1. Cobos Marchiori Block C2 Malbec 2016
Viña Cobos is overseen by the legend that is Paul Hobbs, who has built multiple successful wineries across the globe. He’d always had a soft spot for Argentina, but after seeing its potential, decided to get more involved. I visited this winery in 2016 and met winemaker, Andres Vignoni, and from the moment these wines touched my lips, fell in love. Marchiori is a truly outstanding example of why Argentina is striking such a chord. This particular bottle comes from ‘Block C2’, a collection of vines that have been there for over 80 years. The wine itself is deep ruby red, a dark and intense wonder with notable scents of roses, violets, figs, white pepper and cloves. A sip brings raspberries, dark chocolate, silky tannins and an elegant white pepper, black cherry finish. Phwoar.
£378 (three bottles) from Fine + Rare
2. Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle Magnum 22nd Edition
Sparkling wines hold a special place in my heart and I’ll never shy away from a great Champagne, especially in a magnum! Laurent Perrier is the producer of one of my favourite rose brut Champagnes, but it also creates a rare expression called Grand Siecle, which I believe more people need to get their hands on. Launched in 1959, this is only the 22nd time the house has created this beauty, a blend of 2004, 2002 and 1999 vintages. If you’re wanting a Champagne that not only looks the part, but tastes incredible, then I’d send you in this direction. 100% Grand Cru Vineyards, ten years on the lees to give it that creamy brioche character and phenomenal winemaking that results in candied citrus, gingerbread, toasted almonds and a beautiful floral and honey character.
£299 from The Finest Bubble
3. Ixsir Grande Reserve
Lebanon isn’t the first place people think of when it comes to wine, but they are producing some pretty fantastic stuff and have been for centuries! Its vineyards sit at an altitude of around 1,800 metres, some of the highest in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning the perfect conditions for concentrated wines. Today, I’ve picked out a white and red from the Grande Reserve range. The white comprises 60% Viognier, 25% Sauvignon and 15% Chardonnay aged for six months in oak barrels. Elegantly driven – you’ll experience an explosion of white flowers, peach and citrus fruits, held together with an oaky complexity. The red – 50% Syrah, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Arinarnoa – spends 12 months in oak barrels. This result is a mineraldriven feast of meadow berries and spices.
£25 (White), £29 (Red) from Great Western Wine
4. The Dalmore Aged 51 Years
It’s not that often you see a whisky that has aged for more than half a century being released to the market, but The Dalmore has once again created a surge of excitement with its latest bounty, a 51-year-old Single Malt, of which only 51 bottles exist. Beginning its maturation journey in ex-bourbon casks, The Dalmore Aged 51 Years was then distributed between prestigious Port Colheita 1938 casks, exclusive Matusalem sherry casks and firstfill bourbon casks. The spirit was finally reunited in specially selected bourbon barrels for a final flourish, demonstrating how deeply The Dalmore treasures the sanctity of the cask. I was lucky enough to try this wonder in my TV Series The Three Drinkers on Amazon Prime before the release and I can quite confidently say it is one of the most beautiful whiskies I’ve ever had the fortune of being able to try.
£55,000 from The Dalmore
Another great example of a non-alcoholic spirit that has both quality, taste and texture! What do I want in my glass? A decent drink. Does it always have to contain alcohol? No. Everleaf combines real vanilla from the northeastern corners of Madagascar and vetiver from Haiti alongside a plethora of sustainably and ethically sourced plants and botanicals. You can get as creative as you like, but I love getting some good tonic, pouring a decent measure into the glass with ice and garnishing with a wedge of lemon. The vanilla, honey and floral nature of the drink comes together with the slight bitter-sweetness of the tonic to create a really vibrant and refreshing drink.
£18 from Sainsbury’s
6. Warner’s Rhubarb Gin
I’m from Yorkshire, so naturally I love Rhubarb. I’m also a lover of G&Ts and cocktails, which makes this next choice an easy one. Warner’s Distillery is based in Harrington, Northamptonshire and prides itself on picking botanicals from its own land. That’s why it has been able to produce a variety of flavoured (naturally flavoured) gins. In this case we have what is the very first ‘Pink Gin’ to have been created. The reason? No colouring, no artificial flavouring and no bitters, just 4,000 tonnes of real rhubarb which equates to a third of each and every bottle being pure pressed rhubarb juice.
£34 from Master of Malt