A lovely Mosel Riesling from Max Ferd Richter

This lovely Mosel Riesling deserves a plug. From a vineyard I’ve never heard of before.

Max Ferd Richter Veldenzer Elisenburg Riesling Kabinett 2011 Mosel, Germany
10% alcohol. From grey slate and quartz soils, and a cool microclimate. Complex, precise and lively with lovely sweetness balancing the minerally acidity. Spicy and crisp with grapefruit, lychee and apricot, as [...]

A year in the life of a winewriter, 2013

It has been a good year. Not always straightforward, but rewarding. One measure of the success of a year is how much I have learned, and this year I have learned a great deal. Here are some of the highlights.

First trip of the year, a brief visit to Bordeaux, to talk at a conference on [...]

The cedar is the essence of Douro

I’ve enjoyed drinking this wine over the last two evenings. It’s the ‘second’ wine of Douro star property Quinta do Noval, and I think it’s a really good wine in its own right, offering the essence of Douro table wine in a relatively affordable bottle.

It’s named after the famous cedar tree at Noval, under which [...]

A Christmas treat - a remarkable Tokaji

I can’t think of many wines more appropriate for this festive season that this little beauty. It’s a Tokaji, from the wonderful Disznókő estate. Lovely complexity, with a bit of evolution, and lots of detail in the flavours. It was a warm year, but the region was less affected than many in Europe, and harvest [...]

Wine and music, a scientific study

It is well known that context can affect our experience (and enjoyment) of wine. But how do you measure this?

In a paper published in open access scientific journal Flavour, Charles Spence, Ophelia Deroy and colleagues looked at potential crossmodal correspondences between classical music and fine wine. To put this more simply, does listening to music [...]

What is a grape variety? What is a clone?

We talk a lot about clones and grape varieties. But what, precisely, do these terms mean?

Let’s first define ‘variety’. A new grape variety is produced when a grape seed has grown into a plant. So the 1500 or so commercial varieties of the single species Vitis vinifera grown worldwide are all the result of the [...]

Zelige Caravent, exciting wines from the Languedoc's Pic St Loup

Two wines from this interesting Pic St Loup property. Zelige-Caravent have 12 hectares of vines, separated into 22 different parcels, on interesting soils in the over-achieving Languedoc commune of Pic St Loup. They farm biodynamically (although they are certified organic only), and the newer parcels are planted at very high density and are massale selection. [...]

On fake wine

So, Rudy Kurniawan is the first person to be convicted in the USA by a Federal Court of counterfeiting wine. It seems that the fine wine auction market is awash with fakes, and the auction houses haven’t been up to the task of authenticating the lots that have been consigned with them. It has been [...]

Wines of the year, 2013

So, here are my wines of the year. It’s a strict meritocracy, I am afraid, and as this has been a very good year, it looks a little boastful. I have tried to restrict the list to wines that I have actually drunk rather than just tasted. Here goes.

I’m starting with the Shobrook Giallo 2011, [...]

Waterkloof Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2013

This is a lovely South African Sauvignon Blanc from biodynamic winery Waterkloof, which I visited last year. It’s the first release of a Waterkloof wine made by new winemaker Nadia Barnard.

Waterkloof Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Ripe, rich pear and peach notes as well as lively grapefruit freshness. There’s a rich texture and mouthfeel [...]