Day 1, London wine trade fair

It has been a long and busy day at the London International Wine Fair.

It began early, and Shrek nearly died. He’s our younger cat. As regular readers know, we have a dog, RTL (Rosie The Labradoodle). She joined the family after the two cats, one of whom we adopted from Eric Clapton (the musician), and [...]

Pennautier Cabardes – brilliant value!

It’s always good to find an affordable wine that really over-delivers. This is fantastic stuff, and it’s an utter bargain.

Château de Pennautier 2008 Cabardès, France
From a small (500 ha) appellation in the Languedoc, this is one of my bargain wines of the year. It shows distinctive, savoury, gravelly, structured dark fruits with good acidity and [...]

Jackson Estate Gum Emperor Pinot Noir

Another good NZ Pinot Noir. It’s Jackson Estate’s Gum Emperor, from Marlborough. While this isn’t New Zealand’s top Pinot Noir region, the best examples are brilliant, and this is one of the good ones.

Jackson Estate Gum Emperor Pinot Noir 2007 Marlborough, New Zealand
Sweet, pure, ripe nose of aromatic dark cherry fruit with some lushness. The [...]

Confused by the 'Top 100' Aussie wines list

I must admit to being slightly confused by Matthew Jukes’ Top 100 Australian Wines list, which has just been released here.

It’s a funny mix of genuinely exciting high-end wines, and also more run-of-the-mill, well made commercial offerings. In the former category I’d count the likes of  Yabby Lake’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Cullen’s Diana Madeleine, [...]

Montana Sauvignon Blanc and the oddly priced Reserve

Montana’s Sauvignon Blanc is almost always a benchmark example of the Marlborough style, made in large quantities (so you can find it everywhere) and sold at an affordable price. I tried the 2009 version alongside the 2009 Reserve.

Asda’s pricing, where both are on the shelf, is hard to understand. The regular Montana Sauvignon Blanc 2009 [...]

Recently on the main wineanorak site

Some recent additions to the main wineanorak.com site, where I publish longer articles not really suited to the blog format.

Gunderloch: visiting this leading Rheinhessen producer (the Rheinhessen vineyards are pictured above)
Schramsberg: top Sparkling wines from the Napa Valley
Bindi: one of Australia’s top producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Cain: the first port of call on my [...]

Cricket and wine on a Friday

On the way back from cricket. Several times a year I take a day off and spend it playing. Play is important for adults, just as it is for children. So I love playing cricket for the wine trade team. Today was the first fixture of the season, versus the Gents of Essex, at Coggeshall [...]

Two great IPAs: St Peter’s and Meantime

One of my occasional forays into beer. Two of them tonight; both in the IPA style, which I am really keen on.

St Peter’s India Pale Ale
5.5% alcohol. £1.99 Waitrose. Aromatically full of interest, this has some sweet toasty, bready aromas which combine nicely with floral, zesty hoppy notes. In the mouth, it is full and rich [...]

Ban alcohol promotions?

Would it be a terrible idea to ban alcohol promotions?

I was filming again with the BBC today, on the subject of tactical brands (or trade drivers, or whatever you want to call them). These are inexpensive wines that are dressed up to look like, say, £10 bottles, and which are then sold ‘half price’ for [...]

Yabby Lake lunch with Tom Carson

Tom Carson is one of the bright hopes of Australian wine. He was previously with Yering Station in the Yarra Valley, but a few years back moved to a much smaller operation in the Mornington Peninsula, Yabby Lake.

Here, he’s fashioning some superb Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Today, at a lunch held at the wonderful Ransomes [...]