Why I love the wine trade

I feel privileged to be part of the wine trade. You meet so many great people. This picture captures one of the reasons I love my job.

It was taken at an informal dinner I was invited to in Wellington, New Zealand, during the Pinot Noir conference in February 2010. So many totally cool, creative people [...]

Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir 2009

I do like Kiwi Pinot Noir quite a bit. Here’s a really good one from Gibbston Valley, who I visited a while back. Christopher Keys, the winemaker there, is doing some really good work.

Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir 2009 Central Otago, New Zealand
Intensely aromatic, with vivid black cherry fruit and a hint of blackcurrant. Angular and [...]

Northern Rhone series 2, Chapoutier Chante Alouette Hermitage Blanc 2007

Continuing my exploration of the Northern Rhone, wine number two is also a white Hermitage. It may seem an odd choice. Shouldn’t I have gone to Syrah? But I want to make a point. White Hermitage is serious stuff, but it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

M Chapoutier Chante-Alouette Hermitage Blanc 2007
Beautifully aromatic, this is [...]

The coming wine war

There’s a clash of cultures in the world of fine wine, and before too long it could become a war.

On the one hand, we have the fine wine establishment, which is dominated by Bordeaux, but also includes the top Champagne houses, as well as a few others such as the super-Tuscans. This is wine as [...]

Northern Rhone series 1, Cave de Tain Hermitage Blanc Au Coeur des Siecles 2007

I have decided to start a short series of posts on the wines of the northern Rhone, a splendid and unique place for growing wine grapes.

Not only is it the home of Syrah, but it also makes great whites, primarily from Marsanne, with some Roussanne also. And that’s not forgetting Viognier, which also has its [...]

Down in Somerset

So we spent today down in Somerset. It was elder son’s school’s summer fare. Because he’s at an agricultural school, there was a distinctly rural feel to events.

As well as a classic car display, there was a classic tractor display. And in the main ring, we had a tug of war competition preceded by a [...]

Video: Syrah and Shiraz - northern Rhone and Barossa

Here’s a short film of me tasting two contrasting wines. Both are from the same grape variety, but one is a Syrah (Jean-Luc Columbo Crozes-Hermitage Les Gravieres 2008), the other a Shiraz (St Hallett Dawkins Vineyard Eden Valley Shiraz 2009 Barossa, Australia). Both are very good but in quite distinctively different styles.

An outsider's perspective on beer marketing

Yesterday I headed over to the wilds of Southwark, to talk about beer marketing. Someone wanted to know my perspective – as an outsider – on beer. So it got me thinking, and here are some of my thoughts. Many of these also apply to wine marketing, but for now, I’m considering beer.

The beer world [...]

Video: my Vinexpo experience

So here it is! A film of my first experience of Vinexpo. Just over three minutes of sights and sounds from the world’s largest trade fair!

My Vinexpo experience

I’m just on my way home from Vinexpo, a huge wine trade fair held bi-annually in Bordeaux.

I’d heard a lot about the fair in advance of my visit. Most of the press was negative, in large part because attending Vinexpo can be a bit of an endurance test. 50 000 visitors arrive in Bordeaux, which [...]