Impressive Northern Rhône Syrah: Jaboulet's Thalabert in a new guise

Philippe & Vincent Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage Nouvelière 2007 Northern Rhône, France
This is made from what were the bulk of the Thalabert vineyards, which Philippe and Vincent retained when Jaboulet was sold a few years ago. A very Burgundian expression of Syrah, with a smooth, slightly meaty, dark cherry nose with some plummy, green herby notes. The [...]

High alcohol: why it is a problem

I’m listening to some of the reports coming out of Bordeaux with alarm. The 2009 vintage has a dark side: high alcohol. The wine of one famous chateau weighs in at a heady 15.6% alcohol. In Bordeaux? This is a region that used to make great wines at around 12% alcohol. Not any more.

There are [...]

Following Bordeaux 2009 from a distance, and a chance to taste 09 in the UK

As you can gather from reading my blog, I’m not in Bordeaux this week, unlike many of my colleagues. They’re out there for the Primeurs: the annual event when samples of baby wines from the previous vintage, still in barrel, are shown to the trade and press.

The excitement this year is that 2009 looks like [...]

Cabernet Franc ambassadors tasting

Very enjoyable day’s work today, judging 103 Cabernet Franc-based reds from the Loire.

Sam Harrop has been working with InterLoire for a few years on the Cabernet Franc project, which aims to increase the profile of this wonderful variety, as well as encourage producers to make better wines through developing a winemaking protocol.

One aspect of the [...]

Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat Minervois: another stunner from the Languedoc

It seems I’m having a bit of joy in the Languedoc. I may have to make a visit soon to see what’s going on. This is a beautifully pure, fresh, natural expression of Minervois.

Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat Minervois ‘Mais ou est Donc Ornica’ 2008
13.5% alcohol. Deep coloured. A wonderfully pure, fresh, elegant expression of [...]

Really interesting cool-climate Chilean Syrah

I’ve just written up the wines from Chilean producer Viña Leyda on the main wineanorak site. They’re all brilliant, but I thought I’d draw readers’ attention to one of the wines, which is a deliciously fresh, peppery cool-climate Syrah.

Viña Leyda Canelo Single Vineyard Syrah 2007 Leyda Valley, Chile
Fresh, floral cool climate Syrah nose [...]

Sweet wine season, 11: Turkey Flat Pedro Ximenez

I haven’t finished my sweet wine season yet. Not by any measure. Here’s number 11, and we’re off to Australia’s Barossa Valley for a bit of a rarity: an Australian Pedro Ximenez.

Turkey Flat Pedro Ximenez NV Barossa Valley, Australia
17% alcohol. A liqueur wine made by adding spirit to part fermented wine. Attractive red/brown colour. Sweet, [...]

The Times to start charging for content

Today, News International announced that The Times and The Sunday Times will be the first of the UK’s popular broadsheet papers to start charging for content. From June, readers will only be able to access the online content by paying £1 a day or £2 a week. Those subscribing to the paper version will be [...]

Fantastic Languedoc wine: d’Aupilhac Les Cocalieres 2007

Simply a note, on a stunner from Sylvain Fadat in the Languedoc, a region I fell in love with many years ago but have somewhat neglected of late.

Domaine d’Aupilhac ‘Les Cocalières’ 2007 Montpeyroux, Languedoc, France
13.5% alcohol. 40% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache. Beautifully packaged, this is a wonderfully bright, elegant Languedoc red, but it’s quite [...]

Top 100 Vin de Cépages à Indication Géographique Protégée!

Spent the day tasting for what was previously the Top 1oo Vin de Pays competition. Since August 2009, Vin du Pays as a classification for French wines has been replaced byVin de Cépages à Indication Géographique Protégée , which shortens and translates in English to Protected Geographical Indication. Thus Vin de Pays d’Oc will now [...]