Decanter's news piece on 'cork taint' via barrels

Decanter have published a news piece on the possibility of cork taint being transmitted by oak barrels (you can read it here). It’s a bad piece for a number of reasons.

First, it doesn’t mention that Pascal Chatonnet works as a consultant for Amorim, the world’s leading cork company. They have an interest in getting people [...]

in North Carolina, day 3

So now I am in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. I with a group of wine scientists at a retreat focusing on post-bottling wine chemistry, and we are staying at a rather grand but slightly bizarre hotel in Asheville. Don’t get me wrong: it’s lovely and luxurious, but the decor is very hunting-inspired, with [...]

Pulled pork, beer and Pinot Noir

Last night I finally got to try a pulled pork sandwich. It’s a North Carolina speciality, and it’s delicious, but my portion was big enough for two. I ate it all though. It’s made of shredded barbecued, smoked pork that has previously been rubbed with spices, and then treated with a vinegar sauce after pulling.

I [...]

In North Carolina

So I have arrived in North Carolina.

I’m here for a post-bottling wine chemistry retreat, with some of the scientists involved in the Oxygen in Wines coalition.

I flew out with American Airlines. Flying AA is like flying used to be.

Economy class lacks seat-back video screens, which I think are now just about compulsory for long haul. [...]

A serious Austrian red: Moric Blaufrankisch

I do like Austrian wines. Much of my attention is taken by Gruner Veltliner and Riesling, two varieties that Austria just does brilliantly with, but Austrian reds are also really interesting, especially when winemakers hold back on the oak and extraction. This is a superb Blaufrankisch, from the Burgenland region near the Hungarian border. Elevage [...]

Dinner at 28-50 with Francisco Baettig

Had a very interesting dinner last night. It was at new wine-focused London restaurant  28-50 (website here), and was hosted by Francisco Baettig, chief winemaker at Errazuriz in Chile (pictured above).

Alongside the excellent food (which was really, really good) we tasted a number of pairs of wines. Francisco had chosen to pair an Errazuriz wine [...]

&Co - a distinctive Sauvignon from Hawkes Bay

Gabrielle Simmers first release from her Hawkes Bay vineyard raised some eyebrows when she poured it at the Bunch tasting today. It is one of the most distinctively packaged wines that I’ve encountered, bottled in clear glass and sealed with a crown cap, and just the name ‘&CO’ on the front label.

The wine itself is [...]

Making a pledge for cork

I had a meeting this morning at Clarence House, the home of the Prince of Wales, so afterwards I wandered down to take a peek at the ‘Start’ Garden Party to Make a Difference, which is being held over the next few days here (see the website for more details).

The idea of Start is to [...]

The start of term!

It feels like the start of term.

As you probably all know, I don’t have a proper job. I get paid to do my hobby, and as a freelancer, I work from home.

In a typical week, I might go into London two or three times for tastings, lunches, dinners or interviews, and then spend two or [...]

Does language for wine shape perception?

Some thoughts. Can we think without language? In the absence of words, can we experience things consciously? I’d argue, yes.

We think and process our experience consciously independently of language, and then use language to tag these thoughts. Experiences are a human universal, but the language we use to structure these thoughts then may differ.

But does [...]