The heart of the
wineanorak site: a series of in-depth - but readable - articles covering
all aspects of wine. See also the section of the site devoted to controversies
for more feature articles.
Sadie and his remarkable wines
A stunning vertical tasting and
interview with one of South Africa's leading winegrowers, Eben
Sadie of the Swartland
- Is noble
wine a valid concept?
A star-studded panel are convened by the AIV to discuss whether
'noble' is valid when applied to wine. Here's an in-depth report.
at Château Margaux
Paul Pontallier presents results from in-house research at this
Bordeaux first growth, looking at trials of screwcaps, the effect of
organics and biodynamics, and the role of stems in winemaking.
A closer look at this winemaking technique, which is commonly
used to maker light, fruity red wines.
George Fistonich interview
Jamie Goode meets the man who, 50 years ago, founded one of New
Zealand's leading wineries.
media in the wine industry
Jamie Goode outlines 12 things that you need to know
about using social media in the wine industry
Jamie Goode reports on a remarkable tasting of the wines of
Pomerol, ending with the 1952 Petrus
amazing Wendouree tasting
Tasting 14 of these rare cult wines from Australia's Clare
Valley, back to 1990
River: a remarkable story
New Zealand's leading winery? Perhaps. Neil McCallum's Dry River
demonstrates how science can be applied to produce really
great Portuguese fortified wine tasting
Portugal makes some of the globe's greatest fortified wines.
Here, Jamie Goode gets a once in a lifetime chance to sample old
Ports, Madeiras and Moscatels back to 1863
An interview and tasting with the man behind Bonny Doon - one of
the wine world's most interesting characters
tasting: subjective or objective?
Jamie Goode tackles a thorny question. Most experts, when
pressed, say that wine tasting is all subjective, but they behave as
if they don't really believe this. See also: Constructing
reality - some thoughts on the nature of perception, and how
this applies to wine tasting.
have the scientists done for us?
Jamie Goode tracks some of the key advances in wine science over
the last 20 years, and casts an eye to the future
Now widely recognized as one of Australia's great wines,
Clonakilla's Shiraz Viognier comes from the rather obscure Canberra
region. I meet with owner Tim Kirk for a vertical tasting of this
remarkable wine, spanning 1997-2008
Sauvignon Blanc: can it be serious?
Sauvignon Blanc is a much-loved grape variety, but it has been
accused of being a bit of a one-trick pony, only capable of making
one style of wine. Jamie Goode tastes 25 top Sauvignon Blancs, and
asks the question: can it be serious?
science in the vineyard
Chilean producer Viña Casa Silva have initiated an
interesting collaborative project aiming to understand the
small-scale differences in their vineyards, with a view to using
this information to improve wine quality.
Berlin Tasting (in London)
Eduardo Chadwick brings his Chilean icon wines to London, to
conduct a blind tasting pitting them against the greats. How did the
Chilean wines fare?
great Vouvrays, back to the 1940s
Domaine Huet is one of the top Loire producers, and here
Jamie Goode gets to taste an impressive vertical of their wines back
to the 1940s
alcohol wines: a new retail category?
Technology exists to remove alcohol from wine without
beating the wine up too much, and now producers are beginning to
develop wines with 'designer' levels of alcohol. Could this be a new
category of wine? And what do the wines actually taste like?
One of the most interesting concepts in
wine is that of terroir – the notion that a wine can possess a
sense of place, or a local flavour. But the problem with this
concept is that it is both blindingly obvious and hotly
controversial at the same time. Jamie Goode grapples with some of
the issues that obscure thinking on this topic
a remarkable vertical of one of Italy's top wines
This was a
remarkable tasting: a chance to try a vertical from one of Italy’s
most celebrated producers, Gianfranco Soldera, and it's written up
here in true anorak detail.
An introduction to this fortified wine, a report on an amazing
tasting, and a plea to consumers to drink more of it - all rolled
into one article.
International Pinot Noir Celebration:
Oregon's remarkable wine gathering
Each year, McMinnville, a small town in the heart of Oregon's wine
country, hosts an incredible event - a celebration of Pinot Noir,
attended by winegrowers and winelovers from around the world.
Cabernet Franc from the
Loire has generally been ignored and unloved by UK consumers. Now
there are moves afoot to change the wines and change the image.
Jamie Goode has a close look.
Bernard who? He's the winemaker behind one of the world's most
successful wine brands - Jacob's Creek.
