How export approval can stand in the way of less conventional or natural wines

Some good news. Wine Australia today announced that they are dropping the tasting panel element from export approval.

Getting export approval has been a big problem for natural winemakers in Australia, and continues to be a big issue in South Africa and New Zealand.

I’ve written about it extensively here, giving some case studies. In an absurd bit [...]

A decent, affordable Carignan

£9 used to be quite a lot to spend on a bottle of wine. Now, with duty increases and exchange rates, it really isn’t.

I’m not saying that £9 is a trifling amount; rather, that to get a decent bottle of wine, you need to spend a bit more than you used to. We’ve got too [...]

Two Beaujolais, one nice, one thrilling

Two more really good wines from the 2010 vintage in Beaujolais, one of which is thrillingly beautiful.

Yvon Métras Beaujolais 2010
12% alcohol. Pale cherry red in colour, this is beautifully perfumed with aromas of red cherry, floral notes and some white pepper, as well as citrus peel and spice. The palate is fresh and fruity [...]

Another great beer: Goose Island IPA

Really enjoying beer at the moment. Here’s another great one, this time from Chicago’s Goose Island. Great to find this in Tesco, and it wasn’t expensive. I wish you could have great wine experiences for less than £2!

Goose Island India Pale Ale (Chicago, USA)
5.9% alcohol. Nicely hoppy with a deliciously bitter, tangy citrus and spice [...]

Exploring perception at the Champagne assembly

Today was the Champagne Mumm/Perrier Jouet Champagne Assembly, held in the fabulous surroundings of the Marriott Renaissance Hotel at St Pancras.

Peter Barham (in waistcoat) presenting his session

I attended three of the five sessions, and they were pretty thought provoking. Physicist and food science geek Professor Peter Barham led a session looking at the effect [...]

At the Australia Day tasting

Some great wines on show today at the Australia Day tasting in London’s Saatchi gallery. Great venue for wine tasting: lots of natural light, and big airy spaces. Couldn’t have been better.

I didn’t taste everything, by any means (in fact, I was only there a couple of hours). But what I did taste impressed. Some [...]

Lammershoek's LAMS - brilliant value from the Swartland

Two wines I shall go out and buy: the red and white LAMs by Swartland start Lammershoek, who since the 2010 vintage have been on fire. These were tasted today at the Richards Walford tasting. Retail price on both is £11, which makes them real bargains. And I love the labels.

LAM by Lammershoek Chenin Blanc/Viognier [...]

Mountford Estate Chardonnay 2008, one of the highlights of today's NZ tasting

Spent a few hours at the New Zealand Wine Growers tasting today in London. It was great to see so many winemakers and punters there, but it did make it very hard to concentrate on tasting.

One of my highlights – and there were a few – was this Chardonnay from Mountford Estate in Waipara. They [...]

Lunch at La Trompette with Scali Pinotage

Lunch at La Trompette today, the Nigel Platts-Martin restaurant out in the wilds of Chiswick, west London.

It was very good indeed. Starter: smoked haddock and creamed leeks with grain mustard, poached egg and toasted crumbs. It was brilliant, with strong but balanced flavours. To match? Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2010 Swartland, South Africa, at [...]

Funniest label of the year, so far

Caught a glimpse of this new wine label from D’Arenberg, for a celebratory sparkling wine they are releasing.

It’s very funny indeed. (For those who don’t get the joke, see this link.) I hope Pernod Ricard, who own Champagne Mumm, can see the funny side too.