Beauty, ugliness and branded wines

[A post prompted by a twitter discussion with Robert Joseph and Tim Atkin.]

It is great for the wine world when big brands do a good job. Examples that come to mind: Jacob’s Creek, Brancott, Concha y Toro.

It is hard for big wine brands to be good. This is because making authentic wine requires attention to [...]

Looking forward to the fourth grand blind new year Champagne tasting!

So looking forward to tonight’s blind new year Champagne tasting. Now in its fourth installment, it features brother-in-law Beavington, known as Beaver by his work colleagues, and I, tasting a large number of Champagnes, single blind.

This means we know what is coming, but don’t know what order they turn up in. We film it, and [...]

Lapierre Morgon 2010

Marcel Lapierre, who died in October 2010, was a leading light in the dynamic natural wine movement in Beaujolais. He took over running the family domaine in 1973, and in 1981 – inspired by Jules Chauvet – began vinifying his wines with no added sulfur dioxide.

This wine, made by his son Mathieu, was the first post-Marcel wine (Marcel [...]

Some festive fizz, and fun quotes

It’s always a good time for sparkling wine and Champagne. Christmas gives me that extra prompt to open bottles though, and to seek out the company of those who also like to bring out the bubbles. Here are some fizz highlights of the last few days.

First, a couple of Christmas day quotes. I was at [...]

A spot of blind Christmas tasting, in which I fail

A spot of blind tasting Blind tasting is fun. It isn’t the only way to taste, and I don’t think it’s necessarily all that useful to assess fine wines blind – largely because there is more to a wine that what is just in the glass.

But when you taste blind, you learn. You learn about [...]

Getting ready for Christmas, and choosing some wine

Christmas eve has been a nice family day so far.

A quick dog walk, a visit with the boys to Fiona’s folks in Lightwater, some last-minute present buying, off with the boys to the gym, a late lunch in Nandos and a trip to Bushy Park to see the deer (with the obvious Christmas link). This [...]

Bordeaux prices, then and now

Was Bordeaux more affordable in times gone by? With the help of a 1909 price list from Berry Bros & Rudd and the website www.measuringworth.com, I thought I’d find out.

Here’s the 1909 BBR Bordeaux list, with prices in shillings per dozen (there were 20 shillings in the pound, until 1971):

CLARET.

1904
Ch. Talbot … … … … 30/-
Ch. Pichon [...]

Natural wine, a primer

One of the hot topics of the wine world is the concept of ‘Natural Wine.’

Travel to Paris, and you will find lots of bars that specialize in vins natruels. It’s a hipster movement, and it’s beginning to catch on elsewhere. London has at least four natural wine bars at present, and this year there were [...]

Gulfi's delicious Cerasuolo di Vittoria

Gulfi is an organic winery in Sicily, specializing in local grape Nero d’Avola. I recently tried through their range, which is characterized by big, structured, burly expressions of this grape. Impressive as they were, I was rather taken by this wine: a 50/50 blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola, from Sicily’s only DOCG – Cerasuolo [...]

Fruity with a hint of drought, an article of mine in Nature

Those with a science background will understand why I’m chuffed to have got an article into the comments section of leading scientific journal Nature. It’s on the subject of climate change and wine.

You can read it here.

I also went into Nature’s HQ near Kings Cross to do a podcast on the topic, including [...]