Anne-Claude Leflaive is the head of one of the world's leading white
wine Domaines. I'm lucky enough to meet her and taste a number of
Miguel Torres is one of the
leading names in Spanish wine, and since he took the reins of the
family business, there's been no looking back: Torres make wines of
remarkable consistency from their inexpensive brands through to
exclusive single-vineyard wines.
The man behind Cloudy Bay
and Cape Mentelle has started again in Western Australia. Jamie
Goode meets David Hohnen and comes away impressed.
Banke and Kendall-Jackson
An interview with Barbara Banke, wife of Jess Jackson, and a tasting
of the Kendall-Jackson wines.
revival: is it good for wine?
Pink wines have enjoyed amazing sales growth over the last few
years, and the evidence is that they are pulling in consumers who
don't normally drink wine. This has to be a good thing, doesn't it?
Dominique Perrin interview
The man who saved Cartier is famous
in France but less well known in the UK. As well as a celebrity,
he's a wine nut whose making Cahors' most expensive wines.
wine at home, a guide
Fine wine needs to be
treated properly. Few of us access to traditional cellars, so what
are the options if we want to keep our precious bottles at home?
This feature, rewritten from an older article, is a handy resource
to help you decide where to stash your wine.
Weis and Silverado
An interview and tasting with the man charged with spreading the
world about high-end Napa producer Silverado
2007: initial impressions
A little early for a proper vintage
report, Jamie Goode visits Bordeaux as picking of the 2007 vintage
Jack's surprise move
Bruce Jack is the charismatic genius behind South Africa's Flagstone
wines. In a surprise move, he's sold up to Constellation, the
world's largest drinks company. But there's another side to this
A vertical tasting of wines from this leading Margaux property,
dating back to 1970.
Jamie Goode meets one of the icons
of the Australian wine scene, leading journalist and winemaker James
there an art to wine science?
outlines how science works, and why it is so useful for answering
questions about the world around us. But, despite its utility, the
scientific process is of only limited real-world use for wine
scientists, giving answers to just a limited subset of important
questions. There's somewhat of an art to good wine science, even
though this sounds heretical to most trained scientists.
Croser, Petaluma and Tapanappa
As one of the leading
figures in the Australian wine scene, Brian Croser needs little
introduction. Jamie Goode spends a couple of days with one of the
great wine scientists, and tries the new Tapanappa wines, as well as
a vertical of Petaluma's Coonawarra red.
'tannin' is commonly used in wine circles, but many people aren't
really sure exactly what it means. In this detailed article, Jamie
Goode unpacks this important subject, and discusses some exciting
new data that challenge the conventional wisdom on this topic.
2006 sees the rebirth of an
important competition. Jamie Goode takes part and reports back on
Seely: the interview
Christian Seely is a big shot in the
wine world. Jamie Goode catches up with the man in charge of
AXAs wine estates, including Pichon Baron, Suduiraut and Noval.
How wine went from an elitist tipple
to drink of the masses.
making red wines
The crucial step in red winemaking
is getting all the colour, structure and flavour out of the grape
skins. Jamie Goode presents an illustrated guide, telling us how
labels: the good, the bad and the absent
The back label represents an
opportunity for producers to speak to their public. Some take the
chance well, but others don't even bother. Here's a round-up of some
of the best and the worst.
wine: the effect of temperature and humidity
Wine storage is an important issue
for trade and consumer alike. In this overlong and potentially
boring article, Jamie Goode is surprised by the lack of good data on
the effects of varying cellaring conditions on wine, and
investigates the way wine is stored before it gets to the consumer.
They are only declared, on average,
three times a decade, so the release of a new batch of Vintage Ports
is newsworthy. Which are the best, and should you rush to buy them en
people, ideas and actions can all possess it, yet we can’t measure
it or define it terribly well. But beauty is of immense importance
in our lives, and we spend pursuing it. Why? Jamie Goode takes a
look at this concept and asks whether wines can possess beauty.
Vogüé: Burgundies with a history
In a region not short of elite producers, de Vogüé sits near the
front of the pack. Jamie Goode takes a detailed look at the exalted
wines from this top property.
Pinotage is the grape variety most closely associated with South
Africa, but it's currently Shiraz that is making all the waves. But
do the new high-end wines made from this star grape measure up? Time
to do some tasting.
