The real wine fair dinner in pictures

Cracking night last night. Dinner with the growers at the Real Wine Fair. 200 people, a gazillion bottles of natural wine, and simple but delicious food. I didn’t take any notes, but I did take my camera, with a trusty old 28 mm manual focus lens at f2.8. Considering how much wine was consumed, it’s […]

Is minerality the key to ageworthiness in wine?

Our scientific knowledge about what makes wine ageworthy is currently limited.

I know the rules: the things that should make wines capable of ageing. There’s low pH (high acidity), the presence of adequate free sulfur dioxide, and the presence of phenolic compounds.

Increasingly, though, I come across wines that break these rules, and yet age well.

I don’t […]

A brief report from day 1 of the Real Wine Fair

Today was day 1 of the Real Wine Fair, held at the rather wonderful subterranean venue of Victoria House in Holborn. I was there to give a seminar, and also spent a couple of hours tasting. I’ll be back tomorrow for more, but here are some highlights of my rather random sampling of the 183 […]

A dinner in honour of Paul Symington, with 1945 Graham

On Thursaday night, I attended the Decanter Man of the Year dinner held in honour of this year’s recipient, Paul Symington.

Right from the outset, when Paul was rung with the news of the award in December, he  maintained that this is a family award. Paul heads up the family business: they are the leading shipper […]

Could science kill the magic of wine?

Does an increased scientific understanding of wine kill the magic?

This is a question I find myself asking with increasing frequency. If our progress in wine science means we can deconstruct the flavour of wine, and then link this back to viticulture and winemaking, would this take away some of the fun?

In my former work life […]

Two very nice sparkling wines: New Zealand and England

Two very nice sparkling wines: one from Kiwi land and one from over here. Both pretty serious, and not expensive.

Huia Blanc de Blancs 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand
I’d been very impressed by the 2004, so I was keen to try this, the follow-on vintage. Just as good. Attractive, rich, toasty nose with a sweet creamy edge. […]

Lethbridge, a winery built of straw

I have just written up a review of the wonderful wines of Lethbridge, from Australia’s Geelong region, not far from Melbourne. I really liked them, and you can read the review here.

I’ve not visited it, but the winery is actually quite remarkable. Think Grand Designs. It is built out of straw bales, by a company […]

Hungary, Day 4, with the awards ceremony in Budapest


The last day of my Hungarian visit. I was in Budapest for the awards ceremony for the Pannon Wine Challenge.

I spent the morning catching up with Agnes Herczeg, CEO of Grof Buttler winery and MW student, and then it was off to the Gerbeaud, for a very grand awards ceremony and lunch. I had […]

Two Champagnes to celebrate the premiership win

I was born in the season when Manchester City last won the league. We’re talking football here (association football, or soccer, for those outside Europe).

It was called the 1st Division then. Since it has been renamed the Premiership. I’ve always been a City fan. I was born in Manchester and my family background is blue (City […]

Hungary, Day 3, and a visit to lake Balaton

Tara Q Thomas and Wojciech Boknowski taking snaps of winning bottles

It is a measure, perhaps, of how good some of the wines in the Pannon Wine Challenge were that when the winners were unveiled at the end of tasting, the judges all crowded round with cameras and iPhones in order to photograph the winning […]