villaine added.

See also Domaine de la Romanée-Conti: Profile and wine ratings DRC winemaker Bernard Noblet to retire 1945 Romanée Conti sets new record at wine auction

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Top Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines

Tue, 20/11/2018 - 16:23

Mornington Peninsula has rapidly become a cherished source of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for those in-the-know. Here are several wines to look for from this cool climate, Australian region, including the Paringa Shiraz which is worthy of mention. All tasted by Decanter's Tina Gellie.

Young vines in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.

Tasting notes below by Tina Gellie. Introduction by Chris Mercer following a meeting with several Mornington Peninsula wine producers at Australia House in London in October 2018. 

Mornington Peninsula’s emergence in the last 20 years, and especially the last decade, goes hand-in-hand with the rise to prominence of cooler-climate Australian wine regions.

Andrew Jefford wrote on in 2014, ‘This hilly maritime finger of land just beyond the Melbourne suburbs is making an ever-more convincing case for being one of the great Southern Hemisphere Pinot locations.’

Close connections to Melbourne have also given many wineries a strong ‘cellar door’ dimension to their businesses via tasting rooms and restaurants.

There is, too, a sense of collective learning, alongside a joint-understanding of marketing fundamentals, among several winemakers in this area; two ingredients that, when backed by quality wines, can create a so-called ‘cluster effect’ that has been shown to significantly improve a region’s development.

This doesn’t necessarily translate to homogeneity in the vineyard and the cellar.

For example, winemakers still differ on a range of methods, such as the extent to which whole bunch fermentation should be employed on Pinot. And, for a relatively small region, weather patterns can vary strongly.

Mornington Pinot Noir

It could be argued that a signature style for Mornington Peninsula Pinot is still a work-in-progress to some extent.

That said, a number of tasters have commented on the complexity achieved in the best wines, helped on in recent years by a greater diversity of vine age. Plus, an increasingly granular understanding of vineyard land, the prioritising of fresh red fruit flavours and the natural acidity driven by the climate have certainly helped to gain plaudits.

Burgundy has been mooted as a reference point, but no one wants to merely be a tribute act. Martin Spedding, owner of Ten Minutes by Tractor winery, admitted to ‘a bit of a cringe factor’ whenever the ‘B’-word comparison comes up, despite its flattering connotations – although he spoke of ‘shared values’ between the two regions in terms of focus on the vineyard and sense of place.

Kate McIntyre MW, of Moorooduc Estate and second generation of the owning family, added, ‘People associate our wines with Burgundy, so we all make sure that we understand Burgundy. But we benchmark to Pinots all around the world. It’s important to understand what Oregon, New Zealand, Yarra Valley and Tasmania are doing.

‘Having that level of knowledge of Pinot around the world, and for Chardonnay as well, allows us to define our own [wines].’

As a maritime climate, vintage variation can be more of a prominent factor in Mornington. Harvest dates vary, with 2016 seeing the earliest on record and 2017 proving a slower ripening year, with grapes not picked until late March in some cases.

As you would expect, use of oak is relatively restrained.

For Pinot, the general consensus around the briefing table at Australia House in London is that wine matured in new French oak tends to sit in lightly toasted barrels and makes up between 20% and 25% of the final blend on average. New oak can be a lot less on some wines, however.

The point of which, as you will no doubt have read about other regions, is to draw out the fruit and sense of place in the wines, plus emphasise the natural acidity that this climate provides.

If you haven’t chosen your Christmas dinner wine yet, then Mornington could be a worthy contender.

Great Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines to try:

You’ll also find two Paringa Shiraz wines in this list, sampled at the same tasting and considered worthy of mention. In addition, we’ve included Tina Gellie’s note on Crittenden Estate Pinot Noir 2016, which she tasted earlier this year. 