The Barossa Valley is the historical
heartland of the Australian wine industry, and it's still making
some of this country's leading wines. In this multipart series,
Jamie Goode catches up with some of the next generation of Barossa
producers, and comes away impressed by the change in style that's
wine: an introduction
English wine has for a long time suffered from being a bit of a
novelty item. For most people, finding out that English vineyards
can make drinkable wine is a bit like hearing that an 80 year old
millionaire has fathered a child - it’s probably not the
performance that’s the object of attention, but rather that they
can do it at all. Jamie Goode gives an overview of this developing
For philosophers, the study of wine
drinking, its perception, and the shared experience that comes from
our attempts to write about wine offers rich pickings. Jamie Goode
reports on a meeting that brought together academic philosophers,
winemakers and wine hacks to discuss the philosophy of wine
Back in 2002, Jamie Goode first
visited Portugal's spectacular Douro region to report on the table
wine revolution that was taking place. In May 2004 he revisited the
region, to delve deeper and see how progress was going. Here's his
beyond hedonics: why we need to learn about wine
There are certain flavour
preferences that are innate; others must be learned. Jamie Goode
argues that if we allow our innate preferences to dictate our wine
choices, we're heading down a dead end.
Pepsi Challenge: what it tells us about wine tasting
In this short piece, Jamie
Goode describes an intriguing experiment that has implications for
how we view wine tasting.
One of the most important wine
regions in Portugal, the Dão is slowly but steadily transforming
itself. Jamie Goode visits, and in this multipart series reveals
some of the top wines and gets to grips with the leading producers.
weekend in Porto
Jamie Goode recently spent a weekend in Porto with Douro
winemaker Dirk Niepoort, gathered to celebrate his 40th
. For most of us the wines we had over these three days represented
the best part of a year's worth of drinking experiences all crammed
into a weekend. I took notes on almost everything, and they are
reproduced here for the sake of the record
art of blending
One aspect of the winegrower's craft
that is often overlooked is the art of blending. Jamie Goode takes a
look at some of the component parts of two great wines - Niepoort
Vintage Port 2003 and Beaucastel 2003 - and thinks about how they
fit together to make the final wine.
The iconic Château Musar, from the
Lebanon, is one of the wine world's enduring oddities, loved by some
and loathed by others. Jamie Goode enjoys a remarkable tasting of
these wines dating back to 1966.
warming: what are the implications for wine?
Weather's getting weirder and the
world is getting hotter, or so it seems. Jamie Goode looks at what
the researchers have to say about the potential effects on wine
A complete vertical of these wines offers the chance for me to
decide whether this Campanian wine is just another Parkerized
collector's item or a terroir-infused marvel.
Madeira, a fortified wine style
named after the island it comes from, is an oddity. But it's a
worthwhile oddity, offering a complex array of interesting flavours.
In this series of articles, Jamie Goode tastes his way through some
of the island's best wines.
for wine: making tasting notes more useful
One of the frustrations of writing
about wine is the difficulty of communicating what flavour
experiences in words. So how can we present tasting 'data' in a way
that is interesting, relevant and good to read?
As more new world
producers start to take an interest in terroir, scientists are
turning their attention to defining it and explaining how it affects
a wine. Jamie Goode investigates. [Originally appeared in Harper's
Wine and Spirit Weekly 12 September 2003.] See also: More
on terroir, a geologist speaks
on Stellenbosch: South Africa's key wine region
British tourists have been
flocking to the Cape in their droves in recent years, and for many
of them one of the highlights is a visit to the winelands. Jamie
Goode visits Stellenbosch to see what all the fuss is about.
perfect tasting note?
As an antidote to the usual format
of brief, rather shallow tasting notes, Jamie Goode attempts to
write the ultimate form of this genre. Of course, it isn't perfect,
but does this 1400 word epic give you a good impression of the wine
in question? You decide. See also: an extended tasting note
on a German Riesling and a Southern
Want to talk to someone about your
wine habit? Are you seeking new buddies to share your vinous passion
with? Here's the anorak's lowdown on the best wine bulletin boards.
on Pic St Loup
Jamie Goode visits one of the 'happening' wine regions of France's
Languedoc, the soon-to-be appellation of Pic St Loup.
