Argentinian Malbec blends: panel tasting results

Argentinian Malbec blends: panel tasting resultsDecanter experts give their verdict, tasting notes and drinking windows on Argentinian Malbec blends.With 79% of wines recommended, this very excellent tasting showcased the extra dimension that supporting grapes can lend to Malbec, and the progress these blends have made.
‘A fantastic tasting,’ opened Phil Crozier. ‘Cheering and very excellent for Malbec blends. We’re seeing a really high consistency of quality.’ Patricio Tapia was equally pleased, likening Malbec to ‘the joker who can make a party out of nothing’. Dirceau Vianna Jr MW echoed the sentiment: ‘Malbec is lively, dependable and fruitforward – and adding a blending partner gives it another dimension.’
Each judge applauded Malbec’s usefulness, though Crozier felt it was best for blending when it was the dominant grape: ‘If it plays second fiddle, it loses its effectiveness.’ He thought Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot were Malbec’s ideal blending partners, while Vianna Jr preferred Touriga Nacional. ‘It’s predictable to use the Bordeaux varieties. Yes, Touriga Nacional is a hard grape because its yields are low, but as a blending component it’s incredible.’
As a group of wines, Malbec blends are a dependable buy, where consumers can be confident of a excellent wine.
So which vintages are worth seeking out? ‘2010 was a fantastic vintage,’ said Crozier. ‘Wines from 2011 and 2012 were hard. 2013 was incredible but 2014 and 2008 were very problematic. The wines from 2007 now are fantastic, but you won’t find much left now.’
For drinkability, Vianna Jr advised readers to ‘open the vast majority’ of these wines now. ‘Argentina is about exuberance of fruit and these blends have so much of that.’ Crozier urged consumers ‘not to buy cheap’, with Tapia claiming that value in terms of Malbec blends meant between £15 and £25. Read more

Top Navarra reds: panel tasting results

Top Navarra reds: panel tasting resultsDecanter experts give their verdict, tasting notes and drinking windows on Top Navarra red wines. Navarra reds, Overall a disappointing tasting for our experts, but of those that were praised Garnacha was the star offering delicate fresh cherry fruit and trouncing the tough, stewed Tempranillo. See the top-rated seven wines here… Read more

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: panel tasting results

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Mamba Awards 2015: Liberty wins first Decanter trophy

Mamba Awards 2015: Liberty wins first Decanter trophyJohn Duval’s Annexus Grenache and Cullen Mangan Sauvignon Blanc - Semillon have helped UK importer Liberty Wines win the inaugural Decanter Perpetual Trophy at The Mamba Riedel Decanter Awards last nighttime. Cullen in Margaret River, which helped Liberty Wines to win the Decanter trophy.The Mamba Awards – now in their eighth year – highlight the quality and value of Australian wine in the UK market, and are judged non-blind, with prices revealed, by members of the wine trade.
They are hosted and sponsored by Roger and Sue Jones, chef/proprietor and front of house correspondingly of the Michelin-starred The Harrow at Small Bedwyn in Wiltshire. Decanter is a supporter, along with glassware maker Riedel, drinks charity The Benevolent, Wine Australia and Jansz sparkling wine.
This year’s categories were Semillon (10 entries), Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon (18) and Grenache and blends (42), with wines ranging in fee from £9.50 to £43.99. The winner of each category received a Mamba decanter from Riedel.
Duval’s 2013 Grenache – the first vintage of this wine from the former winemaker of Penfolds Grange and also the most expensive wine of the competition – won its category, followed by fellow Barossa Valley stars Teusner’s Joshua Grenache-Mataro-Shiraz 2013 (Holy Ground, £26) and Kalleske’s Clarry’s Grenache-Shiraz-Mataro 2014 (New Generation, £19.99).
Of the Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc blends, Margaret River swept the board, with Larry Cherubino’s Pedestal 2013 (Hallgarten, £19) taking the top spot, followed by Fraser Gallop’s 2012 blend (Bibendum, £16.95) and Cullen’s Mangan 2013 (Liberty Wines, £19.99).
The Hunter Valley also stole the show in the Semillon category, with Tyrrell’s Vat 1 2009 (Fells, £25) taking the Mamba from Brokenwood’s ILR Reserve 2007 (Negociants, £33) and Mount Pleasant’s Cellar-Aged Elizabeth 2007 (Majestic, £14.99)
Decanter’s consultant editor Steven Spurrier presented UK importer Negociants with the inaugural Yvonne May Memorial Decanter for the best-value wine of the evening as chosen by the tasters – Yalumba’s Ancient Bush Vine Grenache 2013 (£14).
The award, sponsored by Wine Australia, is in honour of the generic body’s regional director of the EU, UK and Ireland who lost her battle with cancer last year.
Roger Jones is one of the judges on the Australia panel at the Decanter World Wine Awards and regularly judges Australian wines at Decanter panel tastings. The Harrow’s wine list of 1,000 bins is more than a third Australian.
See Mamba Awards results for 2014 and 2013.
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California Cabernet 2011: panel tasting results

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Rioja 2007: panel tasting results

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