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Climate: Maritime
Main varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Pockets of Semillon, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, also.
Altitude: Between 25 and 250 metres above sea level
Number of vineyards: Around 200
Number of wineries: Around 50

Based on figures from the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association

More recently published articles about Pinot Noir:

New Zealand Pinot for your cellar Good value red Burgundy: 32 wines to seek out California Pinot Noir panel tasting results

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DWWA Regional Chair for USA: James Tidwell MS

Tue, 20/11/2018 - 14:10

James Tidwell MS joins the DWWA team as Regional Chair for the USA & Central America at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2019

James Tidwell MSJames Tidwell MS

James Tidwell MS will be joining the DWWA team as Regional Chair for the USA and Central America at the 2019 competition.

Tidwell is beverage manager at Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas and is co-founder of TEXSOM, the premiere sommelier education conference in the world.

He earned the Master Sommelier certification, alongside a number of other qualifications including the WSET Diploma, Certified Wine Educator, Certified Tea Specialist and Certified Sake Professional.

James has been nominated the past five years for a James Beard Foundation Award in the categories of Outstanding Wine Program 2011-2014 and Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional in 2015. He serves on the Board of Directors for a number of associations, including the Court of Master Sommeliers – Americas, the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation, and the Society of Wine Educators.

Wines to drink with Gateau de Savoie – James Tidwell MS

Matching wines for Gateau de Savoie Pereira d’Oliveira, Colheita Boal, Madeira, Portugal 1983 Madeira is one of the great classic…

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Top rum deals for Black Friday

Tue, 20/11/2018 - 12:37

With the Black Friday fast approaching, the deals are stacking up for some interesting rums. We've rounded up some of the top rum deals below.

When aged, rum can reach the complexity of a fine whisky – yet also works with its different styles in many classic cocktails.

With ‘deal’ season upon us, led by Christmas and Black Friday 2018, we’ve had a look at some of the top offers at different price levels – from white, to spiced and aged rums.

See also:  Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Blend Rum

A delicious golden-hued rum distilled in the Nassau Valley in the heart of Jamaica. Versatile enough to be enjoyed straight up or on the rocks, or blended into cocktails, it is matured for a minimum of 12 years in fine oak barrels and displays notes of citrus fruits, coffee, sugary-chocolate and vibrant orange peel. The long years of tropical aging give the rum a rich mahogany hue and a confident woody character with a rich and complex taste.

£34.00, £5.00 off – Buy Now Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum

Hailing from the Venezuelan Andes is this ultimate sipping rum bursting with rich flavours of fruit cake, cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla. One of the most awarded rums on the market, it is distilled from the purest sugar cane honey in an ancient copper pot and then aged over 12 years in ex-bourbon and malt whisky white oak casks for extra depth and concentration of flavours. Perfect for sipping slowly, this rum has a lovely syrupy texture with flavours of fudge, gingerbread and cocoa on the palate and a deliciously orange and citrus finish.

£36.00, £9.00 off – Buy Now Havana Club 3 Year Rum

Distilled in Cuba from molasses and aged for three years, this iconic rum is ultra-smooth and light with notes of vanilla, oak and almond, pears and banana. With no trace of harshness on the palate it makes a great mojito or daiquiri and pairs well with just about any mixer making it a go-to for bartenders around the world. It’s by far the most popular rum in Havana City and largest brand of rum in Cuba. A cocktail-cupboard staple.

£15.00, £3.00 off – Buy Now The Kraken Black Spiced Rum

Leading the trend towards exciting, spiced rums Kraken has developed a strong following since its introduction to the UK rum market in 2010. Named after a mythical sea monster resembling a giant squid, which is proudly displayed on the bottle’s label, Kracken is infused with 11 ‘secret’ spices including cinnamon, ginger and cloves giving it a spiciness on the palate supported by plenty of nutty, caramel, vanilla and coffee flavours and ending with a long peppery finish. It is distilled in Trinidad and Tobago and aged for between one and two years.

£17.49, £8.47 – Buy Now

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DAWA 2018 winning wines at the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter

Tue, 20/11/2018 - 12:19

More than 1,200 wine lovers attended the fifth annual Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter.

2018 Decanter Asia Wine Award-winning from the

Attendees had the opportunity to taste an array of DAWA 2018 award-winning wines including; one Bronze, two Gold, three Platinum and one Best in Show.

