Fun on the wedding day

We had a great time yesterday at my sister’s place, where a sizeable contingent of family gathered to celebrate the royal wedding. I was initially not intending to watch the spectacle, but it turned out to be quite gripping – a day of real emotion.

We celebrated with Champagne – beginning with a magnum of Drappier [...]

Champagne Gosset Grande Millesime 1999

I’ve not tasted a lot of Gosset since a remarkable vertical tasting of their wines back in 2002. So it was nice to drink this rather good Champagne, the 1999 Grand Millésime. It’s a serious effort, made in quite a distinctive style.

Champagne Gosset Grande Millésime 1999
Deep yellow colour. Powerful aromas of toast, honey, nuts, figs and spice. [...]

The Wiseman ‘Study’ – cheap versus expensive wine

Much has been written about a scientific ‘study’ by psychologist Richard Wiseman which showed that people can’t tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine. (See, for example, this report this report in The Guardian and this report in the Telegaph.)

But, in this world of soundbyte news reporting, it’s just the headline message that is [...]

Dogs and vines

Today we were back to normal April weather after a little taste of summer. For the Easter holiday weekend we enjoyed consecutive sunny days with temperatures in the mid-to-high 20s C. It has been blissful.

My back-garden vines are flourishing. Pictured above is a vine that could be either Bacchus or Pinot Noir. I won’t know [...]

Julien Sunier Morgon 2009: a serious expression of Beaujolais

I really like this. It’s a Morgon from Julien Sunier, who has been making his own wines only since 2008. He farms three hectares in Morgon, Regnie and Fleurie, working organically. Winemaking is traditional.

This wine still tastes absolutely delicious two days after opening, so I reckon it has the potential to develop for a few [...]

Bollinger RD 1999

Easter Sunday treat. The latest release of Bollinger’s wonderful RD, which stands for ‘recently disgorged’. In this case, the wine had been on its lees until January this year. This helps the Champagne to develop in a really elegant way, and it’s instructive to try this wine alongside the Grande Annee 1999, which will have [...]

Esk Valley: a lovely Bordeaux blend from New Zealand

New Zealand reds are fast becoming their most exciting wines. Here’s a good one from a producer I visited a few years back, and it’s not overly expensive, at just over a tenner. And it’s lovely.

Esk Valley Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2008 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
A majestic expression of the Bordeaux red varieties. [...]

Just the weather for German Riesling

We really should be drinking more German Riesling. It’s fantastic. Nowhere else quite does Riesling like Germany, even though I am partial to expressions of this variety from Austria, Alsace, New Zealand and Australia.

Here are two that I have enjoyed today – both from the Rheingau. We are experiencing unseasonally warm weather here in the [...]

One more day to go at the International Wine Challenge

So, my two week stint at the Intenational Wine Challenge (IWC) is almost over. Tomorrow is the last day of judging of the nine, and it has been a great experience.

You’d think that tasting 100 wines/day for nine consecutive working days would be a frightening prospect. And I’ll admit it: when I first signed up [...]

The South African Top 100 results are announced

It was only a few weeks ago that I was one of the small international team judging the new South African Top 100 competition.

It was a competition that begin amid controversy: a lot of noses had been put out of joint, most notably Michael Fridjohn, who runs an existing wine competition (see this legal challenge [...]