Beer: St Stefanus Blonde in 75 cl bottle

Now this is a really smart beer. It’s a Belgian beer with aspirational ideas, and it’s now available in 75 cl bottles.

Belgian beers are really interesting, but they tend to be niche. Supermarkets generally stock Leffe (in both Brune and Blonde forms, the latter being very respectable and quite affordable when on promotion), Duvel (quite tasty) and [...]

New wines from Jacob's Creek

I’ve just written up a tasting through the Jacob’s Creek range, including some older bottles.

Of particular interest, but perhaps more to the trade than to the majority of readers here, is the fact that Jacob’s Creek have recently launched two new lines.

One is their four Moscatos. Now Moscato is huge in the USA, it’s [...]

Judging at the Sommelier Wine Awards

Spent the day judging at the Sommelier Wine Awards, which is run by Imbibe magazine. The idea is to award medals to wines that deserve a place on a good wine list. As a result, we judge matched flights of wines ranging in price, and price is a consideration in determining whether the wine goes forward [...]

A Malbec from New Zealand that I really like

A lovely, fresh expression of Malbec from a country not normally associated with it: New Zealand. And at a penny under a tenner, this is cracking value for money.

M&S Nelson Malbec, Seifried Estate 2011 Nelson, New Zealand
14.5% alcohol. Unoaked, this is a vivid red/purple colour. Highly aromatic with joyful, fresh aromas of damson and raspberry. The [...]

Sine Qua Non Shot in the Dark - 100 points or 86?

I have just written up Thursday night’s tasting of cult Californian wines.

It was an eye-opener. One wine in particular polarized option. For me it was the worst wine of the night: over-ripe, and with an unpleasant roast coffee overtone. One or two others liked it. Robert Parker gave it a perfect 100 points out [...]

Nice wines at the Portuguese wine awards dinner

Last night was the Portuguese wine awards dinner at the Ambassador’s residence. It’s an annual event, now in its eighth edition, and is organized by the Association of Portuguese Wine Importers (APWI).

The goal is to give a pat on the back to those who communicate about, or sell Portuguese wines in the UK. It’s quite [...]

Why are tasting notes so bad? Can anything be done?

Just been browsing the tasting notes on a well known wine website (I will spare the name; I don’t want to be mean to this fine publication, because the problem is not unique to them), and was jolted by the realization that tasting notes generally do a spectactularly bad job of communicating about the nature [...]