Red Obsession, a film about wine

Warwick Ross, filmmaker, and Simon Staples

Red Obsession is a compelling film. It tells the story of the rise in interest in the top wines of Bordeaux, and how China has fallen in love with wine. With the 2009 and 2010 vintages, prices reached unprecedented levels. The Chinese market has embraced these wines and is now the  [...]

Privacy in the internet age

Occasionally I allow myself the luxury of a non-wine-related post. This is one such occasion.

I have been thinking about the issue of privacy recently. Basically, I don’t have any, as a user of the internet, with a Gmail account, and publishing a large part of my life on social media. I doesn’t bother me, and [...]

London Cru, an urban winery in Earls Court

It’s 8 am on a Wednesday morning in September, and I’m in a slightly sketchy part of west London, just down the road from the Earls Court exhibition centre. There’s an articulated lorry waiting in the street.

I think I’ve found what I have been looking for. Yes, tucked in behind a block of council houses, there’s a lock-up [...]

A hugely interesting scientific paper questions what we know about musty cork taint

A scientific paper that has just been published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) examines the way that 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), the key compound responsible for musty cork taint is perceived. The results are surprising.

They suggest that TCA acts on olfactory receptor cells (the cells containing the proteins that detect smells) by suppressing protein [...]

Tasting Noval Vintage Port and Nacional

A great tasting this morning: Christian Seely was in town showing off Noval Vintage Port and Noval Nacional, in paired vintages: 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2011.

The observant among you will have noticed the presence of 2004 Nacional. It’s the second time I’ve tried this ‘secret’ Nacional, which has not been released commercially, and the [...]

10, 20, 30 and 40 Year Old Tawnies from Graham's

Graham’s have recently released a series of aged Tawny Ports, which arrived here in small bottles packaged in an attractive box. Here are my notes on them. Aged tawnies (10 years and older) are just a small part of the market for Port (3%), but they are important wines, and I reckon that they are [...]

Lunch at 28-50 with Philippe Pacalet

Great lunch today. It was at the new 28-50 in Maddox Street, with Philippe Pacalet, who I have met a couple of times before. Also present were Philippe’s wife, Monica, Steven Spurrier, and Davina Boyle and Mathieu Jullien of Wine Source  (www.wine-source.com), who import the Pacalet wines.

I have always liked the Pacalet style: he works quite [...]

Some picture highlights from the Beautiful South tasting

I went to the Beautiful South tasting at Olympia, London, today. It was brilliant. Three countries – South Africa, Argentina and Chile – combined to put on quite a show, with over 300 producers present pouring their wines. The venue was great, with lots of space and lots of natural light. I spent most of [...]

A brilliant, crazy South African wine

This is a brilliant wine. It’s unusual, as you might expect from a wine called ‘funky white’, made in a solera style with some flor involvement. It’s not really like a fino sherry; it’s just 13% alcohol. I’d say it was a bit more Jura-like. So fresh and enticing, and available in half bottles from [...]

Ceilings for wine quality in Bordeaux

A nice-looking gravelly terroir

I’ve spent a few days in Bordeaux, during which I’ve had a chance to speak to a few knowledgeable people and also to walk through quite a few vineyards. (And run through some, too.) Harvest is a few weeks off, so it’s interesting to see the marked differences among the various [...]