Video: Blandy's Madeira bicentennial tasting, tasting wines back to 1811

Nice way to spend a Thursday morning. Today I was one of the lucky band of tasters who got to experience Blandy’s finest Madeiras back to 1811.

The wines were truly fabulous. As the tasting progressed it felt wrong to spit these vinous treasures. Here’s my film of the event.

Mirabeau: a Provence rose with social media support

Here’s a great example of how to market wine in the age of social media. Normally, another Provence rose coming onto the market would be treated with a big yawn. There are plenty of them already, and they can tend to look and taste the same. So how do you differentiate yours from the others, [...]

Eben Sadie and 10 years of Columella

Yesterday I attended a brilliant tasting. It was a vertical of Eben Sadie’s Columella, hosted by the man himself.

Columella is Eben’s signature wine. It’s a Syrah with a dash of Mourvedre, from five distinct terroirs in the Swartland region of South Africa. We tasted all the releases so far, from 2000 to the not-yet-released 2009. [...]

Could the 2010 Bordeaux en primeur campaign stall?

I was speaking to a leading UK wine merchant yesterday who had some interesting opinions on the 2010 Bordeaux en primeur campaign.

So far we have seen relatively few châteaux declare their prices. And of those that have, the only people buying are the brits – the Europeans and Americans don’t seem to be interested yet. ‘They are [...]

50 Great Portuguese wines, 2011

Today was one of the most eagerly awaited tastings in the calendar (for me, at least) – the 50 Great Portuguese Wines tasting. Each year, a journalist is chosen to select their top 50 Portuguese wines, which are then shown in tastings in London, Manchester and Edinburgh (although this year there is no Manchester leg). [...]

Champagne Veuve Clicquot NV

Had this last night, and really enjoyed it. I’m slightly nervous about posting this because most winewriters like to bash the big Champagne houses such as Moet and VC. But remember: non-vintage blends change every year, and they could change for the better. This bottle certainly tasted good.

I’m not saying that with £30 in your [...]

What wine writers buy: four great cheap wines

OK, I can only speak for myself. Despite being deluged in samples (which is great, by the way – so useful to be able to try wines at home, and they all get proper attention), I still buy wine. Some high-end stuff that I really like, but also we have a need for good affordable [...]

Away for the weekend

It’s brother-in-law Cliff’s 50th birthday weekend. Very decently, he has come over from Geneva with his family and hired a large house in the Cotswalds, so it’s time for a family weekend away.

I have been charged with supplying wine, which is no hardship at all. The house is lovely: it has a pool and a [...]

Fonseca 1970, Delamain 1914, Vin de Constance 1988 and other treats

Had a very enjoyable dinner last night at the offices of Mentzendorff, a major high-end UK agency house. It was more fun than work, but I took some notes on the wines in my usual geeky way. Here they are.

Champagne Ayala Perle d’Ayala Nature 2002
This is the non-dosage version of Ayala’s prestige cuvee, and it’s one [...]

Video: Tio Pepe Fino En Rama

Here’s a short film of me tasting the new (2011) release of Gonzalez Byass’ Tio Pepe Fino En Rama. It’s a sherry taken from the cask in spring when the flor is at its thickest. It’s then bottled unfined and unfiltered for early drinking. Remarkable stuff.