The Best in Show is the ultimate accolade at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards, and in 2018 only 20 wines were deemed worthy of this medal. Wine lovers were able to taste one of these from Australia, John Duval Wines, Entity Shiraz, Barossa, South Australia, Australia 2016.

The other six wines available to try were:

Visitors to the stand also had the chance to meet Alex Cumming a judge at the 2018 Decanter Asia Wine Awards. Alex hosted an informal tasting at the stand which explored why the wines were great and why they were awarded their respective medals.


Search all DAWA 2018 winners


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Highlights from the fifth annual Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter

Tue, 20/11/2018 - 11:55

More than 1,200 fine wine lovers eagerly attended the fifth annual Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter and had the opportunity to taste over 600 wines from 134 top producers.
See highlights below.

The tasting, Shanghai’s flagship fine wine event, once again took place at the Ritz-Carlton, Pudong on Saturday 17 November.

Wines of Chile were this year’s featured region, where the very best Chilean wines were showcased at the event, and represented by the areas of Costa, Entre Cordilleras and Andes.

A ‘Chilean Wine Wall’ was also showcased, which showed wines from different appellations.

Three wine talks also took place which were hosted by the first Chinese Master Sommelier, Yang Lu, in addition to the following distinguished wine personalities:

  • Aurelio Montes, founder and head winemaker at Montes Wines, who spoke about the extremes of Chile
  • Matías Ríos chief winemaker at Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery, who focused on the cool climates from Chile
  • Francisco Baettig, winemaker and technical director at Viña Errázuriz, who presented Chile and its wine-aging potential

The first Chinese Master Sommelier, Yang Lu (left) with Francisco Baettig (right), winemaker and technical director at Viña Errázuriz

The day began with an eight vintage vertical tasting of one of Italy’s most prestigious and collectable wines, Masseto. Decanter’s Content Director John Stimpfig introduced Axel Heinz, Estate Director and winemaker Elenora Marconi who wowed attendees with these exceptional wines.

Masseto masterclass line-up

Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent Jane Anson introduced Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal, Managing Director and eighth-generation family member of Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé A Château Angélus, who explored three decades’ of vintages including both Le Carillon d’Angélus and the flagship Château Angélus wines.

‘Super Second’ Château Léoville Las Cases also showcased eight of their lauded and long-lived wines, including the château’s top estate wines; the Grand Vin, Clos du Marquis and the second wine, Petit Lion.

Michel Friou, Head Winemaker from Almaviva (the legendary joint partnership of Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A., and Viña Concha y Toro S.A.) presented eight outstanding vintages including the first vintage of 1996, which was the first wine in Chile created under the French château concept.

In the day’s final masterclass, Decanter Managing Director Robin McMillan introduced one of Rioja’s first and most distinguished bodegas Marqués de Riscal, where Javier Ybañez and Andrew Caillard MW shared a selection of special wines with attendees, including its first signature wine, Barón de Chirel, and the 150 Aniversario, which celebrates the producer’s 150th anniversary and a remarkable Añadas Antiguas 1949.


Sommeliers opening the old 1949 Marqués de Riscal bottles with special equipment.

In addition to these five masterclasses, in the Grand Tasting, attendees could taste over 500 wines from 107 top wineries, from 16 different countries including France, Australia, China, the US, Canada, Greece, New Zealand, Chile, Italy, Spain and many more.

There was also the opportunity to taste an array of medal-winning wines from the 2018 Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA).

2018 Decanter Asia Wine Award winners

Social media presence

Significant social media interaction also took place on the day, as guests shared highlights with many photos and videos.

Live streaming videos shared on’s Weibo account from the Grand Tasting and masterclasses also received thousands of views on the day.

‘We were delighted to welcome so many eager wine lovers to the fifth edition of this annual gathering of the world’s greatest wine names in Shanghai, said Decanter managing director Robin McMillan.

‘We were also thrilled and honoured that so many incredible producers travelled so far to be with us today and pour their wines. We very much hope that our guests were inspired and delighted by the wines and producers that came today.’

The next Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter will take place on Saturday 16 November 2019.

