A couple from Ben Glaetzer

I’m a hypocrite. I go on all the time about how I love balance and elegance; I sing the praises of low alcohol, lightweight reds. And then I come across a couple of big, 15% alcohol Barossa reds that I find really delicious. I think it is because Ben Glaetzer can do big but still [...]

Harvest time at Quinta de Roriz (Video)

Here’s a short film from this year’s harvest at Quinta de Roriz in Portugal’s Douro region. This is where the famous table wine Chryseia is made. It’s a beautiful property. We also get to see the Mistral sorting machine at work: this uses a jet of air to blow away raisined berries which would contribute [...]

Beer: Cantillon Gueuze Lambic Bio

This Belgian beer is something special. It’s a Gueuze, which is a blend of lambic beers. These are made by spontaneous fermentations, and are naturally quite sour in taste. Brewery website is here.

It’s very much a wine-lovers beer. It’s completely dry, and on the back label it suggests that this beer can be kept for [...]

Christmas bottles

OK, a round-up of some of the memorable wines we’ve had this holiday. Pictured above: the Man O’War Chardonnay 2009, with its characteristic matchstick reduction adding some Burgundian-style complexity. This is a superb wine with real interest. And I’m pleased to say I spotted it when served blind!

Totally different, and thoroughly enjoyable. La Morandina Moscato [...]

Christmas fun with some nice wines

Christmas greetings dear readers. I am currently in Gerrards Cross at my sister’s place having a big extended family christmas, so I will be brief.

Some nice wines so far. Paricularly fun have been a pair from Champagne Drappier – the Grande Sendree 2002 and the Grande Sendree Rose 2002. [...]

Mas Amiel Maury 2008

This is a fortified wine from the South of France  (Agly Valley, Roussillon), made in a similar way to vintage Port, but from the Grenache Noir variety. It’s a little less strong than Port (16 as opposed to 19/20 degrees of alcohol), but it’s one of the Maurys that have been aged reductively, so it [...]

Another cracker from the Southwest of France: Domaine du Merchien JAS

Domaine du Merchien is owned by a Brits David and Sarah Meakin, who moved to the southwest of France (Coteaux de Quercy) to farm and make wine. This wine, JAS, is a blend of one-third each Jurancon Noir, Abouriou and Syrah. Website: www.merchien.com.

Domaine du Merchien JAS 2008 Vin de Pays du Lot
Deep red/black colour. [...]

Northern Rhone series 19, Ogier Belle Helene 2007

Normally, I’d shy away from a Cote Rotie aged in 100% new oak. But this cuvee from Ogier seems to be able to take it in its stride. It was first made in 1995, and is named after current proprietor Stephane Ogier’s mother. It’s certainly a modern version of Cote Rotie, but it still has [...]

Focus groups for new product development

Big wine brands will typically use focus groups for new product development. In this process they test their new ideas on groups of consumers to check that this is really what they want: they’ll get the consumers to taste the product (or variations around the product space) and look at the proposed packaging. This helps [...]

Kirnbauer Blaufrankisch Classic 2009 - I really like Austrian reds

Now when the Austrians can prevent themselves from adding too much oak or going for too much extraction and ripeness, they make some lovely red wines. This is a Blaufrankisch, a grape variety that performs really well in the Burgenland region. Delicious stuff.

Kirnbauer Blaufrankisch Classic 2009 Mittburgenland, Austria
13% alcohol. Fresh with lovely raspberry and blackberry [...]