Gordon & MacPhail Linkwood 16 Côte Rôtie wood finish.

One of my favourite places to enjoy a dram is the whisky bar ‘Scotch’ located within The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. I always find something new and interesting each and every time. You can read about a previous visit here.

On my last visit I was introduced to two rather fine Gordon & McPhail bottlings.

One was a 1991 Balblair finished in a Crozes-Hermitage cask and the other was a 1998 Linkwood finished in a Cote Rotie cask.

Both were stunning but the Linkwood just seemed a little better so on my way home via a rather poor ScotRail wifi connection I drunkenly allowed myself to buy a bottle.

My wine knowledge is somewhat limited so I thought I would bring in my ‘go to’ wine oracle, The Whisky Pilgrim, to give us an insight.

Cote Rotie (‘roasted slope’) is one of the finest, most sought-after and most expensive red wine styles in the world. 

Made in the Northernmost tip of France’s Rhône valley and grown in dizzyingly steep vineyards it is predominantly produced from the red Syrah grape (known as Shiraz in Australia.) 

Nowadays typically a powerful, long-lived style of wine, albeit less burly than nearby Hermitage, the best produce notes of intense black fruit accompanied by a distinctive minerality; think smoke and slate. Sometimes the Syrah is blended with a touch of aromatic white grape Viognier to perfume the wine and soften the Syrah’s intensity. 

Rare to find under £30 per bottle, but cult examples, such as Guigal’s Single Vinyard ‘La Mouline’ can stretch well into three or even four figures a throw.

So now we know about the casks previous contents it’s onto the whisky…

Linkwood, 16y.o, IB, Gordon & Macphail Private Collection, 45% abv, (from my collection) (available here)

The nose is deep and dark. Stewed red fruits, cherries, brown sugar and vanilla mix well alongside a slightly sharper note of redcurrants. 

The palate is a mix of fruit, tannic and sweet elements.  Some leather, orange and strawberry notes intertwine with apples and stewed raisins. Perhaps a hint of dark chocolate here and there. During the finish the vanilla builds and then makes way to a slight spice and some oaky notes to leave a pleasant drying finish.

Im going to say now that by the end of 2016 I am convinced that this will be still in the running for one of my drams of the year. Stunning stuff.

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