The wine department at Whole Foods, Kensington - brilliant

A couple of days ago I popped into the Whole Foods store in Kensington (see website here), and browsed their wine department. It’s simply brilliant: a great list of wines, with a good spattering of natural wines, too. This is one of the best places in London for buying wines by the bottle I reckon, [...]

A+ Australian wine: a great tasting today

Now I’m not exactly sure what A+ Australian Wine is, but this is how this year’s Australia Day tasting was rebadged. What I’ve read (briefly) about the initiative, sounds great:

‘We believe that it is more than just the wine, it must be the people, places and stories that ensure Australian wine stands out from the [...]

Incredible Japanese lunch with Koshu wines

Superb lunch today, at Yashin Sushi and Bar (‘without soy sauce’) in Kensington (see the Square Meal review). The occasion was the 2011 installment of the Koshu producers tour. [I wrote up last year's lunch at Umu here.] As many will already know, Koshu is a grape variety that’s unique to Japan, and which makes [...]

Six from Naked Wines

Got a six pack of samples through from innovative new-ish retailer Naked Wines. It’s headed up by the entrepreneurial Rowan Gormley, who was the founder of Virgin Wines.

The good news? The buying seems to be very good: these are all delicious examples of their type.

The less-good news? The pricing. Even though they are good examples [...]

Another superb Riesling - Van Volxem Alte Reben

Isn’t Riesling wonderful? And Germany’s top properties seem to be able to achieve things almost effortlessly with this grape, and at reasonable prices, when compared with most other regions worldwide. This wine is from Roman Niewodniscanski’s Saar estate, and it’s a really superb example of complex dry Riesling that’s drinking well now. I don’t think [...]

IKEA and wine

I’m probably about to expose myself as a terribly unsophisticated person, but I actually like IKEA, the Swedish firm that is now the world’s largest furniture retailer. (IKEA stands for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd, by the way.)

Their branding is spot-on. The store is cheap, but it doesn’t feel cheap. There’s a consistency to IKEA – a clear [...]

One of South Africa's top Sauvignons

South Africa is doing some great things with Sauvignon Blanc these days. Here’s a superb example from De Grendel, in the Durbanville region, near Cape Town.

De Grendel Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Coastal Region, South Africa
13.5% alcohol. Highly aromatic, with striking notes of lime, chalk, minerals and flint, with fine green pepper notes. The palate is concentrated [...]

A stunning Austrian Riesling

This is a really impressive dry Riesling, made from grapes harvested in November. Must drink more Austrian wines…

Franz Hirtzberger Spitzer Singerriedel Riesling Smaragd 2004 Wachau, Austria
13.5% alcohol. Full yellow colour. Beautifully aromatic with rich melon, lemon and crystalline fruit notes. The palate is lively and dry with complex, concentrated flavours of melon, peach and citrus [...]

Laithwaites Experts' Choice tasting

Spent this morning judging at Laithwaites Experts’ Choice tasting, held at the Worx in Parsons Green. The concept? Laithwaites staff do a pre-screening of their range and then present around 200 wines to be tasted blind by a mix of their staff and journos like me, working in panels of four. We rate all the [...]

Brancott's New 'Icon' Sauvignon Blanc

I didn’t have as much time as I’d have liked at the New Zealand trade tasting today, but I’m glad that Patrick Materman (above) grabbed me to pour an exciting new Sauvignon Blanc into my glass.

Patrick is the chief winemaker at Pernod Ricard’s Brancott Estate (formerly Montana), and for the last few years has been [...]