Sad news about David Booth

Very sad to learn today about the death of David Booth. A British expat, he turned to wine after a successful army career, and became a well known viticultural consultant in Portugal. His client list included Terras de Alter, Azamor, Vida Nova and Vale de Algares, and he also had his own project, Alentejo winery Fita Preta, [...]

Day 3 of the IWC

Day 3 at Lord's, the home of cricket

Very tired tonight. Another big day at the International Wine Challenge, with plenty of wines passing our table (number 9, again), and a good number going through to next week, including a couple of very nice botrytised reds!

Table 9

There were also nice wines from Bosnia, Serbia [...]

World Malbec Day, an English salute

Table 9: hard working, uncomplaining!

Day 2 of the International Wine Challenge, and it was a big one. The team I was working with tasted 160 wines today. A lot by any standard, and by the end we couldn’t have done many more and still have done a good job. This is week 1, where [...]

Day 1, International Wine Challenge 2012

The first day of this year’s International Wine Challenge was a huge success. It’s the biggest yet, in terms of entries, and this was the first day at a new venue. After a successful tenure at the wonderful Barbican, we were at Lord’s, the home of cricket, and now also of the IWC.

Chris Ashton [...]

Northern Rhone series 20, the 2010s from Pierre Gaillard

I was fortunate enough to be sent some cask samples of the 2010s from Pierre Gaillard. He makes wine in a modern style, but avoids spoofiness and over-ripeness. In a vintage like 2010, which I’m beginning to think is the best in the region since 1999, his wines are pretty irresistable. These are all available [...]

The beginning of the end of Bordeaux primeurs?

Are we about to see the beginning of the end of the annual Bordeaux en primeur campaign?

For as long as I have been following wine, a key point in the calendar has been the Bordeaux en primeurs, when cask samples are shown to the trade and press six to seven months after harvest, and then [...]

How to manage a Champagne brand, some thoughts

I’ve been thinking a bit about wine branding recently, and specifically about Champagne brands.

The large Champagne houses are skilled brand managers. It has taken a lot of hard work to get Champagne positioned the way it is now, occupying an elevated space in the wine world, and much of the work has been done by [...]

In the Douro, at Warre's Quinta da Cavadinha in the Pinhao Valley

A short film from a visit to Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha, in the heart of the beautiful Pinhao Valley. I am with Paul Symington and viticulturist Miles Edlmann.

Two great older whites: Burgundy and South Africa

Had these two fabulous older whites, and thought they deserved a blog post of their own. Both have aged beautifully.

Domaine Marc Morey 1er Cru Virondot Chassagne Montrachet 1999 Burgundy, France
Toasty, taut and complex with spicy notes and fresh citrus, as well as some bready character. Satisfying and broad with real finesse and good acidity. 94/100

Klein [...]

Bordeaux pricing is actually all about sex

Let’s talk about the pricing of top Bordeaux wines.

It’s the subject of intense current discussion, but I think there’s some misunderstanding here. We’re not just talking about the price of wine. At the high end, it’s rather more than this: it’s a discussion about sex.

High-end fine wines are an example of a Veblen good. Named [...]