Desensitization, adaptation and cross-adaptation - perils for wine tasting

One of the pitfalls in tasting is the way that our sensory systems are quite malleable. Take vision, for example. If you are out in the sunlight and then walk into a slightly darkened room, it takes a while before you can see anything. Your visual system adapts to the ambient conditions. We take this [...]

A quick update on Cape Wine 2012

Cape Wine 2012 has been brilliant. I have discovered some very exciting new wines, caught up with some cool people (and made new friends), and over the last two nights I have amassed just under 6 hours’ worth of sleep. Just off to Hermanus to watch some whales, so no time at all to blog [...]

Cape Wine, the Green Tie party

Cape Wine got underway with a big party, held on the waterfront on a beautiful spring evening. It was a jolly affair, kicking off with a couple of glasses of bubbly, and then with a series of stands offering wines by theme as well as small plates of nice food.

As it was primarily a social occasion, I [...]

Cape Wine 2012, day 2, the Chenin conference

Up bright and early on Monday morning to head into Cape Town for the Chenin Blanc Association conference.

Ken Forrester, Chenin advocate

Chenin is a super grape and South Africa has half of the world’s plantings. It represents 18% of South Africa’s vineyard area, so it’s a big deal here.

I learned a lot from the conference. [...]

Cape Wine, day 1

Gary Jordan, Claudia Brown and Francois Haasbroek

So I arrived with a jolly bunch of UK journalists in Cape Town, on a cold and rainy day. We’re all on slightly different itineraries here, so some of us headed off for Sunday afternoon at Ernie Els’ place in Stellenbosch, where a bunch of Stellenbosch winemakers had gathered [...]

An attractive Gamay from a new appellation: Bourgogne Gamay

This is an appealing, fruity, vibrant Gamay that comes from a new appellation, Bourgogne Gamay, created in 2011. It’s Gamay from Fleurie, Chénas and Régnié, plus 15% Burgundy Pinot Noir. The Louis Latour wines are always so beautifully packaged, but sometimes they can be a little lacklustre. This is a good one, though.

Louis Latour Bourgogne [...]

A delicious, cheap German Riesling

Most £6 wines are distinctly dull. Some are nasty. But a few are really delicious, and this is one of them. I’ll be going back to buy some more. Just a shame the summer is over, because this is the ultimate wine for lunch in the sunshine.

Dr L Riesling 2011 Mosel, Germany
8.5% alcohol. Fresh, crisp [...]

Beer: my first experience of The Kernel

Working on the Douro film tonight with Dave Fuller, who brought round a couple of beers from The Kernel brewery. They’re probably the UK’s most highly regarded craft ale producer at the moment, and these two beers lived up to their billing.

The Kernel Pale Ale (Columbus) 5.2% alcohol
Amazing aromatics: complex, deep, hoppy, slightly floral but [...]

Dinner at 28 50 with some interesting Aussie wines

After the Semillon tasting I reported on a couple of days ago, a few of us retired to nearby restaurant 28 50 for dinner, with some interesting Australian wines. I love experiencing wine the way it is meant to be enjoyed: in good company, with tasty food, in a relaxed atmosphere.

We began with Jeffrey Grosset’s Polish [...]

Robustus 1990 with Dirk Niepoort

On Saturday night (15 September 2012) I had dinner with Dirk Niepoort at Quinta do Napoles in the Douro. It was a lovely evening with a bunch of like-minded wine people and some very nice wines.

Particularly special was the bottle of Robustus 1990 that Dirk opened: the wine that was the start of his current [...]