Another brilliant Dao wine from Alvaro Castro

I bought this wine last year at a ridiculously cheap price in a sale from online Portuguese wine merchant Castas. It’s my last bottle, and I’m sad that I don’t have more. Once again, it shows just how good the Dao region, with its granitic soils, can be.

Álvaro Castro 2007 Dão, Portugal
A blend of Alfrocheiro, […]

Some of my leading blog posts from the last year

The nature of a blog post is that it is somewhat ephemeral. Most blogs don’t encourage readers to hunt around the archive, even though there are tag clouds and category links. So I thought I’d collect some of my most significant blog posts from 2011 all in the same place.

Wine writers: making money on the […]

The importance of impartiality

For any wine critic or writer, impartiality is a non-negotiable.

And I think that all wine writers realise this. So the real danger is not corruption, or obvious conflicts of interest. Rather, it’s the subtle loss of perspective that being sucked into the wine trade brings with it.

As a writer, I gain a great deal by […]

Greywacke Pinot Noir

Very impressed with this. Kevin Judd is well known for his Sauvignons, but this Pinot Noir is one of a growing band of serious expressions of this grape from New Zealand’s Marlborough region. It’s a region capable of making great Pinot, but it’s often overlooked, which is a shame.

Greywacke Pinot Noir 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
I […]

Syrah and Pinot Noir, and why I love them

Two wines tonight, shared with friends, which really worked.

The first, a northern Rhone Syrah from the Cornas appellation, but bottled as Vin de Pays. It’s the Les Collines de Laure Syrah 2010 from Jean-Luc Colombo who I met last week. I bought a case of this (direct from Hatch Mansfield because retailers haven’t yet switched […]

What the wine industry can learn from Kodak

Look, I’m no business expert. But as an amateur photographer with a strong affection for Kodak, and particularly the Kodachrome film (deceased for some years), I think there are some lessons for the wine industry as outlined in this account of the decline of this once great firm.

The main lesson is that current performance isn’t […]

Highlights from yesterday's New Douro tasting

Yesterday’s New Douro tasting was one of the best yet. While the emphasis was on the 2009 vintage, producer’s also brought the odd older wine, which was appreciated. 2009 is a ripe, warm year, but despite the heat and lack of rain that characterized this vintage, the wines have a lovely purity and openness to […]

Dinner at the wonderful Viajante with Dirk Niepoort

Sensational wines. Sensational food. Just what you want on a cold Tuesday night in January.

Amaranth with sorrel; onion brioche with stilton cheese; thai explosion 2

Dirk Niepoort, one of the winegrowers I respect the most, was in town, and he kindly invited a small group to dine with him at Viajante in Bethnel […]

The Stonier International Pinot Noir Tasting

Just back from the Stonier International Pinot Noir tasting. It’s actually the 14th time this tasting has been held globally, and the idea is to taste 12 great Pinot Noirs from around the world, blind, and then discuss them.

There is no winner. Each table of tasters contributes to the discussion, via a table captain, but […]

Another good Dao wine

The Dao region of Portugal continues to impress. Here’s another good one, from organic winery Casa de Mouraz.

Casa de Mouraz 2007 Dao, Portugal
A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen and the rare Agua Santa. Fresh, sweet cherry and berry fruit nose with some spicy, savoury notes. The palate is vivid with good acidity […]