two cultures: how the rise of the brands is changing the face of
The world of wine as we know it has changed radically over the last
couple of decades, and while many of the changes have been for the
better, some are giving cause for concern. Jamie Goode introduces a
new multipart series tracing the rise of the wine brands, and asks
whether this could spell the beginning of the end for interesting,
It's probably the
world's favourite red grape variety. But how does it perform in
different regions? And which examples of Syrah/Shiraz are the
'best'? Jamie Goode tastes 25 of the best, blind, and tries to draw
By the end of the 1990s, Sabaté’s Altec closure was widely
criticised for unacceptable levels of taint. After modifications,
the French manufacturer invited experts from the trade and press to
test the performance of its old and new closures. Jamie Goode
analyses the research model’s openness, methodology and its
surprising results [Originally appeared in Harper's
Wine and Spirit Weekly 15 November 2002].
Douro wine revolution
With its spectacular terraced vineyards and low yielding old vines,
the Douro could be one of the world's great fine wine regions. Now
that some of the best grapes—which previously were reserved for
Port production—being used to make table wines, the Douro's
immense potential is just beginning to be realised. This mammoth 12
part series charts the progress of the Douro wine revolution.
A major multipart series focusing on
this supercharged form of organic viticulture that is increasingly
popular with many of the world's leading producers, but which has
caused a good deal of controversy among proponents of scientifically
Syrah from the Northern Rhône
The most southerly red wine region in France's Northern Rhône,
Cornas has been overshadowed by more illustrious neighbours
Hermitage and Côte Rôtie. This is a little bit unfair, because
this tiny appellation makes some seriously seductive expressions of
Syrah. Time to investigate.
Grim times for the economy, but how's it looking for the wines?
Not too bad, as long as Argentinean wine makers can focus on quality
as well as quantity.
Semillon: the ultimate tasting
I'll be honest. The prospect of blind tasting 44 Aussie Semillons
doesn't sound too enticing. But the reality turns out to be better
than I'd expected: Semillon from down under is a bit of a forgotten
Zealand Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir, the prima donna
of red grape varieties, is doing rather well in New Zealand. So
well, in fact, that you could argue that overall NZ makes the best
Pinot Noirs outside of Burgundy. Now that’s a big claim, but one I
feel is backed up from this tasting of 25 leading New Zealand Pinot
Rôtie: the world's greatest Syrah?
The ancient hillside vineyards of Côte Rôtie, in France's
Northern Rhône, produce highly perfumed, expressive wines that are
considered by many to be the finest expression of the Syrah grape.
Sounds like perfect wineanorak territory....
on Mourvèdre: a grape variety on the rise
After languishing in the wilderness for a while, Mourvèdre is now
on the verge of becoming hip. It’s in the new world where the real
image change is taking place, and in particular California and
Australia. It used to be Mataro, a spotty teenager with a crap
social life. But it’s undergone an image makeover, metamorphosing
into Mourvèdre, the grape that everyone wants to know.
ten Pinotage: can I fall for it?
Pinotage, South Africa's 'own' grape variety, has a bit of a mixed
reputation. Tasting a range of award winning efforts, I see whether
I can be seduced by its charms.
Musar vertical: remarkable wines from the Lebanon
Owner Serge Hochar has propelled the complex but somewhat quirky
wines of Chateau Musar to the forefront of the fine wine world. In
this vertical tasting (i.e. lots of vintages of the same wine), we
take and in-depth look at the Musar phenomenon.
It's one of those grapes that often gets forgotten about. Always
rooting for the underdog, I taste some leading Semillons.
on organic wines: interview with Monty Waldin
With organic and biodynamic wines gaining ground in the
marketplace, it's time to look a little deeper at what they're all
about. The wineanorak asks organic wine expert Monty Waldin some
vines produce better wines
It's a strange phenomenon: give a vine a hard time and it actually
produces better grapes. This is the principle behind an interesting
new technique called partial root drying. We take a look.
wines of the Languedoc
The anorak tastes a stunning line-up of some of the emerging stars
from what is probably France's most happening wine region. The only
problem is getting your hands on these small-production
the noblest white grape
Chardonnay has won the minds and hearts of the masses, but Riesling
makes the wine trade's favourite white wines. Jamie Goode tastes 18
of the finest Rieslings from around the world, and discovers why the
experts think it's the noblest and most versatile of all the white
Africa's leading reds: ready for the premier league?
Tasting some of the best South Africa has to offer, the wineanorak
discusses whether these underrated wines are ready to slug it out
with the big boys.
a wine: how blind tasting fails
Wines are a bit like people: first impressions can be misleading.
