A brilliant, affordable Languedoc Syrah

Love this wine. Affordable but with some complexity. Fun yet a bit serious. Chunky but not inelegant. Ripe yet savoury. A perfect house red for autumn/winter.

Domaine Coudoulet Syrah 2011 Pays d’Oc IGP, France
14.5% alcohol. Fresh, vivid black cherry and blackberry nose, which is rich but defined with sweetness and some floral, peppery notes. The palate [...]

Recaredo: world-class Cava?

Great discovery today, made at Les Caves de Pyrene’s sparkling tasting. Recaredo. World-class Cava, something that many wine nuts didn’t think was possible.

The secret to Recaredo’s wines? Biodynamic viticulture and long ageing on lees, on the cork. During this lees ageing they carry out Poignetage, a shaking of the bottle to spread out the lees. Riddling and [...]

Visiting Weinbach and Hugel, and lunch with Bott-Geyl

Catherine Faller of Weinbach

Day 2 in Alsace was a busy one, beginning with an appointment at Weinbach. The Fallers – Colette and her daughters Catherine and Laurence – have developed an enviable reputation for this estate, which was a monastery until the French Revolution.

Grand Cru Schlossberg

It was acquired by Catherine’s grandfather in 1898, [...]

A great Alsace wine dinner at La Nouvelle Auberge

Arrived late in Alsace last night because of a delayed flight, so it was straight off to dinner – one that I’d been looking forward to for some time.

It was held at La Nouvelle Auberge in Wihr au Val, which is run by Bernard Leray (originally from Brittany) and his wife Martine (from Alsace). The [...]

The Côtes du Rhône quiz night in pictures

Olivier and Oriane of InterRhone

Last night was the Côtes du Rhône quiz night. Halloween themed, the quiz was focused on all things ghoulish. It was a blast, and we all had a lot of fun.

I was in a team with Tim Atkin, Lottie West and Joe Wadsack. We were eighth out of 32 teams, [...]

An English white Pinot Noir and an Aussie Topaque

Headed over to Denbies wine estate today, in Dorking, Surrey, for a meeting of Elevage. Elevage is the organization I’m involved with that runs the International Sparkling Wine Symposium (ISWS). The last one was held last November, and we are in the stages of planning the next. (If you’d like to get hold of a [...]

A brilliantly elegant, drinkable red from New Zealand

There’s something special about this utterly drinkable Kiwi red from biodynamic pioneer James Millton. It’s from Gisborne, which is predominantly a white wine region, but James’ reds suggest this should be reconsidered.

I love the perfumed aromatics here: it’s a light, expressive wine, but there’s also a hint of seriousness. It’s the sort of wine that I [...]

Natural wine is an unnecessarily divisive subject

Natural wine is a divisive subject.

It needn’t be.

I enjoy many natural wines. I like to drink them. So do many others. They bring me great pleasure.

I don’t really mind that there is no strict definition for ‘natural wine’. If someone wants to call their wine natural then that’s fine. It is a useful banner under [...]

A delicious German Pinot Noir

There are some things that I like more the older I get. I tweeted yesterday about how much I a growing to like white Rhone varieties such as Marsanne, Grenache Gris and Blanc, and Viognier. I also find that I’m appreciated Champagne more. And also Pinot Noir, which is a bit of an addiction.

Here’s a [...]

Two lovely, full-on wines from First Drop

I love the packaging of the First Drop wines. The labels seem to resonate with the wines.

And while I’m all for elegance, sometimes it’s great to have full-flavoured Aussie wines from regions like the Barossa and McLaren Vale, when the bigness is allied to freshness and definition, and appropriate oak use. Big can, of course, [...]