Official sponsors of the 2018 Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter

Many thanks once again to our loyal sponsors Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino mineral water for keeping guests hydrated on the day and to Riedel for supplying the glassware and to all Ritz-Carlton staff.

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DWWA Regional Chair for Burgundy: Jeannie Cho Lee MW

Tue, 20/11/2018 - 10:58

Jeannie Cho Lee MW will join the DWWA team as Regional Chair for Burgundy at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2019.

Jeannie Cho Lee MWJeannie Cho Lee MW

The Decanter World Wine Awards 2019 competition will see Jeannie Cho Lee MW joining as Regional Chair for Burgundy.

Jeannie is an author, wine critic, judge and educator as well as the first Asian Master of Wine.

A contributing editor of Decanter, she is also a Professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, a columnist for Robb Report China and Forbes, and has been a consultant for Singapore Airlines since 2008.

Lee’s love for Asian cuisine and wine inspired her to write the award-winning book, Asian Palate, and to found as well as

Follow Jeannie on Twitter @JeannieChoLee or see her wine ratings and writing on her website.

See the full list of 2019 Regional Chairs

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What wines are the experts drinking at Thanksgiving?

Mon, 19/11/2018 - 17:30

Thanksgiving is a great time to open a special bottle to share with family and friends, but what will you be drinking and what does the wine world do? We asked some winemakers, sommeliers and writers. Eduardo Dingler has also provided his top 10 wine recommendations for the big day...

What wines to open on Thanksgiving?Scroll down to see Eduardo’s Thanksgiving wine recommendations Rosemary Cakebread, winemaker at Gallica Wines

Speaking at the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter 2017

‘We’ll be spending this Thanksgiving with our new grandchild, born a few months ago – so I haven’t thought much about the wine yet!’

‘We normally like to pick something out from the cellar, and share the bottle with friends.’

‘Thanksgiving is a great time for opening your special wines – but as we’ll be in Washington State with family, we’re excited to try some of the local ones too.’

Tasting Gallica: Elegant Napa Cabernet Ray Signorello Jr, winemaker at Signorello Estate

‘Though we make Cabernet Sauvignon, I find that Pinot Noir is a slightly better match for turkey.’

‘We do a traditional turkey dinner, so I make a bit of Pinot Noir, just for fun, for our house – so we’ll open up a few bottles of that. We’ll have it with the traditional turkey, the usuals – mashed potatoes, yams, the stuffing and the cranberry sauce.’

Ray Signorello speaking at the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter 2017

Carole Meredith, winemaker at Lagier Meredith

Speaking at the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter 2017

‘Our Thanksgiving dinner is more a family event than a wine event – most of the family is not particularly interested in wine.’

But if I were to choose a special wine for Thanksgiving, it would probably be a well-aged Syrah, either one of our own or a Chave Hermitage.’

Mature Rhône from the cellar Rajat Parr, sommelier

Speaking to in November 2017.

‘I’m actually in Piedmont this Thanksgiving – so drinking lots of Barolo!’

‘It’s not been decided yet what we’ll be drinking, but definitely Barolo. We’re having lunch at Il Centro in Priocca, and Thanksgiving dinner at Locando dell ‘Arco in Cissone,  – so will pick from those wine lists.’

Somm 3 film review Carson Demmond, sommelier, wine writer and Decanter contributor

Speaking to in November 2017.

‘My husband and I were gifted a jeroboam of 2002 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne at our wedding three years ago.’

‘We figured the wine would be in a pretty good place by now, and Thanksgiving is one of those few occasions made for opening a bottle that big. It’s been chilling in the fridge since this last weekend!’

Carson Demmond’s Thanksgiving drinking survival guide Eduardo Dingler, wine and sake writer

Speaking to November 2018

Following our annual Thanksgiving tradition we’ll host a number of friends throughout the day with a bounty of favourite dishes. Our only rule is that guests are not allowed to bring wine – instead we let them choose some wines from our cellar.

Being that said, I have a couple of wines that will be certainly enjoyed this Thanksgiving, including Wilson Foreigner’s Valdiguié from Napa Valley, and Raen 2013 Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast.

