Feeling happy on a sunny day

Mood is a strange thing. I just woke up this morning feeling happy. Then the kids were nice. The sun shone.

I went for a walk with the dog. Spring really is here, at last.

Things I saw during the walk: (1) a heron catch and eat a fish. That’s the first time I’ve seen that. (2) [...]

The Wanderer: impressive Shiraz and Pinot from the Yarra Valley

Two very nice wines from a new (to me, at least) producer in the Yarra Valley, Andrew Marks’ The Wanderer. The story of Australian wine isn’t actually about big brands, over-ripeness and critter labels – it’s a country with many hundreds of good small producers, many of whom are making very interesting wines. Marks is [...]

Video: harvest time at the spectacular Quinta do Noval, in Portugal’s Douro

Here’s a short film I shot at the spectacular Quinta do Noval, in Portugal’s Douro, during the 2009 harvest.

Wine photographs: Germany

Just been spending some time putting some of my wine photographs online (Photos from Germany: Part 1, Rheingau; and Part 2, Nahe).

In my travels, I’ve collected quite a library of wine pictures, using my trusty Pentax DSLR and with back-up from my handily pocket-sized Panasonic Lumix DMC-Tz5. The problem is, I have been [...]

Southbank Estate Sauvignon Blanc now at £3

Totally absurd price for what is a very good wine: I’ve discovered that Asda are now selling through their remaining stocks of Southbank Estates 2009 Sauvignon Blanc (an estate-bottled Sauvignon from Marlborough, not some bulk shipped tactical ‘soft’ brand) at just £3. The 2009 is better than the 2008, which is the one I previously [...]

Easter Champagne: Mumm de Cramant

This is a gorgeous Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay only) Champagne. It’s a little unusual in that it has 4.5 bars pressure rather than the usual 6 bars, but I really like it.

Champagne Mumm de Cramant Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV
Full yellow colour. Fresh and quite intense with lovely savoury, herb-tinged, gently toasty [...]

Sweet wine season, 12: Churchill's 20 Year Old Tawny Port

There are two major styles of Port. The first is Ruby (a category including Vintage, Single Quinta, LBV, Crusted, Vintage Character and Ruby) – wines aged for a relatively short time in larger wood, and then bottled with lots of fruit. The second is Tawny, wines aged for much longer in wood (usually in 600 [...]

Epiphytes

Just been walking the dog on Hounslow Heath. Sort of hinting at spring, today, but still quite cold. The highlight of the walk was finding some beautiful epiphytes (a term used to describe plants growing on other plants) – mosses and lichens, to be specific, on the trunk of a tree.

Lest you think me a [...]

A difficult day finishes well with Riesling

I don’t think Riesling will ever be fashionable, but I do enjoy it. Tonight I’m sipping a nice one from Leitz in Germany’s Rheingau, who I visited last May. It’s not one of their top wines, but it is very drinkable – the Rudesheimer Kabinett 2008, showing honeyed, limey fruit and crisp grapefruit notes on [...]

Spier Creative Block Sauvignon Blanc

If you like your Sauvignon Blancs big, aromatic, and in your face, this could be just the wine for you. I was impressed by it. I find South African Sauvignon  Blanc a bit hit and miss, because many winemakers there seem to be obsessed with getting as much methoxypyrazine (the chemical in slightly unripe grapes [...]