Pete Stewart recommends
PHEASANT has a classic match in the wine world. With pheasant, you’re supposed to go to the cellar and pick an old Pomerol or a Saint-Emilion (essentially a Merlot-dominant Bordeaux blend). My issue with Bordeaux is that you never really get good value. I don’t mind paying for a bottle as long as the quality and the value are in synch, which (in my opinion) rarely happens in Bordeaux.
So, in my time in the trade, I’ve always been on the lookout for good-value Bordeaux or new world alternatives (basically the same grapes, but from different regions around the world). Very occasionally, I’ve managed to find a bottle that ticks all my boxes, and this week’s recommendation is the best Pomerol alternative that I’ve found in 22 years.
The wine is made by a young man that I’ve mentioned several times in this column before. Matias Riccitelli is one of the best winemakers currently working in Argentina. I’d actually rate him in my top 10 producers in the world. His dad, Jorge Riccitelli, was the head winemaker at Norton for years, so Matias grew up surrounded by wine. This was a really good start for Matias and set him on his path to where he is today, at the forefront of modern Argentinian wine production.
When he came of age, he initially travelled the world learning his trade from some very cool producers, before returning home and buying some exceptionally old vineyards allowing him to immediately produce some remarkable wines. His Republica del Malbec, for example, could potentially change your life. It is that good.
The wine to match Shirley’s pheasant, however, is his Riccitelli Old Vines Merlot 2015 (Inverarity One to One, £34.99) from Patagonia in Southern Argentina. The vines are ungrafted (original, prephyloxera) and over 50 years old. The wine is aged in concrete vats (which incidentally also happens with Petrus, one of the most expensive wines in the world). You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a particularly gamey Bordeaux on the nose and palate, when instead you’re arguably getting the new world wine bargain of the year. If this were from Pomerol, at this quality, you’d certainly be paying over £50 a bottle. The production is such that we could only secure 24 bottles, and I don’t expect them to be here for long. Buy a pheasant, and pop in soon. Cheers! Pete Stewart is Glasgow director of Inverarity One To One, 185a Bath Street, Glasgow www.inveraritymorton.com