Gratuitous pictures of grapes here in Russia

Cabernet Sauvignon


Some pictures of grapes ready for harvest at Fanagoria winery. The hygeinic status of the vineyards I’ve seen so far has been excellent – they’re really well maintained. Yields in some of the vineyards are on the generous side, though.


Sauvignon Blanc


Pinot Noir

Another interesting day in Russia

I spent today in the Fanagoria winery in Russia. It’s a big operation, making a range of wines from 2500 hectares of vines. That’s big by any standards, but this Jacob’s Creek of Russian wine does a pretty good job, aided by consultant winemaker John Worontschack.

Some food notes. Above, herring, onion and potato; below, sala, […]

I'm in a vineyard in Russia - a first for me


So, after an 0335 alarm call, two flights and a car journey, I’m in a vineyard region in Russia.

I’ve never been to Russia before. Over the next few days I’ll be visiting a number of wineries in a region with no official name. It’s probably best described as Russia’s Black Sea Coast.

Frank Duseigneur

My […]

Historical pictures from the Douro

While I was staying in the Douro last week, I had a chance to see some historical pictures from the first decade of the last century.

I’ve posted them online here. I find the Douro a fascinating region for many reasons – not least, the very real connection with history and tradition. Bringing the wines down […]

Lunch at the Sands End followed by football at the Cottage

Great day today. Met up with Joe Wadsack and Stuart Bowman-Hood for our annual Man City v Fulham lunch and football game. Replacing Will Willis was Andrew Thomas, who was – like Will – cracking company.

Instead of our usual haunt, the excellent Harwood Arms, we shifted to The Sands End. The food was superb. Possibly […]

Video: foot treading grapes in the Douro

So here’s a film of foot treading at Quinta do Vesuvio, one of the Symington’s properties in the Douro. It’s amazing to think that many of the top Port wines are still made in this ancient fashion. Port grapes are loaded into the lagar after being picked during the day, and are then trodden for […]

More pictures from the Douro

Quinta dos Canais

Just back from the Douro, on a trip visiting the Symington family’s properties. It’s always good to be in the Douro, and especially so at harvest time. It hasn’t been the easiest of growing seasons, but good weather over the last few weeks coupled with good weather over the next few (which […]

A few quick pics from the Douro at harvest time

Some pictures from yesterday. Great time of year to be in the Douro with vintage just starting.

Sousao is not a teinturier variety


OK, a bit of geeky viticultural stuff.

I’d always been told that Portuguese variety Sousao was a teinturier: a grape with coloured flesh. Normally red grapes have all their pigment in the skins and the flesh is transparent. With teinturier varieties, of which there are very few, the flesh is also coloured. They make incredibly […]

Some traditional Portuguese food and Graham 1980

I’m in sunny Porto, heading off to the Douro today where vintage 2011 is just starting. So, snatching a few minutes on free wifi (all hotels should offer this) in the lobby, a brief account of last night’s dinner.

It was at O Carteiro (55 Rua Senhor da Boa Morte), a traditional Portuguese restaurant. The food […]