I will probably serve Monticelli’s Bussia Riserva Barolo 2012 alongside a proper dose of Napa Valley Cabernet and some older Bordeaux. No doubt this holiday is one of my favourites for combining friends, family, food and wine, and so we are aiming for 20+ guests this year.

Eduardo’s top picks for drinking this Thanksgiving: What are you opening this Thanksgiving? Share with us on Twitter or Instagram @Decanter

Updated November 2018

You might also like: How to choose the best Thanksgiving wine Mature Barolo from the cellar for Christmas

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Top tequila deals for Black Friday

Mon, 19/11/2018 - 14:15

Black Friday is upon us and with the festive season fast approaching, the deals are stacking up for some interesting tequilas from around the this small region in Mexico. We've rounded up some of the top tequila deals below.

The spirit of Mexico, Tequila has gained popularity moving a way from the image of being a “shot” spirit, to high class cocktails and when aged, a lovely sipping drink.

With ‘deal’ season upon us, led by Christmas and Black Friday 2018, we’ve had a look at some of the top offers at different price levels.

See also:  Tequila Don Julio Blanco Tequila

A deliciously fresh and luxury Tequila bursting with citrus flavours. Made by the much-awarded Don Julio, this Tequila is made using the finest agave plants from Los Alton de Jalisco, masterfully crafted at La Primavera distillery (founded in 1942) and bottled immediately after distillation to maintain as much of the fresh agave flavour as possible. It’s incredibly smooth with crisp agave notes and a long finish with a touch of black pepper. A great Tequila for sharing, neat on the rocks or in cocktails.

Stockist: Amazon £36.90 – £48.39 – £11.49 offBuy Now Patron Silver Tequila

A premium un-aged tequila from one of the most famous houses in Mexico. Patron has gained worldwide recognition for its quality blue agave spirits and distinctive handcrafted bottles and this silver tequila doesn’t disappoint. Made in the Jalisco mountains of central Mexico, it has a wonderful crystal-clear colour with a light, smooth and delicate taste with notes of citrus and subtle spices. Each bottle is individually signed and given a unique number due to its limited production. Makes a fantastic and authentic margarita.

Stockist: Waitrose £25.00 – £23.00 – £2.00 offBuy Now Sierra Milenario 100% Agave Reposado Tequila

Sierra Milenario Reposado, must be aged in oak barrels called ‘pipones’ for a minimum of two months and up to a maximum of 12 months – it’s better known as rested, and it more of a sipping tequila rather than for cocktails. Made with 100 percent premium agave and distilled in traditional copper pot stills with triple distillation process. This one is aged in sherry cask.

Stockist: Amazon £42.21 – £55.00 – £12.79 offBuy Now Our top discovery Tequilas

Here’s our tequila picks that might not be on deal, but are very much worth seeking out for their unique qualities.

Casamigos Reposado Tequila

Casamigos was the brainchild of longtime friends Hollywood A-lister George Clooney, Rande Gerber (husband of Cindy Crawford) and Mike Meldman and their shared love of tequila. Initially created as a ‘house tequila’ for the three friends – its name translates to ‘house of friends’ – the small batch production soon became available internationally and launched in the UK in 2015. The reposado is 100% blue agave from the highlands of Jalisco, aged for seven months in American oak and has a soft and smooth taste with hints of caramel, vanilla and cocoa.

Stockist: 31 Dover Street £49.95 – Buy Now Calle 23 Añejo Tequila


Created by Sophie Decobecq, who originally worked as a chemist in the cognac industry but was drawn to Mexico due to her love of tequila. This aged tequila has great depth of flavour with notes of chocolate and chillies and touches of vanilla and coffee. Smooth and vibrant with some smokiness too.

Stockist: Selfridges £42.99 – Buy Now

Updated 19/11/18

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Top whisky deals for Black Friday

Mon, 19/11/2018 - 14:00

Black Friday is upon us and with the festive season fast approaching, the deals are stacking up for some interesting whiskies from around the world. We've rounded up some of the top whisk(e)y deals below.

