10 wines to try be­fore you die

To cel­e­brate the pub­li­ca­tion of her lat­est book, 101 Wines to Try Be­fore You Die, Mar­garet Rand rec­om­mends a se­lec­tion of off­beat bot­tles that no wine lover should miss

Decanter - - CONTENTS -

Mar­garet Rand se­lects off­beat op­tions from her new book, 101 Wines to Try Be­fore You Die

IT’s A woN­DER­ful feel­ing, when wine across the world be­gins to turn in the right di­rec­tion. By which I mean, of course, the di­rec­tion I think is right: bal­ance, trans­parency, poise and pre­ci­sion. Apart from a few di­nosaurs of the wine world, we’re see­ing the back of over-oak­ing and over­ripeness; pro­duc­ers in many ar­eas are seek­ing ways of bring­ing down ex­ces­sive sugar lev­els.

Nar­row­ing the wines of the world to just 101 for my book was there­fore an even tougher task than it would have been 10 years ago. Ev­ery re­gion is sprout­ing new, am­bi­tious and in­no­va­tive pro­duc­ers. should I pick new and barely tried names be­cause their first re­leases had pleased me so much, or should I look for a track record? should I fo­cus on bio­dy­namic grow­ers, whose wines can be so won­der­ful even if the pseudo-sci­ence be­hind them can be so an­noy­ing? How many of the ac­knowl­edged icon wines of the world should I in­clude?

This last was my big­gest prob­lem. why leave out la­tour and lafite, Au­sone and Petrus, when those wines – when I’ve had oc­ca­sion to taste them – have knocked me side­ways? space, is the an­swer. To have in­cluded them would have meant leav­ing out the likes of wieninger’s Gemis­chter satz, Hatzi­dakis As­syr­tiko or steve Pan­nell’s Gre­nache – and ev­ery­body knows about la­tour and lafite. You don’t need me to tell you they’re good.

some­times a coin came into it: tossed in the air, and com­ing down heads or tails. A cou­ple of wines were cho­sen like that. Hon­estly, how would you choose be­tween Chablis from Rave­neau or from Dau­vis­sat? A 10p coin de­cided it for me. some­times, with the great vine­yard of Ach­leiten in Aus­tria’s wachau, even a coin wouldn’t work, and I set­tled for the vine­yard it­self. It might be a cop-out to say that the wines are so hard to come by that you should grab any you see, but it’s eas­ier than de­cid­ing be­tween Jamek, Toni Bo­den­stein, Rudi Pich­ler or Domäne wachau.

some re­gions I left out al­to­gether; some, given an­other 100 wines to play with, would have been more heav­ily rep­re­sented. You might say: ‘oh, you wouldn’t have put in A if you had tasted B.’ And that may well be true. I haven’t tasted ev­ery wine in the world. My per­sonal list of wines I still need to try be­fore I die is prob­a­bly a lot longer than 101. In the mean­time, the 10 wines on these pages will of­fer you a snap­shot of the se­lec­tion in my book and pro­vide some drink­ing in­spi­ra­tion.

‘Ev­ery­body knows about La­tour and Lafite. You don’t need me to tell you they’re good’

101 Wines to Try Be­fore You Die by Mar­garet Rand is pub­lished by Cas­sell, £12

Mar­garet Rand is a widely pub­lished and awarded wine writer and DWWA judge

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