An excellent Indian lunch

It’s Friday, so Fiona and I had lunch out (she managed to secure a 3 hour gap between clients). We went, for the first time, to Indian Zest, a high-end Indian restuarant in Sunbury on Thames (website here).

It has a very tastefully laid-out, old colonial-style dining room, but there was only one other table occupied [...]

Picking grapes at Yquem: this is crazy

Just seen this following video of the harvest at Yquem, the most famous of all the Sauternes producers. This is the first pass through the vineyard (1er trie) and the pickers are just selecting the most shrivelled, botrytised grapes from the bunches. It’s totally crazy. As you can imagine, this is a time-consuming process, because [...]

I now have a ‘smart’ phone

I have finally bitten the bullet, and got a smartphone. After years of just using my phone for making calls and texting, I’m now going to use it for emails, twitter and accessing the web.

Which smartphone? Tricky decision. Because we are talking contracts, it’s a decision you have to live with for two years. That’s [...]

A great value, fairly serious Riesling

This is a strong contender for one of the best value whites of the year, at the discounted price of £7.99. It’s from a producer I reviewed a short while ago, Prinz von Hessen.

Prinz von Hessen Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2008 Rheingau, Germany
11.5% alcohol. Taut lime and lemon nose with a hint of honey. The palate [...]

Lunch at Providores, focusing on Trinity Hill Syrah

Lunch at Providores today, London’s fantastic Kiwi-inspired restaurant. It was with John Hancock of Hawkes Bay producer Trinity Hill, and as well as John, in attendance were Ben Smith (of Enotria), Jancis Robinson, Andrew Neather and Peter McCombie.

The food was, as is usual here, fantastic, relying on very good basic ingredients fused with Asian-inspired flavours. [...]

Running a Sherry and Port class

This morning I headed into London to run a Sherry and Port session for Hakkasan’s  (high-end London restaurant) staff training. It was an interesting class, and I was introducing most of the attendees (the majority of who are young people with English as a second language) to the wonderful world of these fortified wines for [...]

Two superb South African whites

I’m getting quite enthused about South African whites of late. Especially the white blends. Here are two very good wines, both made by winemaker Ian Naude. One is a blend of different varieties; the other a blend of different regions.

Naude 2008 Western Cape, South Africa
A blend of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, weighing in [...]

Video: Rippon, Central Otago, New Zealand

Here’s a short film shot on my visit to Central Otago producer Rippon. It’s a spectacular property. I’ve been playing around with my video processing, and this is now in higher definition, so I hope it looks better.

Exposing falsely discounted wines on the BBC

I was on TV last night. OK, it was BBC3, but it was still TV. You can see it here.

Let me explain what it was about. A while back I was contacted by the producer of a show called ‘Britain’s Really Disgusting…’, who were doing an episode on drinks. I was really wary about getting [...]

North Carolina, day 4 – picnic at Chimney Rock

So we’ve had a brilliant couple of sessions here in Asheville discussing wine science. This morning was looking at the sensory effects of different oxygen transmission levels in wine. Then this afternoon we discussed the ratio between free and bound sulfur dioxide and total consumed oxygen in wines. There are some seriously interesting results from [...]