A brilliant Kiwi sparkling wine from Huia

I recently wrote up the 2004 Huia Blanc de Blancs. Very favourably.

The 2005 is the current vintage, and the good news is that this is also exceptional.

Huia Blanc de Blancs 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand
12.5% alcohol. The base wine is aged in French oak. Very attractive rich toasty nose with a sweet creamy edge. The palate [...]

Pfaffl Hundsleiten, a brilliant Austrian Gruner Veltliner

Grüner Veltliner is one of my favourite white grape varieties. It’s pretty much restricted to Austria, although New Zealand has now started paying attention to this variety, which has a distinctive white pepper signature note.

This is a really good example from the Wienviertel region, close to Vienna.

R & A Pfaffl Grüner Veltliner Hundsleiten 2011 Wienviertel, [...]

Big fat gypsy wedding and the Andre Simon Award

Yesterday was action packed. After travelling into London for a client meeting, it was back home, in time to witness a remarkable spectacle.

Have you ever seen the Channel 4 series Big Fat Gypsy Weddings? It’s a close look at the traveller community, with a particular emphasis on weddings. They tend to be quite extravagant. Well, [...]

Dinner at le Mange-Grenouille, Saint Aignan sur Cher

Another nice dinner, this time at le Mange-Grenouille in Saint Aignan. No frogs: just some delicious wines and really impressive food, including a really nice pigeon and one of the most visually appealing desserts I have had in a while. Two slightly less well celebrated Loire varieties shone. First, Romorantin, and second Côt (aka Malbec [...]

Dinner at Le Bon Laboureur, with nice Loire wines

I’m in the Loire, with Tim Atkin, Sam Harrop and Annette Scarfe. We’re here to judge Loire Sauvignon, and last night we were joined by some Loire growers for a nice dinner at Le Bon Laboureur in Chenonceau.

The food was first rate, but what I found really exciting were the wines. The Loire is a [...]

Why most wine blogs fail to thrive

There are lots of wine blogs out there, written by all manner of different people: wine merchants, wine producers, wine writers and, of course, interested amateurs.

Most – and even some good ones – fail to build any sort of audience. Why is that?

Here are my guesses.

Frequency of updating. If you are going to build any [...]

Off to the Loire, with a nice Sancerre as preparation

Tomorrow I am off to Tours with a crack team of tasters to judge some Sauvignon Blancs. I beleive that our crew includes Clarke, Metcalfe. Atkin and Harrop, among others. I’m lucky to be included!

In preparation, I’m tasting a rather good Sancerre. It’s nicely packaged and deliciously full flavoured.

Domaine Laporte Sancerre Le Rochoy 2010 Loire, [...]

Castelmaure Corbieres, a fabulous Languedoc red at a good price

Really like this wine. Lots of personality, some elegance, and a haunting perfume – and at a good price, too. It’s from a co-op working in partnership with Jean Jean, and it just works.

Saint-Félix de Castelmaure Corbières 2010 Languedoc, France
13.5% alcohol. Ripe and beautifully framed, with a floral, meaty cherry and plum fruit nose that [...]

Jean-Marc Sauboua's 50th bash

Jean-Marc Sauboua with 88 Haut Brion

 Just back from Vintner’s Hall in London, where tonight saw the 50th birthday celebration of Laithwaites/Direct Wines winemaker Jean-Marc Sauboua.

The quality of the turn-out showed just how highly people think of Jean-Marc. It was a lovely evening with a really good atmosphere and some nice wines. Wine [...]

A natural Burgundy from Alexandre Jouveaux

Some of the most enduring tastes are difficult to acquire.

The first time you taste a really strong goat’s cheese, your instinct is to recoil in horror. But persevere, taste on repeated occasions with an open mind, and you may find yourself loving it.

We each possess an innate sense of deliciousness, but it’s rarely the flavours [...]