A super Loire red from Frederic Mabileau

I’m a bit of a sucker for Loire reds. They’re the antithesis of the ‘international’ style of red wine, and they’re quite difficult to ‘get’. But they’re lovely. It’s so great to have wines like these, with a point of difference. Although I have to admit that I ordered a Mabileau wine blind in a [...]

Why tasting panels suck

It’s simple: the results.

I don’t know why (but I can make guesses) that panels of tasters consistently produce embarassingly bad results.

This has been in the news over the last few days, as the bloggosphere and twittersphere have been alight with criticism of a Decanter magazine panel tasting of South African Chenin Blanc. In short, the [...]

Champagne Salon 1999 is launched... with fish and chips!

Had a very enjoyable lunch today. It was the launch of Salon 1999 – the latest vintage from this remarkable Blanc de Blancs Champagne which comes from a single cru (Le Mesnil) and spends 10 years ageing on lees before disgorgement.

But rather than match this aristocratic fizz with a Michelin-starred menu, Corney & Barrow had [...]

Another serious Napa wine

So, after my good experience with Cain’s Five, here’s another serious Napa wine – this time, a varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. Again, this was drunk, not tasted. It also passed the drained bottle test – after tasting it, I took it along to dinner at my friend Rob’s place (he’s a fellow Man City fan, btw), [...]

The shard, and judging with sommeliers

This year, for the first time, I’ve been judging the sommelier wine awards for Imbibe magazine. It’s been an interesting experience, because unlike other competitions, the goal of this one is quite specific: to think about wines in terms of their potential on a restaurant wine list. So we judge knowing the price of the [...]

A lovely Chilean Gewurztraminer

Gewurztraminer is a funny grape. Usually, I like it in small doses. It can be just a bit too distinctive. But I did once have lunch with someone who was suffering from a Gewurztraminer-induced hangover. Anyway, this is a really good Chilean example of this grape variety. Brilliant balance.

Maiden Flight Gewurztraminer 2010 Casablanca Valley, Chile
13.5% [...]

Clare Valley Shiraz - two good ones

Australia’s Clare Valley is a region I’m drawn to. It’s capable of making great Riesling, great Shiraz and great Cabernet Sauvignon – an unusual mixture. Perhaps this is because the temperature here is more moderate than the official statistics (which I heard once were taken from a weather station behind the post office in Clare) [...]

Cain Five 2004: a serious Napa Bordeaux blend

I have a soft spot for Cain. It was the first winery I visited in Napa Valley (fairly recently, actually) and I was impressed by the thoughtful approach of Chris Howell. Cain ‘Five’ refers to the fact that the wine contains all five Bordeaux red grapes, and it’s an elegant, rather European-styled wine, made from [...]

Spotted at the Portuguese tasting

Two meetings today meant I had less time at the annual wines of Portugal tasting, but I still managed to taste some interesting wines. Here are a few highlights.

CARM, from the Douro Superior, have an interesting new wine. It’s a varietal Touriga Nacional made without any sulfur dioxide additions, and made from organically grown grapes. [...]

Wine has never been so good!

For all the moaning about the internationalization of wine styles (something that I am concerned about), I need to point out that there’s never been so much good wine in the world as there is now.

While one sector of the wine market sells its soul and makes grim spoofulated fare, there’s also a large band [...]