Editors’ picks – December 2023

Goedhuis & Co chairman Johnny Goedhuis
Goedhuis & Co chairman Johnny Goedhuis

Wine tasting and a worthy cause

Georgie Hindle

I was lucky enough to experience my first Goedhuis & Co Fine Wine Merchants charity wine dinner – its 16th – raising funds for The Goed Life which started in 2017 to support young adults with learning disabilities and help them lead full and meaningful lives. Established in 1990, this has now raised well over £4m for charities. The evening started with a rare tasting of more than 30 Bordeaux 2009 wines including all the first growths, super seconds and top estates from St-Emilion and Pomerol before a record-breaking auction of wine lots raising £400,000.

Cha?teau Figeac reigned supreme with its delicate, svelte and easy-drinking style (£237.50 Lay & Wheeler – representative per-bottle prices via Wine-searcher.com); Montrose (£375 Hedonism) shone with persistence and grip, a round and full palate and glossy, captivating fruit. Le?oville Las Cases (£230 Bordeaux Index, Corney & Barrow) was delicious, racy, elegant and vibrant, while Rauzan-Se?gla (£143-£157 Bordeaux Index, Crop & Vine, DBM Wines, Farr Vintners, Lay & Wheeler) was juicy, succulent, chewy but graceful, charming and open.

Cha?teaux Mouton Rothschild (widely available, from about £500 in bond), Lafite Rothschild (from £600ib) and Latour (from £750ib) were also marvellously impressive. However, for relative value, Cha?teau Duhart-Milon stole the show – one of the least expensive 2009 crus classe?s (£95-£110 Abingdon Fine Wine, Bordeaux Index, Crop & Vine, Nemo Wine Cellars, Richard Kihl, Seckford, VinQuinn) – with its enveloping tannins, muscular structure and enjoyable succulence. An absolute charmer and great Christmas tipple.

Celebrating independents

Amy Wislocki

Interesting research commissioned by wine importer Hallgarten Wines into, among other things, why UK wine shoppers use independent wine specialists, revealed that 45% are driven by a desire to support small businesses. Other motivations include treating oneself (31%), better quality (30%), good advice (28%), and the need to shop for a gift (26%) or special occasion (24%). These motivations will no doubt resonate with most Decanter readers, even if many do also buy wine with their weekly supermarket shop.

A recent press tasting hosted by The Bunch, in its 30th anniversary year, was a reminder of the passion, expertise and eclectic, well- chosen wines that the independent sector can offer. Featuring seven leading wine merchants from across the UK, the tasting showcased a string of gems.

Standouts included Tbilvino’s fragrant Georgian Saperavi 2020 (£13.49 Adnams); the Cha?teau La Canorgue, Luberon Blanc from Yapp Bros – juicy stone fruit with a sprinkling of herbs (2022, £19.45); and Crissante’s 2018 Barolo del Comune di La Morra, a perfect marriage of elegance and power (2019, £42 Tanners). If that whets the appetite, discover all seven merchants and their ranges at The Bunch. Hours of browsing pleasure.

A portrait of the winemaker as a young artist

Tina Gellie

Banele Vakele

Being part of an exhibition at London’s Tate Modern gallery was probably not part of South African winemaker Banele Vakele’s career plan. But the fact that he was chosen to create two wines for the A World in Common exhibition of contemporary African photography (which runs until 14 January) shows how much of a mark he’s already made in the world of wine.

Vakele has been assistant winemaker at Savage Wines since 2019 and the inaugural vintage for his own label, Tembela Wines, was in 2020. His excellent current releases, from vineyards on the Helderberg in Stellenbosch, are a Verdelho 2022 white (£29.61) and Syrah 2022 (£33.21), available via Lay & Wheeler.

But if you are visiting the Tate Modern, you can buy Vakele’s two exclusive exhibition cuve?es for £25 each (£22.50 for Tate members). A World in Common Chenin Blanc 2022 (13.5%), from Swartland and Stellenbosch fruit, is crisp and exuberantly appley –…

Source : https://www.decanter.com/wine/editors-picks-december-2023-518220/

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