A brilliant Rioja: Phincas

I was introduced to this wine by David Sampedro Gil, the winemaker behind DSG Vineyards, a relatively new project looking to make a range of wines from some of Spain’s great terroirs. I was really taken by it: it’s a serious effort, and one of the best young Riojas I have tried. UK agent is […]

Pay-to-play and wine writer ethics

I apologize for talking about talking about wine, but there’s a lot of discussion on wine writer ethics at the moment. This discussion has been led by the excellent Palate Press, who aren’t afraid to say difficult and controversial things where they feel this is needed.

Their latest article tackles the issue of ‘pay to play’, […]

A tasty Malbec from the Loire

I was interested by this wine. Really modern packaging, and use of the variety name Malbec rather than the normal Touraine name for this grape, Cot. It’s riper than the average Loire red, a category of wines that I’m unusually drawn to.

Jean Francois Merieau Malbec Cent Visages 2009 Touraine, Loire
12% alcohol. Very modern packaing with an […]

The wines from Friday night's wine peeps gathering

So, we’ve seen the food from Friday night. Now the wines. Special shout out to Greg Sherwood for bringing along two older reds, which he served blind. They were both fabulous, and one was from my birth year, so it was extra special.

Champagne Taittinger Prelude Grand Cru NV, France
Richly toasty with nice citrus freshness. Powerful […]

A dinner with wine peeps, cooked by the talented Mr Wadsack

Last night we hosted a dinner for wine trade colleagues who share the ‘TW’ postcode. 12 of us in all, and celebrity chef for the day was Joe Wadsack, who laboured for 5 hours to produce a stunning menu:


A Duxelle of Mushroom with Salami and Black Fig on Rosemary and Potato Sourdough.


Joe’s Fish Fingers and […]

Video: Christmas tree-side tipples

I love to sit and sip by the Christmas tree, late at night. Here are some of my favourite tree-side tipples!

At the Hobbit with New Zealand wine

Kiwi winery Villa Maria were sponsoring the wine at tonight’s preview showing of The Hobbit, so I got to go.

Pictured above: Warren Adamson (Craggy Range), Kate Sweet (PR person and significant other of Warren), Sarah Shepherd (NZ Winegrowers), me, and Penny Fear (Villa Maria UK).

The film?

Good bits: lots of action and incipient peril (if this […]

A brilliant Pinot Noir from the Auvergne

This is, dear readers, the best sub-£10 wine I have consumed this year. It’s a Pinot Noir from the southern Loire region of the Auvergne, which is a story in itself (I hope to visit next year), and it has been unearthed by the talented Richard Kelley MW of ABS Wine Agencies. It comes from […]

Announcing a new book: The Science of Sauvignon Blanc

It seems a while ago now, but back in July 2010 I visited New Zealand with the sole purpose of interviewing researchers who have been working on all aspects of the science of Sauvignon blanc.

It’s probably the world’s most thoroughly researched grape variety, and with New Zealand Winegrowers I discussed the possibility of trying to […]

Ochoa 8A Mil Gracias Graciano

I like Graciano. It’s a red grape variety, grown principally in Rioja, where it is used as a blending component. It’s a high quality grape capable of making ageworthy wines, but it’s low yielding, and so not so popular with the large factory-like bodegas.

This example is from Navarra, and it’s deliciously fresh and lively, with […]