Credit: les polders / Alamy

The sophistication of whisky – or whiskey depending on your persuasion – goes hand in hand with fine wine.

With ‘deal’ season upon us, led by Christmas and Black Friday 2018, we’ve had a look at some of the top offers at different price levels – from introductory styles to drams for the serious aficionado.

See also:  Scotch Whiskies Haig Club Clubman Single Grain Scotch Whisky

This isn’t really for the seasoned Scotch drinker and some have questioned the perfume-style bottle housing David Beckham’s first foray into whisky world. But, it’s pitched more as a way of introducing new drinkers to Scotch; everyone knows someone who claims to have never enjoyed whisk(e)y. It’s a light grain whisky matured in Bourbon casks, distilled at Cameronbridge Distillery.

Stockists: Waitrose and Amazon

£16.00, £7.52 off – Buy Now – Buy Now £18. 00 (Waitrose) Aberlour 12 year old


Aberlour distillery lies in the heart of Speyside, known more for its fruity and spicy style of whiskies compared to Scotland’s peat-smoked Western Isles. This double-cask matured Aberlour 12 is a classic, albeit it has a greater richness than some of its Speyside cousins. One to enjoy with Christmas cake, perhaps.

£29.00, £4.37 off – Buy Now Laphroaig 10 year old


Dare we call it the ‘Marmite’ of single malt Scotch whisky? The story goes that Laphroaig was at one point the only Scotch available over-the-counter at pharmacies during US Prohibition because the authorities couldn’t believe that anyone would want to drink it. Forget the naysayers; if the smoky, peaty style is your thing then this whisky from Islay’s coast – with a certain medicinal quality and a hint of sea-salt from the waves crashing around the warehouse – is worth a go.

 £30.00, £7.00 off – Buy Now Auchentoshan American Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Auchentoshan is Scotland’s only triple distilled whisky – which of course is similar in style to the Irish counterparts. The American oak adds a vanilla top note to this Whisky; as it would in any wine aged in vanilla. One of the biggest discounts on the market this Christmas.

 £20.00, £17.00 off – Buy Now USA Whiskey, Bourbon and whiskies from around the world Knob Creek Small Batch Kentucky Straight Whiskey

A barrel aged Bourbon with a sweet profile. Marmalade, spices and Vanilla make this a powerful whiskey – great for mixers. Another good Bourbon on offer is the Woodford Reserve, loved by bar tenders here.

£24.90 – £10.10 off – Buy Now

Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky, Japan

Credit: The Whisky Exchange


Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know by now that the Japanese make whiskies and that many of them are really rather good. Hibiki 17 year old, for example, is a fine thing and now almost impossible to find. This Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky has been making waves of late, as shown by its award in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018.

£50.95 – £5 off – Buy Now

Updated 19/11/18

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Hospices de Beaune 2018 auction sets new record

Mon, 19/11/2018 - 13:45

This year’s sale has seen 828 barrels of wine fetch nearly 14.2 million euros, beating last year’s record and reflecting excitement around the Burgundy 2018 vintage.

Hospices de Beaune 2018 sale sets new record.

Final wine sales for the Hospices de Beaune 2018 auction were €14,187,150 (£12.6 million, $16.17m), excluding the buyer’s premium, according to Christie’s, which hosted the sale. The previous record, set 12 months ago, was 13.5m euros, according to last year’s press release.

A barrel of Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru sold for €135,000, a new record for a single barrel sold at the Hospices auction, excluding the flagship ‘President’s barrel’.

This year’s auction featured the highest number of barrels since 2009, and 41 more than last year, with 631 barrels of red and 197 barrels of white sold.

The average price per barrel sold in 2018 was €16,850, higher than in 2017 and 2016, according to a Christie’s press release.

Early excitement around the Burgundy 2018 vintage likely contributed to the strong prices.

‘We are delighted with these very good results which celebrated the 2018 vintage,’ said Ludivine Griveau, winemaker and vineyard manager for Domaine des Hospices de Beaune.

