The London skyline, and the Wine Opus launch

Just back from the launch of a new book, The Wine Opus. I’m too tired to talk about that now, but will report in depth tomorrow.

For now, some pictures of the London skyline, taken from the 10th floor of the art deco Shell Mex house, home to publishers Pearson (of which group Dorling Kindersley is [...]

The Sparkling Wine Review

I’m involved with an exciting new project: the Sparkling Wine Review.

It’s a benchmarking exercise for sparkling wines, and this November will see its debut. Producers from around the world send in their sparkling wines for assessment by an expert panel, and as well as scoring the wines (a bit like a competition), they get a benchmarking report [...]

A lovely Languedoc white

I’m on a bit of a Languedoc roll at the moment. Here’s another really delicious, quite serious, yet well-priced wine. And it’s white.

La Chapelle de Bebian 2009 Coteaux du Languedoc, France
A blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Clairette. Very distinctive nose: fresh, minty, herby with a hint of fennel and some anise. The palate is [...]

RTL update

Non wine related: an update on Rosie The Labradoodle.

Today we took her to be mated, by her old chum Diglett. Two years ago she had her first litter, and the puppies brought so much joy to people, we thought we’d repeat the experience.

This was the first time I’d seen the process (I didn’t attend the [...]

A couple of disappointments, one corky

I don’t get all that many cork-tainted wines these days. Part of this is that I’m opening quite a few bottles sealed with alternative closures, but also the proportion of tainted natural corks seems to have dropped a little. But I had a big disappointment with a bottle I opened yesterday – one that I [...]

What did we do before twitter?

There’s a nice article by Charles Arthur on the Guardian Technology website about Twitter. I can’t remember when I started using Twitter, but now I couldn’t imagine life without it. It’s an incredibly useful communication tool, even more so now I have a smartphone. Yet still many people grumble about it, and claim that it [...]

Secret Wine: I’ve just voted, but have I got it right?

I’ve just cast my vote in the Secret Wine competition. It’s an innovative idea from French PR agency Clair de Lune. They sent three mystery wines to the first 85 bloggers to respond, and the idea is for these bloggers to taste the wines and then vote on their identity, with the winner receiving a [...]

A brilliant southern French red

This is fantastic. It’s a blend of seven different grape varieties (Syrah, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, Counoise, Grenache Noir, Terret Gris), made without any oak. And it manages to catch an almost Burgundian precision and elegance, with a natural, unadorned purity to the fruit. This is the sort of southern French red that I love.

Gravillas [...]

Some superb single-quinta Ports

Vintage Port is one of the world’s great wines. It’s also relatively affordable compared with other great wines. But there’s an even better bargain in single-quinta Ports from shoulder vintages – those that might have been declared had they not been adjacent to already-declared years.

2008 was a really good vintage in the Douro, but most [...]

Harvest

My modest harvest took place today under ideal conditions. Three varieties were picked. First, Pinot Noir. Nicely ripe, about 10% of berries affected by rot. Bacchus: unfortunately not very much, but the berries were in perfect condition and tasted great. Then Phoenix, a heavy cropper, but about 50% of the berries were affected by botrytis [...]