Vale Meão 2008: latest release from one of Portugal's greats

Vale Meão is one of the great Douro estates, responsible for some fantastic wines since their first vintage in 1999. This is the latest release: the 2008, which is a good vintage in the Douro. It’s following on from the fantastic 2007, and so most Port producers will not declare it. But the early signs [...]

A sparkling ice wine - remarkable!

This is a crazy, crazy wine, but it really works. It’s a sparkling ice wine.

Inniskillin Vidal Sparkling Ice Wine 2006 Niagara Peninsula, Canada
9% alcohol. Made like an ice wine, with grapes picked at -10 C, this is a bit different: it’s gently sparkling. Gold/bronze in colour, with residual sugar of 230 g/litre, it’s viscous and [...]

Sorry to miss the European Wine Bloggers Conference

Today is the European Wine Bloggers Conference in Vienna. I would have loved to attend, but it’s a big clash with half-term, when I have a self-imposed travel ban so that I can be home with the kids.

There’s a live feed for those, like me, who couldn’t attend, but this currently isn’t working. I’m following [...]

Lunch at the Anchor and Hope, with a lovely Languedoc red

Very enjoyable lunch today at famed gastropub the Anchor and Hope, on The Cut, within a few long strides of Waterloo Station.

It was my first time here, and I came away impressed. It’s everything a gastropub should be, with a rustic interior, a no reservations policy, and honest, well-prepared, interesting food at sensible prices.

I started [...]

Rioja, day 3: at last, a vineyard, and a spectacular barrel hall

Sadly, it was the last day in Rioja. Just one visit: LAN.

I’d really enjoyed the previous two days, but up till now we hadn’t been shown a single vineyard. This is despite the fact that Rioja’s treasures are its wonderful vineyards, and the weather was perfect for photography. It’s probably because this is a very [...]

Logroño tapas crawl

So it was off to Calle Laurel for the compulsory tapas bar crawl last night. It was Tuesday, so it wasn’t terribly busy, but there was enough of a buzz for it to be fun.

The way it works is that each of the scores of tapas bars tends to specialize in one dish. You order [...]

Rioja, day 2

Day two in Rioja has been another day of contrasts. Three very different wineries, reflecting the spread that you find in this region.

First up, La Riojanas  – with a production of 4.2 million bottles, a large-ish winery. A mix of traditional and modern styles, with the highlight being a 1964 Gran Reserva that was truly [...]

Out in Logrono

Dinner last night was at Asador el Tahiti in Logroño. It’s a traditional Riojan restuarant and we ate and drank well. Particularly interesting was Morcilla, which is pig’s blood and rice, and, in this case a thin pastry case. It was delicious.

Wine of the night was the Remelluri Rioja Reserva 2005. For just 18 Euros [...]

Rioja, day 1

First day in Rioja. Three very different wineries visited. First, Finca Allende: modern, terroir driven, with lovely wines, including the brilliant Calvario, a single-vineyard offering. Good white, too. Aurus, their top wine, a little too rich and oak-influenced for me.

Second, La Rioja Alta. One of the traditional Haro wineries, making older-styled wines. But these are [...]

Off to Rioja

Travelling again. Just for a few days.

One of the aspects of my ‘job’ (I’m embarrassed to call it that, even though I work very hard) that I most enjoy, is the ability to travel to new places, meet new people, and learn quite a bit in the process.

I’ve been to Rioja before, but just for a day. [...]