Around 69% of the lots went to merchants and 31% to private buyers, in value terms, said Agathe de Saint Céran, of Christie’s wine department and in charge of the sale.

Asia-based bidders dominated private buyer sales, accounting for 55% of the wine sold, by value, with those in the US just under 7% and Europe-based buyers making up the difference.

Christie’s spent time promoting the sale with tastings across Asia, in Beijing, Shanghai, Honk Kong, Tokyo, and Singapore, Saint Céran said.

There was some disappointment around this year’s charity lot, known as the President’s barrel or ‘Pièce des Présidents’.

Featuring two barrels this year, the lot sold for €230,000, compared to last year’s €420,000. Proceeds are donated to charity.

It was composed by two barrels: a Corton Grand-Cru – Clos du Roi and a Meursault Premier Cru Les Genevrières. Buyers were Brazil-based Anima Vinum and Alberic Bichot with his Canadian client, Christie’s said.

‘We need to create more buzz for the Pièce des Président next year,’ said Pierre Gernelle, general manager of the Federation of Burgundy negociants. ‘The other lots sold very well, so it was noticeable that the president’s piece did not.’

Average yields for 2018 across 60 hectares of Hospices vineyards 50 hectolitres per hectare for the whites and 42 for the reds, said Ludivine Griveau.

Despite hot weather, alcohol levels were generally around 13.5%, Griveau said. Record rainfall in the spring kept the water table high, and cooler summer evenings helped to maintain freshness, she added.

Editing by Chris Mercer.

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Money-no-object Burgundy wines for Christmas Good value Burgundy: 32 reds to seek out

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Jefford on Monday: Languedoc-Roussillon’s eventful year

Mon, 19/11/2018 - 13:02

Andrew Jefford wades through the autumn deluges.

Overflowing river in Lagrasse, in the Aude area of Languedoc-Roussillon in October 2018.

It was a sobering sight: flooded vineyards.  Only fence posts and vine tops punctuated the water.  My eyes sought a line of trees, marking the thread of an overflowing watercourse, but often there was none: the brown water stretched away aimlessly, apparently uncertain of where it had come from.  There were other vineyards which looked like paddy fields; a third group was merely mud-filled, the wrecked rows and tangled vines seemingly pawed about by some playful giant.

These were IGP vineyards on the outskirts of Narbonne during the week of October 15th, after storms which had delivered between a third and a half the annual rainfall total in a single day, the 15th itself.  I was travelling with students through Languedoc that week, and the rain carried on remorselessly until Thursday night; moreover further heavy rain has fallen in the week of October 29th, and again in the week of November 5th.

Some 15 people lost their lives in the mid-October storms, which were caused (unusually: it was said to be the first incident of this sort in Languedoc since 1842) by the remnants of Hurricane Leslie becoming re-activated in the Western Mediterranean after its passage through Iberia.

Most Languedoc growers had harvested by then, but the restoration of the vineyards will in many cases be laborious and costly.  Nor does this come at any easy time, in particular for IGP growers, since they had been the hardest hit by the equally unusual frosts of 2017.

Everywhere in Languedoc, meanwhile, growers have been struggling with the depradations caused by mildew in June 2018, in common with growers in Bordeaux and in the southern Rhône.  ‘Nobody had ever seen that before here,’ said Brigitte Chevalier at Domaine de Cébène in Faugères.

‘Every two days we were having to do treatments which we’d normally do every two weeks.’  Mildew losses at La Pèira were 30%, according to technical director Audrey Bonnet-Koenig, while the 35% lost to mildew at Mas de Daumas Gassac, claimed Roman Guibert, had given 2018 a smaller crop still than the frost-affected 2017.

The consolation was that quality, after a warm summer, was excellent: ‘the best we’ve ever made,’ according to Nicolas Raffy at Mas Amiel.

That’s important: don’t let these recent events give you the wrong impression.  Although prone to wild weather, particularly at the end of September and in October, Languedoc actually has one of the most regular and naturally propitious vineyard climates of any region I know – which is why, of course, it is such a significant vineyard region (around 235,000 ha in Languedoc, and a further 24,000 ha in Roussillon – more wine-producing vineyards than Australia and New Zealand combined).

