In Marlborough

Flew into Blenheim, in the Marlborough wine region here in New Zealand this morning. It was a tiny 20-seater plane, buffeted around a bit by the blustery winter weather.

I visited Plant and Food Research, where I interviewed more scientists about Sauvignon Blanc. Pictured above is the experimental winery, where they make wines in even the [...]

Some films

Some films watched en route to NZ.

Zombieland is just brilliant. One of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a spoof zombie romp that’s just perfectly written, and very, very, very funny. Particularly good is the scene with Bill Murray. I don’t want to plot bust, so all I will say is [...]

Greetings from chilly Auckland

It’s a bad idea to plan travel to the southern hemisphere during the heights of a lovely English summer. I’ve traded sun and 28 degrees for wind, rain and grey skies here in Auckland. Still, I’m glad to be here. I’ve just skyped home, and getting ready for a busy day interviewing scientists about the [...]

Chilling in Changi: Rule 32, enjoy the little things

Singapore’s Changi airport totally rocks!

Since I was here last year it has got even better. I”ve got a few hours here before heading onwards and upwards to Auckland. So when I arrived I headed through the new shiny terminal 3 to terminal 1 where the transit hotel is located.

I must have been here a dozen [...]

A thought experiment: is wine just what is in the glass?

Imagine you were a synthetic chemist, smitten with wine. You tried a great Burgundy, and you simply couldn’t get this wine out of your mind.

Sadly, your salary as a researcher meant you just couldn’t afford to buy this wine. So you got together perfumiers, analytic chemists, food scientists and a whole raft of other experts [...]

Some serious English Fizz: Ridgeview Cavendish 2007

This is brilliant stuff. At the Oddbins mixed case price of £16 it’s really good value; it’s certainly worth the regular £20 price. One to serve to those who haven’t yet woken up to the English sparkling wine revolution.

Ridgeview Cavendish 2007 Sussex, England
A traditional method sparkling wine with 25% Chardonnay, 34% Pinot Noir and 41% [...]

A great day’s cricket

Spent the day playing cricket. Wine Trade vs. Hampshire Hogs, down at their beautiful ground in Warnford. Last year we beat them narrowly (report here). So would we repeat the result this year?

They won the toss and batted first. The openers looked solid, one of them a young guy fresh from Harrow. They’d put up [...]

Ladybirds

Recently spotted on my vines, a couple of different ladybird species. Above we have the kidney spot ladybird, Chilocorus renipustulatus. It’s welcome: it eats scale insects such as mealybugs. Below, pictured on a Phoenix leaf, we have the harlequin ladybrid, Harmonia axyridis. This is welcome as well, because of its aphid and scale munching habit, [...]

Another serious South African

This is a really superb Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. It’s beautifully put together with seamless structure and real purity of fruit. If I have one criticism of it, however, it is that it lacks a little soul – made very much in the international, placeless modern style, it delivers a great deal of pleasure [...]

An afternoon with Mac Forbes

It was a gloriously sunny day here in London. I discovered, to my great advantage, that my netbook screen is visible even in bright sunlight, so I spent the morning sitting outside. My garden is my new office. I managed to write a column for one of my regular publications (Hong Kong Tatler; it was [...]