Decanter Magazine - March 2008


The latest edition of Decanter (March) came out this week, and several articles caught my eye.  The first was entitled Start Your Own Wine Cellar. As I’m often torn between buying bottles to drink and those I think I may like to keep for a special occasion, I was drawn to the profiles of the 3 different types of people for whom Decanter made recommendations. There was the couple who did not know much about wine, but wanted to learn and had £500 to get them going. At the other extreme was the couple who already drank a lot of good Bordeaux and had £5000 to spend. I found myself drawn to the example in the middle, someone who knows her grape varieties, but would not describe herself as a connoisseur. Decanter put together an interesting cellar at a cost of £1000 for her.

cov_mar_08_small.gifThe one question I was left pondering with the suggestions was the distinction between wines for drinking 2008-2010 and for 2010-2018. Why do a couple of decent Italian reds from 2004 fit in the first category, but a Portuguese 2005 and a Spanish 2003 fit in the second? I know it’s down to how it is made and matured, but how are you expected to know that for the slightly more unusual wines? Labels don’t always given enough information and certainly very few give how long to keep the wine for.

I always peruse the Wines of the Month to see what recommendations I can pick up. These wines are available from stockists in the UK so I feel sorry for foreign readers who may be unable to source them. However I’m always a bit frustrated to read other reviews elsewhere in the magazine and see the dreaded “N/A” next to them. Although I figure what’s the point in reviewing them if they aren’t available in the UK I have to keep reminding myself how international Decanter is. In this month’s issue 4 of the 9 letters are from non UK readers. I am sure this helps the editorial team keep an international focus which is good for all us readers.

The panel tastings this month are both French, 2005 St Emilions and 2005 cru bourgeois. I was stunned to see a great value 2005 cru bourgeois at £7.35. I must seek it out.

Next month’s edition features Italy and is out, according to the ad in the magazine, on February 6. Oops – I think they forgot to change the date from last month’s edition as I’m sure they mean March 6th!

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Reader Comments

The issue of N/A wines came up a couple of months ago in a reader’s letter. The response given by Decanter was exactly the same as the conclusion at which you arrived - the international readership.

Of course, if you happen not to live in London the availability of the wines drops off even more dramatically!

Hi Alex. I’m disappointed that the Wine Society, with 2 of the 5 star 2005 cru bourgeois winners in the tasting, don’t have them in stock. In fact they don’t have any 2005’s nor an estimate of when they will be arriving.