Two contrasting Rhone-style wines from California and Australia

Two rather different takes on the Rhone here, one tending towards old world elegance; the other, unashamedly ripe and new world in style. They’re both from UK supermarket (or, to be technically correct, department store) Marks & Spencer, made for them by famous winegrowers. My preference is for the Bonny Doon, but I can see […]

Wine and sleep

I drink wine most nights. And in reasonable, but not excessive quantities. But on the nights when I go to bed without drinking, my sleep is different. First of all, I take a lot longer to go to sleep. And second, I remember my dreams much more vividly. This may be because I dream more, […]

Sweet wine season, 3: De Bortoli Noble One

De Bortoli’s Noble One is now firmly established as an Aussie icon. Since its first vintage in 1982, it has established a strong reputation as a complex botrytised sweet wine that has the capacity to age beautifully. This, the 2006 vintage, is just beautiful. It’s the second time I’ve drunk it, with consistent notes.

De Bortoli […]

High-end northern Rhone white: Domaine du Tunnel St Peray

This is quite special, but it could probably do with a couple more years to loosen up. Saint-Peray is one of the forgotten appellations of the northern Rhone, and this is a varietal Roussanne that shows just how good it can be, in the right hands.

Stephane Robert Domaine du Tunnel Saint-Peray Roussanne 2007 Northern Rhone, […]

Sweet wine season, 2: a Canadian Ice Wine

Ice wine, made from crushing frozen grapes, resulting in a must with sugar and acid both hugely concentrated, is an extreme form of sweet wine. The amazing sweetness is usually countered by the high acidity. Grapes have to be left on the vine, and kept healthy, through to December or even January, when they are […]

Video: Quinta do Romaneira, a spectacular Douro property

Here’s a film from my visit to Romaneira, a spectacular vineyard in Portugal’s beautiful Douro Valley. Since 2004, a coalition headed by Christian Seely (Quinta do Noval) has revitalized this property, and it’s now making some spectacular wines. It is also host to a luxury hotel. I’d love to be able to afford to stay […]

Sweet wine season, 1: Seifried Sweet Agnes Noble Riesling

I’m starting a series on sweet wines. I think they’re neglected. The truth is, as a group they encompass some of the most exciting and complex of all wines. Often, they’re fantastic bargains, even if they are rarely cheap. There are many different styles of sweet wine, and I’m starting with a rather unsual sweet […]

More on the loss-leading £4 Southbank Kiwi Sauvignon

A few days ago I posted on the £4 Southbank Estate Marlborough Sauvignon, and how this sort of price cutting was potentially damaging for brand New Zealand, even if it is a great deal for consumers.

I spoke to Elizabeth Ferguson at Southbank Estate’s UK agent Mentzendorff to find out the background to this story. Asda warned […]

Video: Bollinger's ungrafted vieilles vignes

Here’s a short film of Champagne Bollinger’s two small (0.15 and 0.21 hectares) vineyards of ungrafted vines, planted en foule (‘in a crowd’) by a technique called layering. The fruit from here is used to make the Vieilles Vignes Francaises, a rare, unusual and expensive wine that I’ve only tried once.

My three-part report on last […]

Picture quiz

OK, a quick picture quiz. What variety is being grown here, and where is the vineyard? And what’s unusual about the way the vines are being grown?