In Hungary, day 2, and a visit to the Abbey Winery in Pannonhalma

Another full day of judging Hungarian wines. We spent the morning finishing tasting all 300 in our groups of three and then in the afternoon joined together, to retaste all the wines that had got through the cut.

John Szabo

It’s a great way of judging because we all get to taste all the good wines. […]

In Hungary, day 1

I’m here in Hungary, judging the Pannon Wine Challenge 2012.

There’s a nice group of judges this year. Three panels, each led by Hungarians, with two international judges on each.


The local judges are Gabriella Mézáros, András Kató and László Romsics, and the international judges are Alder Yarrow, Tara Q Thomas, Isabelle Legeron, Wojciech Bonkowski, John […]

Le Dome, Gruaud and Yquem...Bordeaux time

Some more notes from wines drunk on Sunday evening. Three from Bordeaux, in fact. The two reds were served with butterfly leg of lamb, grilled on the barbie.

It turned out to be quite a traditional evening, kicking off with fizz and then turning to Bordeaux. Nothing wrong with that.

The surprise here was Le Dôme, which […]

Clos des Goisses, Selosse and Krug

Cracking dinner last night over at my sister and brother-in-law’s pad. We decided we’d open some nice bottles, and so we began with some fizz. Initially, we’d planned on two bottles to start (between four; we had some decent Bordeaux to follow), but we got into the swing of things and b-in-law William brought out […]

A few thoughts on reduction

So. This is not an essay or technical paper on reduction. Rather, it’s a few thoughts, prompted by a glass of wine.

Reduction is, of course, a misnomer. It refers to volatile sulfur compounds produced by yeasts during fermentation, and it is perfectly possible to have a wine showing both volatile sulfur compounds (reduction) and oxidation

I […]

Docklands Museum and the Majestic press tasting

Headed off to meet with some friends at lunchtime. The meeting place was interesting: the Museum of London, Docklands. I’ve lived in London since 1992, but there are still places I’ve never been in the capital. This was one of them.

I visit the Docklands rarely, and it’s a bit like visiting another city. The musuem […]

A serious Hungarian Chardonnay from Grof Buttler

I’m off to Hungary next week, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to blog about this rather stylish Hungarian Chardonnay. It’s from Grof Buttler, a producer I know little about, but which I’d like to know better. They are based in Eger, and their currently unreconstructed website is here.

Gróf Buttler Chardonnay 2009 […]

Serious Sangiovese, Il Molino di Grace Gratius 2006

Now this isn’t a perfect wine. But it’s a very good one, it’s interesting, it’s edgy, and it tastes like the essence of Tuscan Sangiovese.

Sangiovese is not an easy grape. It doesn’t make accessible, fruity wines. It can be difficult, and it has a tendency to err in the direction of drying tannins and away […]

Some thoughts on Wine Stars, a new competition

Some of you may already have heard of Wine Stars, a new competition that will be launched at the London International Wine Fair later this month.

Anything that helps worthy producers of wine find the right channels to sell their wine has to be applauded. I hope it succeeds, and the caliber of the people involved […]

Grenache Blanc is underrated - two good Spanish examples

I have limited experience of Grenache Blanc, I admit. But most of that experience has been good. Here are a couple of Spanish examples that continue that theme. They’re both delicious, and they are not fiercely expensive. What has your experience of Grenache Blanc been like?

La Miranda de Secastilla Garnacha Blanca 2010 Somontano, Spain
Made by […]