The IWC ends, and a chance to enter the inner circle

Today was the last day of the International Wine Challenge (IWC), and today I was admitted to the inner circle: I was asked to fill in as a co-chair for the morning, along with Tim Atkin, Sam Harrop, Charles Metcalfe, Derek Smedley and Victor de la Serna (overseas guest co-chair). The co-chairs perform an important […]

Closures for fine wines

Just finished my next Gros Lees column for The World of Fine Wine. It’s on the subject of wine bottle closures, but this time I’m focusing solely on fine wine.

I won’t steal the thunder from the piece, but I will just mention one of the points I make, which is that the perspective you have […]

Bordeaux 2009 at the home of cricket

After the IWC today, I headed over to Lord’s for a Bordeaux tasting put on by Bibendum Wine. I love the way Bibendum treat their private customers like adults: for the last few years they have persuaded the Bordeaux producers to send cask samples and representatives over to let customers taste the new vintage for […]

St Peter's Organic Ale

Back to the International Wine Challenge today. This week we are judging the wines that passed from last, awarding them medals, and in a few cases demoting some. Had another great panel today. The wine trade is full of interesting and friendly people, it seems.

I’ve been working hard this evening, so it’s time to begin […]

Natural wines: what are they, exactly?

Spent a good portion of today at the Real Wine tasting convened by UK importer (of mainly natural wines) Les Caves de Pyrene. Rarely have I spent a day tasting such thrilling, diverse, intellectually challenging and soul-seducing bottles.

But what exactly are natural wines?

There’s no strict definition, and I’m not sure we should introduce one, or […]

Photos from Napa

Just posted my pictures from California’s Napa Valley on the photo section of It’s a beautiful place in autumn when the sun is out. I’ve just finished an article for The Drinks Business on my Napa trip back in November, focusing on how the region is rediscovering its roots: forget about all the cult […]

Should wine blogs be just about wine? Is personal stuff appropriate?

One of the questions that I ask myself about blogging is whether or not to include personal information here, or just to stick to wine.

I think a bit of personal material is good. It helps you understand more about where I’m coming from. It;s important to understand a bit about the author if you are […]

Verus Pinot Gris, Slovenia

Very impressed by the Verus wines from Slovenia. They’re deliciously fresh, aromatic and pure, as well as being beautifully packaged. They are commercially astute and well priced to boot. Here’s the Pinot Gris.

Verus Pinot Gris 2008 Slovenia
13% alcohol. Grapey, smokey and sweetly fruited with nice texture and a bit of spritz adding freshness. It’s an […]

An impressive Chilean Pinot Noir

After posting on a delicious flight of Chilean Pinot Noirs at the International Wine Challenge this week, I was really pleased to find this gem. It’s a beautifully supple, quite elegant expression of Pinot Noir from Chile’s Bio Bio region. It’s not perfect: there’s some savoury/oaky character obscuring the fruit a bit, but it’s delicious […]

IWC: end of the first week

I’d forgotten what it was like to leave work on a Friday afternoon. When you are a freelancer, every day is weekend. But after spending five days working at the International Wine Challenge, it was nice to begin the wind-down to the weekend on the journey home.

I have really enjoyed the last week, but it […]