While some wines have a suave persona, others need to be understood—blind
tasting does them no favours.
on the Pacific Northwest: the wines of Washington State and Oregon
If you thought US wine was all about California, it's time for you
to check out the increasingly sophisticated offerings from Oregon
and Washington State. I taste 62 wines from 13 producers.
on Condrieu: blind tasting of the 1999 vintage
extinct, the Viognier grape is now super-trendy, and Condrieu, in
the northern Rhône, is its home. The anorak takes a peek at how the
1999 vintage is shaping up.
wines: resurrecting dead DOCs
The Italian DOC system has been so devalued that leading
producers find that names like Soave and Chianti actually hinder
their marketing efforts. Italian specialist Joel Hopwood suggests a
way forward for rebuilding these once great names.
wine that is good enough
It's easy for wine geeks to overlook supposedly humble
wines which, in the right context, can be much 'better' than
something a lot grander.
science of taste and smell: insights from an evolutionary
OK, so this piece is probably a bit self-indulgent. I look at how
the field of evolutionary psychology can shed light on why wine
tasting is such a compelling pursuit.
on a roll: Beaucastel vertical tasting
With three great vintages in a row, it's boom time in
Châteauneuf du Pape, and Château de Beaucastel is one of the top
performers here, consistently making compelling, ageworthy wines.
The anorak tastes a string of vintages from 1979-1998.
'the one night stand of wines'
Coinciding with the release of the Nouveau 2000, Jamie
Goode checks out the wines of Beaujolais.
isn't dead yet!
I have a sort of
love-hate relationship with Chardonnay: one the one hand it makes
sublime white wines with depth of flavour and stunning complexity;
on the other, it produces a sea of bland, technological concoctions
that hardly merit describing as 'wine'.
revisited: towards a working definition
It's hard work discussing a concept that means different things to
different people, so I thought it might be worth trying to nail down
some sort of working definition for 'terroir'. Here's my rather
wine appreciation too far: a spot of amateur psychology
A light-hearted look at some of the deviant personality
types that result from getting too obsessed by the wine hobby.
white wines of South Africa
South African wines, and in particular their whites, have
maintained a low profile in the UK marketplace. But as this feature
shows, it's probably not because of their lack of quality.
and health: can drinking wine really be good for you?
The wine anorak teams up with Dr Chris Kissack to present a series
of articles investigating the potential health benefits of wine.
wines: raising the standard
Although they struggle against a wretched climate and a naff 'Olde
worlde merrye Englande' image, English wines are now better than
they've ever been, as this tasting demonstrates.
- Back to France
A new phenomenon:
thirty-something wine drinkers, weaned on Australian Shiraz,
Argentinian Malbec and Chilean Cabernet, are now turning to the
classic European wine regions. The anorak reports.
- The price of
I take a look at the impact of e-commerce on the price of fine
wine, and discovers some surprising discrepancies.
Chardonnay is everywhere! Although I'm an ardent fan of
this grape variety, even I have found myself wanting a break from
its rather obvious charms. Here I consider some of the alternatives.
wines: does it measure up? The anorak turns the spotlight on
the controversial practice of assessing wines by means of a
numerical rating. More gripping than a Parker 97-pointer!
- The myth of
the universal palate Wine competitions, numerical scoring of
wines and the concept of the 'best' wines all assume one thing: that
when we taste a wine, we are all experiencing the same thing. But
there is good evidence that this may not be the case.
- Spotlight on
Portuguese wines With the relentless, global swing towards
branded, technology-driven varietal wines, the wines of Portugal
have something unique and fresh to offer for those prepared to try
something a bit different. I'm a convert!
scandal of cork taint
secret of the wine industry is that around 5% of all bottles are
ruined at source by tainted corks. Why is it that many people are
still prepared to put up with this astonishing failure rate? I share
my views, and investigate the alternatives.
muddy thinking about the soil? The term 'terroir' is
undergoing something of a renaissance at the moment, but with its
extended use comes a degree of confusion—just what do people mean
by this term? Here I attempt to nail down a working definition of 'terroir',
and explore some of the controversial issues that surround it.
- Pic St Loup:
an emerging region The Pic St Loup region, a sub-region of
the Coteaux du Languedoc, is now producing some of the most
interesting wines in the South of France. I check some of them out.
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