It’s warm enough for productive regularity, but rarely too hot (40˚C heat spikes are rare), and the ample winter rain mean that most vineyards do not need irrigation.  You can produce subtle, drinkable wine in huge quantities here, which is why Pays d’Oc accounts for 14% of all French wine on its own and 18% of French exports.

See also: How good is Languedoc rising star Terrasses du Larzac? Panel tasting results

This has not passed unnoticed by the astute.  We called in at the Lafite-owned Domaine d’Aussières in Corbières on our tour.  I was astonished to hear that it will be making 2.5 million bottles of wine this year, both from its own vineyards and from bought fruit, all of which will go off round the world with the famous five arrows on the label.  Harvest activities in the Aussières cellars were frenetic.

The biggest challenges for the Languedoc and for Roussillon, in my opinion, remain administrative and communicative.

The appellation system here has developed in an ad hoc manner, and continues to change and mutate on an annual basis.  It is deeply confusing for consumers and doesn’t help the emblematic stars so badly needed by the region to emerge.  Key appellations are not yet adequately distinguished from one another; indeed the whole region is still struggling to understand exactly what the nature of its potential might be, and this process, I suspect, will continue for decades yet.

Regulations regarding varieties have been prematurely written, and misguided exclusions made under pressure from other French wine regions.  Languedoc’s white wine offer, for example, is going from strength to strength, yet many appellations don’t yet have a white-wine alternative to what the appellation rule-writers insisted must be a red-wine vocation.  Those that do often specify a variety set which may not cover either historical varieties or recent arrivals.

A final challenge, one which principally affects tourism but which may have an impact on wine-production, too, is gastronomic: this region is France’s weakest.  I don’t mean there’s a shortage of Michelin-starred restaurants (though they are thin on the ground, too), but basic standards of cooking, service and presentation in ordinary Languedoc restaurants are woefully adrift of most French regions, and notably feeble by comparison with those same standards in both Burgundy and Bordeaux (things are a little better in Roussillon, perhaps due to Catalan influences). There is a cross-fertilisation between fine cooking and fine wine: the two suckle each other.  Languedoc’s wine offer would greatly benefit from a Languedoc gastronomic renaissance.

Tasting some Languedoc and Roussillon stars:

Here are notes on 10 of the best Languedoc-Roussillon wines tasted on this recent trip, while the autumn rain thrummed down outside.

You may also like: Travel: Ten Languedoc wineries to visit Mas de Daumas Gassac: Top reds from recent vintages

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From the archive: Médoc 2009 and 2010 second wines – panel tasting results

Mon, 19/11/2018 - 13:00

An abundance of good quality fruit in these top vintages means that châteaux 'second wines' are particularly worth a look. See the top wines from this panel tasting; many of the opulent 2009s are ready to drink, while 2010 still has some way to go.

This article was originally published in Decanter magazine's December 2016 issue and is now available online in full, exclusively for Premium subscribers.

Seventy-seven Médoc second wines from 2009 and 2010 tasted with 14 Highly Recommended The tasters: Jane Anson, Steven Spurrier, Sebastian Payne MW Scroll down to see the wines See all of the wines tasted here

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The post From the archive: Médoc 2009 and 2010 second wines – panel tasting results appeared first on Decanter.

DWWA Regional Chair for Loire: Jim Budd

Mon, 19/11/2018 - 12:45

Jim Budd is Regional Chair for the Loire at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 2019.

Jim BuddJim Budd

Jim Budd moved from education to wine in 1988, and has written for Decanter since 1989. He is the former editor (1991-2015) of Circle Update, the newsletter of the Circle of Wine Writers, writes the award-winning Jim’s Loire and is one of the five members of the Les 5 du Vin blog.

Budd exposes the dangers of drinks investment on his award-winning website, and complementary blog. He also contributes to Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book, Wine Behind the Label and Maureen Downey’s website

Budd is also a keen photographer, especially in the Loire.

Budd was first a DWWA judge in 2004.

See more 2019 Regional Chairs

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