Some gems at Majestic, including a nice Crozes

After a difficult tasting yesterday, a nice afternoon’s tasting at Majestic’s press event today. I liked lots of the wines, many of which I’d be happy to buy. Perhaps my favourite was the following gem from the northern Rhone. This is everything I look for in northern Rhone Syrah.

Yann Chave Crozes Hermitage 2008 Northern Rhone, [...]

At the Tesco press tasting today...

So I was at the Tesco press tasting today. It was held in a new location: floor 31 on Centrepoint, the large concrete tower at the intersection between Tottenham Court Road, New Oxford Street and the Charing Cross Road in the centre of London. The views were quite spectacular.

The wines? Well, Tesco have a large [...]

Almajora Pirita 2007 from Spain's wonderful Arribes region

This is an interesting red from the lesser known Spanish region of Arribes, on the international Douro with Portugal sitting over the river. In fact, if you head further into the Douro Superior, this is where you end up. It’s a warm region, but the altitude of the vines (500-800 m) helps moderate this.

I visited [...]

Controverialist: judgements of quality in wine

One of the issues about wine that really interests me is this: who gets to decide what is good?
This touches on aesthetics, and also definitions of quality, and there are a number of ways of addressing the subject. Suffice to say, a discussion on this topic could make a small book, so here I’m just [...]

A brilliant value Garnacha from Navarra

Garnacha, aka Grenache, is a variety that can tend to soupy lushness when it’s grown in warm climates. Here, in Spain’s Navarra, from old vines, it has produced a really fresh, peppery, full flavoured example that’s just brilliant value for money. In fact, at the multibuy price of £6.99, it may be my best value [...]

Visiting Elim, a distinctly cool South African region

The last leg of my South African adventure saw me heading south, to the southernmost tip of Africa itself. The Elim wine region is just 20 km from Agulhas, and it’s an interesting place for growing wine grapes, with a chilly climate (by South African standards) and plenty of cooling breezes from the ocean.

I visited [...]

South Africa, the final day

The last day of my South African trip. How I wish I could have stayed for longer.

Last night it was a wine dinner at the home of Dave Johnson and his wife Felicity (who founded Newton Johnson), along with other growers in the Hemel-en-Aarde region. Their home has one of the most spectacular views down [...]

Dinner at Pierneef La Motte

Had a nice dinner last night at Pierneef La Motte, a new high-end restaurant in Franschhoek. It was a jolly crowd (pictured above, from left) – Michael Langenhoven (assistant winemaker, La Motte), me, Pieter de Waal, Erika Obermeyer (Graham Beck), Werner Engelbrecht (Waterkloof) and Werner Muller (winemaker, Chamonix). Taking the picture was Krige Visser (general [...]

Day 3, South Africa - the Elgin marvels

My first visit to Elgin! One of the goals of this trip is to visit regions that previously I’d missed – Elgin, Elim, Hemel-en-Aarde.

So it was off to Iona this morning, to visit the vineyards with Andrew Gunn (above) and then taste with a group of producers: Paul Cluver, Oak Valley, Shannon and Iona.

This is [...]

South Africa, day 2 - the Sauvignon seminar

It has been a really good day.

Today was the SBIG seminar, and it was really well attended. The great and the good of the South African wine-making community gathered, and unfortunately had to listen to me, along with expert consultant and sulfur-like off flavours expert Dominique Delteil, as well as Stellenbosch researcher Wessel du Toit, [...]