Two nice beers

Regular readers will know that I occasionally foray into territory other than wine. Most frequently, this involves beer.

I’ve been tasting some beers for a future Sunday Express column this evening, and two stood out.

First, Tesco Finest Traditional Porter, from Harviestoun Brewery. It’s inky dark and full of flavour, with lovely malt, chocolate and roast coffee [...]

Video: the spectacular Quinta dos Malvedos in the Douro, Portugal

A film from my recent Douro visit. It’s Graham’s spectacular Quinta dos Malvedos, shot the day before harvest began.

For more on Malvedos, take a look at the superb Graham’s blog.

Proper Soave in the form of Pieropan Calvarino

Nice way to wind down from a game of football. Proper Soave! It’s from Pieropan, and it’s the single vineyard Calvarino bottling. Soils are volcanic, with vines trained in a traditional Veronese pergola. Yields of 60 hl/ha are quite generous, but the wine doesn’t lack intensity. It’s fermented and aged in glass-lined cement tanks, with [...]

So what does terroir taste like?

So what should terroir taste like?

In my talk on authentic wine yesterday, I had an informed and interested audience who asked some tough questions.

I was talking quite a bit about terroir. My argument is that wine is interesting because of its diversity, and the fact that this diversity is largely driven by the fact that [...]

A remarkable natural Barolo

Now this is interesting. I encountered it at the Oslo tasting I’ve been at for the last couple of days.

It’s a naturally made Barolo from Giovanni Canonica. He makes very little – around 5000 bottles – which all sell out very quickly. Much of the production is sold in Japan.

Canonica farms 1.5 hectares in the [...]

In Oslo

Opera House

For the last few days I have been in Oslo. It’s the first time I have visited this city.

I am here to do a couple of talks on the subject of Authentic Wine at the grand tasting of the Arcus group, the leading supplier of wine to the state-owned monopoly (Vinmonopolet). They were [...]

A remarkable Freisa and a delicious Montepulciano

Two excellent wines at dinner last night, here in Oslo. The first, a Freisa from Langhe made like a Barolo; the second, a warmer wine, much richer and obvious, but still with good definition and edges.

Giuseppe Mascarello Langhe Freisa ‘Toetto’ 2004
This is Freisa made almost in the Barolo way (15 months in slavonian oak), and [...]

Should wine producers listen to journalists?

As I travel the world’s wine regions, I’m often asked for my opinion by wine producers.

What are they thinking? What do I know about making wine? Could I run a press cycle? Or transfer wine between tanks? Or clean a filter properly before using it? Or carry out a delestage?

And when it comes to marketing [...]

Last day in Russia

I’m now back from my first visit to Russia, which was a great experience and will be written up in full, in my usual anorak-like fashion.

The last morning was spent at Abrau Durso, a sparkling wine specialist. It’s a house with some history, spanning back to 1870. Current production levels are a surprising 18 million [...]

A great 'modern Russian' lunch in Novorossiysk

Had a little bit of time to look round the port city of Novorossiysk yesterday. Its seafront has been redeveloped very attractively, and there’s a huge old battleship moored in front of the promenade.

This was followed by lunch at Cafe Prego, where as an alternative to their normal Italian fare, they had prepared a fantastic [...]