Memories are made of this… Steven Spurrier talks about the wines in his cellar

Steven Spurrier in his cellar selecting long forgotten wines to drink during lockdown

My cellar is 90% European – of which 70% is French, and in turn, 35% of that is claret. Even before knowing how long ‘lockdown’ would be, I decided to go “off piste” for evening red wines, opening bottles that had been forgotten for years. First up were the last of three 2001s from the Douro, early in the adventure of table wines away from Port. The Prats-Symington Chryseia – only the second vintage – showed good fruit with Medoc firmness on the finish, Dirk von Niepoort’s Redoma was still full of briary energy, while Quinta do Vale Meao, my favourite of the three, combined richness, spice and smoothness.

The information that Carlos Falco, Marques de Grinon, had died from the coronavirus aged 83, led me to open a 2000 Syrah from his Dominio de Valdepusa estate near Toledo, still full of velvety vigour. Carlos Falco was the founder of the “Pagos” single estate vineyards that brought justified attention to wines from northern Spain. My Spanish wine rack reminded me of several old vintages of Rioja Gran Reserva from Marques de Caceres, so on alternate evenings I decanted the 1998 and 1991. The ruby red colour of the former led to wonderful Tempranillo flavours, years in American oak beautifully blended in, while the latter showed fine textural fruit, a classic Rioja in all its mature glory.

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