Natural Chenin and Queijo de Serra da Estrela - yum!

Wine and cheese. Not always a great match, but here’s a combination that worked well. Queijo de Serra da Estrela is a fantastic cheese from Portugal. It’s made in the Beiras region, on the border with the Dao wine region, from sheep’s milk. The sheep are farmed on the foothills of the Serra da Estrela [...]

Bordeaux: past performance cannot be used to predict future performance

It’s the time of year when, once again, the attention of the wine world is focused firmly on Bordeaux, the world’s most important fine wine region.

There are a number of reasons why Bordeaux dominates the arena of fine wine, and they aren’t all to do with the quality of the wine. A proper discussion of [...]

A pair of Hamilton Russells

I’m a great fan of taking time to get to know wines. Most of the wines featured here on this blog have been drunk, as opposed to those brief sniff and slurp encounters that happen at large tastings – where the palate is often physically fatigued, and where there can be significant carry-over effects from [...]

Organic in the Douro: Terra Prima and Altano

Organic viticulture in the Douro is not all that common. However, things may be changing. Two organic wines that have recently reached the marketplace are Symingtons Organic version of Altano, and Fonseca’s Terra Prima organic Port.

They’re both quite delicious. The organic Altano is a significant step up from the other Altano wines, with nice density, [...]

Visiting Constantia (2): Steenberg

The second visit in Constantia was Steenberg. Part of the Graham Beck empire, they are one of South Africa’s most celebrated producers, especially well known for their whites (including Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, Semillon and Magna Carta). We met with general manager John Loubser (above) and winemaker JD Pretorius (below).

After tasting some young wines, we had [...]

A remarkable Chenin Blanc

This is a superb wine. Now almost 7 years old, and developing beautifully. At 13% alcohol, it’s not one of the overblown, ripe styles. Instead, it’s fresh, ripe and textured with some pear and pith notes, as well as a hint of white peach. It’s Jean Daneel Signature Chenin Blanc 2004, from South Africa’s Stellenbosch [...]

Cherry blossom, moss, liverworts and The Ned

A lovely spring day here. The cherry blossom outside our house is out, and it’s beautiful.

We took RTL and FFS down to Windsor Great Park, where they had a lot of fun. RTL has found a new lease of life with FFS by her side, and has rediscovered her interest in other dogs. FFS, like [...]

Visiting Constantia (1) - Klein Constantia and making Vin de Constance

On Friday most of the judges from the Top 100 visited two wineries in nearby Constantia. First up, Klein Constantia, who make the wonderful sweet wine Vin de Constance. Winemaker Adam Mason explained how the Vin de Constance was made from the 10 hectares of Muscat de Frontignan vines on the property.

First, one block – [...]