Nebbiolo, I'd love to like you more...

Just been discussing Nebbiolo on Twitter. It’s one of those grapes that we in the wine trade are supposed to like.

For sure, it’s a grape I love the idea of, but the reality is that I keep getting disappointed by it. And I like pale-coloured reds with perfume, so I don’t see why there’s a [...]

Montalbera Laccento 2010 Ruché, a rare red variety from Piedmont

This is such a distinctive, perfumed, floral red wine. It’s from Piedmont, and made from a very rare red grape variety called Ruché, of which there are only 40 hectares planted worldwide. It’s just my sort of style, showing elegance and aromatic interest, but with some edges too.

Montalbera Laccento 2010 Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato, [...]

New Kiwi wines from Rod Easthope

I first met Rod Easthope when he was winemaker at Craggy Range, based in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, back in 2008. I met him again in 2010 at the Hawkes Bay Syrah symposium, when he gave a deeply impressive talk on Kiwi Syrah. And then again, I met him in Wellington in January this year, [...]

Kershaw, a brilliant new South African Chardonnay

It has been a year of debuts in South Africa. First, the remarkable wines from Duncan Savage, and now this – Richard Kershaw MWs first solo venture, a Chardonnay from Elgin. It’s truly fabulous. Up there with South Africa’s best.

It mentions the geeky term ‘clone’ on the label: this is because Richard’s a firm [...]

Some amazing fine wines at The Sampler

Latour 1961 in the glass

Each Christmas The Sampler puts some rather special wines on its sampling machines, and this year is no exception. I popped into the South Kensington shop to try them; Islington has a different set of wines on. They aren’t cheap, but for many of these wines it’s a once in [...]

Single hop beers, an interesting geeky angle on beer

It’s interesting to see more beers labelled by hop variety, much in the way that wines are labelled by grape variety. Hops are fashionable at the moment – and I, for one, love hoppy beers. I think the British cask ale brewers are sometimes a bit afraid of hoppy flavours. I don’t mean to suggest [...]

Christian Seely talks sense on the 2013 vintage in Bordeaux

I was very impressed by this blog post from Christian Seely who is managing director of AXA Millésimes, and therefore in charge of a number of wine estates, including Pichon, Petit Village and Suduiraut in Bordeaux. Seely is quite rightly unimpressed by people writing off the 2013 vintage in Bordeaux without having tried the wines. I [...]

Senejac, a bargain Christmas Claret

I was really impressed by this pair of Christmas Clarets, currently available for £16.99 from The Co-op. It’s two vintages of Chateau Senejac. I tried the 2009 last year and rated it highly. This time round, I have a slight preference for 2008, which is a bit more structured and classical. If you like the riper fruit [...]

Grape varieties and the diversity of wine

There’s another interesting piece by Andrew Jefford in Decanter looking at a census of grape varieties. He states:
The plantings of the major varieties are steadily growing more dominant. Some 21 varieties accounted for half the world’s plantings in 2000; by 2010, that total had dropped to 15 varieties. The share of the top 35 global [...]

Chateau Margaux 1993

‘Gourmet dinner Saturday night?’ enquired brother-in-law Beavington by text. ‘I have something VERY special.’ So, on Saturday night we headed over to my sister’s place for dinner.

The special item was a magnum of 1993 Margaux, which he’d purchased in the late-1990s from Justerini for £50 in a bin-end sale. 1993 is a vintage that has [...]