A day in Madrid. Only just.

Just spent the day in Madrid judging the malolactic wine awards. Now this may seem a little technical and unusual, but it’s a contest for red wines from Spain and Portugal which have been made with an inoculated malolactic fermentation.

Antonio Palacios, with Mike Florence in the background

I was one of the international judges among [...]

Three good Italian reds

Italy deserves more of my attention. Here are three proper wines with personality and balance, and all attractively priced.

Accademia Dei Racemi Segna Vento Tarantino Primitivo 2010 Italy
13% alcohol. What a bargain! Fresh vivid and bright with sweet berry and cherry fruit, as well as some raspberry notes. I like the fresh, spicy, grippy tannins, too. [...]

An English Pinot Noir from Chapel Down

English fizz is getting a lot of attention. What about the table wines, or still wines, or whatever you want to call them? Here’s a Pinot Noir that’s actually incredibly drinkable. Love the admirably pure cherry fruit: it actually tastes like Pinot Noir. The Englishness shows in the green characters, but they are more good [...]

How we approach wine alters our perception

Most readers will be familiar with the picture of the old hag/beautiful woman. It’s a simple drawing in black and white, but whether you see a young woman or a big nosed old hag depends on how you look at the picture.

When it comes to wine tasting, what you ‘get’ also seems to depend on [...]

The remarkable F series wines from Framingham

I recently had the chance to try a series of utterly remarkable New Zealand wines.

They’re from Framingham in Marlborough, a producer whose points of difference are that they are experts in Riesling, and also in sweet wines.

As a set of wines, these were quite stunning. The Pinot Noir is one of New Zealand’s best, and I’d [...]

So will first growth Margaux soon be using screwcaps?

In short, no.

I have just written up Tuesday’s presentation and tasting on the results from research carried out by Bordeaux first growth Chateau Margaux. This was presented by Paul Pontallier, and he displayed an incredibly open and thoughtful attitude in sharing details of the in-house experiments that have been going on there for a decade.

The [...]

Tim Atkin's Special Report on Burgundy 2010

I wanted to draw readers’ attention to the newly released special report on Burgundy 2010 by fellow wine writer Tim Atkin.

It’s an impressive 53 page in-depth look at this vintage, based on both a visit to the region and 16 tastings held in London. But it’s much more than just endless tasting notes. Tim’s strength [...]

Remirez de Ganuza, a top Rioja property, shows that modern can be good

Regular readers will know that a winery that employs solely 100% new oak (with 20% American), and selects as far as taking the tips off grape bunches (these are less ripe, usually), is probably not going to be my favourite sort of producer. But wine is complicated. You can’t be dogmatic.

Recently harvested grapes – [...]

A really good Kiwi fizz: Huia Blanc de Blancs 2004

New World sparkling wine isn’t my happiest hunting ground. But this is really good: full flavoured, complex, intense. I can’t find any UK stockists, but I reckon it will come in about the same price as Pelorus, the sparkling wine from Cloudy Bay.

Huia Blanc de Blancs 2004 Marlborough, New Zealand
A sparkling Chardonnay with the base [...]

Voyager Estate Shiraz 2009 Margaret River

I have been drinking this young Margaret River Shiraz for the last couple of evenings, and it’s impressive. Normally, you’d associate this rather beautiful part of Western Australia with Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varieties, but it can also do good things with Syrah/Shiraz. It’s ripe and sweetly fruited, but there’s also freshness, definition and restraint. [...]