A Champagne-filled day

Yesterday was all about Champagne. And not just any Champagne. First, a lunch with Bollinger, focusing on RD (1997, 1996, 1995, 1988, 1976, 1959). Then a one-to-one with Richard Geoffroy, chef du cave of Dom Perignon, tasting the newly released 2002, with 1996 and 1996 Oenoteque. All these wines were fantastic. A great day.

A wonderful evening at Terroirs

Spent the evening with Doug Wregg at Terroirs. It’s hard to imagine a better evening of food and wine: authentic, expressive and in good measure. It proved hard to draw myself away to catch the last train back home.

We dined well. Matje Herring, a bit like ceviche, was delicious, as were the clams with coriander [...]

A couple from Beaujolais

Whatever happened to Beaujolais? It used to be so popular, but over the last few years it’s struggled a bit. It lost its fun. But there are many really good wines coming from the region, especially with the sensational 2009 vintage, which was the best here for as long as anyone can remember. Here are [...]

The heatwave

For the last few weeks it has been a very un-English summer. Hot, sunny, settled. The normally green English landscape has turned a parched pale yellow. I can’t remember a summer like it. 2005 came close, and 2003 was also abnormally hot, but that year most of the heat came later. My vines are loving [...]

Alsace season, 1: Schlumberger Pinot Gris Kitterle 2006

Alsace. One of the diminishing number of serious wine regions I have yet to visit. But I’m a big fan, even if I tend to forget about the wines from time to time. So time to redress the balance a bit and give Alsace some of the attention it deserves, beginning with a Pinot Gris [...]

No wine tonight, but travel woes

So the world’s worst airline was late tonight. No stupid corny car horn hoot as the plane landed past midnight at Stansted for Ryanair tonight. Problem is, arriving this late takes away travel options. I’m now waiting for the 0135 bus to Heathrow, from where I’ll get another bus to home.

The irony is had the [...]

In Piedmont

So I arrived in Italy courtesy of the world’s worst airline last night at 10 pm. I was staying at a nearby hotel, but it’s proximity really upset the taxi driver who had been waiting for 3 hours for a fare into Milano (45 km away) rather than a quick 2 minute ride.

He was visibly, [...]

Off to Piedmont, but not for long enough

I’m currently on the Stansted Express, on my way to the airport to fly to Piedmont. Unfortunately, I won’t be there for long – I arrive in Bergamo tonight at 10 pm, where I’m staying, and then tomorrow morning I’m driving to Piedmont to deliver a talk on reduction and non-fruit complexity in wines. Then [...]

A lovely Gigondas

I’ve neglected the Southern Rhone a bit of late. Here’s a good one, from father and daughter team Bernard and Celine Chauvet of Domaine Grapillon d’Or (www.domainedugrapillondor.com)

Domaine Grapillon D’Or ’1806′ Gigondas 2008 Rhone, France
14.5% alcohol. Old vine Grenache with a bit of Syrah. Richly aromatic, this has sweet, lush, almost liqueur-like dark cherry fruit on [...]

Another good Kiwi red: Crossroads Winery Syrah 2008

This is nice. A good example of Syrah from the Gimblett Gravels subregion in Hawkes Bay. It’s by the Crossroads Winery, part of the Ager Sectus group that includes Southbank Estate and the Crossings.

Crossroads Winery Syrah 2008 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Lovely perfumed sweet dark cherry fruit nose, like a rich Pinot Noir but [...]