Good affordable Pinot and Chobham common

Drinking a very nice, affordable Pinot Noir as I type. It’s Villa Maria Private Bin 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand (£9.99 Sainsbury, Tesco, Coop, Wholefoods, NZ House of Wine). Fresh and sappy with bright cherry fruit and lovely savoury spiciness, this is deliciously drinkable but also has a hint of seriousness. I can’t really think of [...]

Superb Pinot Noir from northern Italy: Gottardi

This is nice. It’s a Pinot Noir from Gottardi, a grower in the northern Italian region of Alto Adige, which is often referred to by its Austrian name of the Südtirol. I love this style of lighter, more elegant red wine. I always seem to be in the mood to drink it.

Weingut Gottardi Südtiroler Blauburgunder [...]

Cask ale at home - wonderful Strange Brew

Had a fun dinner party last night. My buddy Karl started proceedings off well by bring round a wonderful beer. It was a cask ale from Twickenham Fine Ales – the ‘Strange Brew’.

Now I love bottled beer, but cask ales just taste different, and to enjoy them you have to go to a pub. Nothing [...]

This video makes me squirm: is it because I'm a Brit?

James Suckling, previously wine critic with the influential US publication The Wine Spectator, is launching his own website. He’s going to be focusing on video content, and to whet readers’ appetites he is releasing some video teasers. The first consisted of him saying that he was going to uncover the wine world’s hidden [...]

Champagne Philipponnat ND

As most readers are probably aware, Champagne usually has some sugar added during the bottling process. It’s called the dosage, and it helps to balance the wine. For a typical Brut Champagne, this would be in the range of 10 g/litre. However, there’s a growing fashion for Non-Dose or Brut Nature Champagnes with no added [...]

An illustrated report from today's big South African tasting

Spent an enjoyable few hours at today’s South African tasting, held in the rather dimly lit great hall at Vinopolis. The time passed quickly. There’s lot of interesting things going on in the South African wine scene. Here’s my brief illustrated guide.

Adi Badenhorst (above) is making some lovely wines. His red and white Secateurs wines [...]

The New Douro tasting 2008

Yesterday was the New Douro tasting at the Tate Modern in London. It has been going for a few years now, and it’s a great event. But it could be even better (more on that later).

The focus was on 2008s, which are just baby wines, but it is nice to get an early look at [...]

Dinner with Dirk Niepoort: projects at the project

Very interesting dinner last night with one of Portugal’s finest, Dirk Niepoort (above). The focus was on special projects that he’s been involved with, and – rather appropriately – the venue was The Loft Project in east London (read more about this here).

There’s too much to write about in a blog post – the combination [...]

Domestic stuff

I know some readers encourage me just to stick to wine. But I also know that some like to know a bit more about the context of me as a wine writer, which is why I occasionally include personal stuff on this blog. If you don’t like this, please feel free to pass over it.

It [...]

Three very interesting Aussies: First Drop

Three wines from innovative Aussie producer First Drop (see their website here). They specialize in alternative varieties, but also do a pretty good job with their more conventional wines. The packaging and marketing is spot on. These wines have just become available in the UK, so RRPs are attached. I’m chasing up where they are [...]