Two presents, given to me on separate occasions, which came together on Easter Monday a week or so ago. The decanter was a present from colleagues on my recent departure from the company – note the engraving – while the wine was a present for a significant birthday several years ago. It seemed fitting that they should be brought together in this way.
In style the Riedel Ultra it is very close to that of a ship’s decanter, which wine drinkers generally seem to regard it as a Good Thing because it exposes a large area of wine surface to air. I am not convinced about how much difference that makes, but the wide bottom is also good if you want to give the wine a bit of a shake to get more oxygen in. The neck is comfortable to hold, whether you want to shake, pass around the table, or pour. Overall, the decanter is very elegant and practical, and a pleasure to use. The only slight awkwardness is that you need to tip it to an alarming angle to get the last drop of wine out, but there is really no escaping that for wide bottomed decanters.
And what of the decanter’s contents? This was Château Milens, Saint-Émillion Grand Cru, 2001. Wine-Searcher suggests that in the UK it is only available by the case, at around £25 a bottle for vintages going back to the late 90s. Here’s the tasting note… Medium garnet. Intense, and mature on the nose, but still with some blackcurrant fruit – rather attractive. Medium acid, and pretty high levels of astringency, though the astringency did not seem obtrusive, especially with the roast lamb we were eating. Excellent length, with a mature, complex finish. This is very good now, though a few more years could well be beneficial. As a rule my wife and I would not naturally gravitate towards Bordeaux for red wines, but we both gave this the thumbs-up *****
So thank you everyone for the decanter, and for the wine. Please let me know if you were responsible for the wine gift, because all I remember (for whatever reason) was finding the bottle after the party. If you just accidentally left it behind let me know anyway, and I will try to make amends.