Five from Saint-Amour, Beaujolais

Saint-Amour is the most northerly and the second smallest of the Beaujolais crus, and 115 growers farm its 308 hectares. The soils here are a bit different: the region’s granite soils give way to the clay and limestone of the Maconnais, so presumably there’s a bit of a mix in some of the vineyards (Saint-Veran [...]

Two lovely Sancerres from Jolivet

Sauvignon Blanc isn’t a boring grape. It is capable of greatness. Here are two lovely Loire Sauvignons from Pascal Jolivet. Jolivet has 70 acres in Sancerre and Pouilly Fume, and also buy in grapes (about half their production needs).

Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Les Caillottes 2012 Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. From an 8.65 acre parcel with 40 [...]

In Madrid, day 2

I’m on my way home now after an enjoyable couple of days in Madrid. Last night we went out for some fun. We started off in the Mercado de San Miguel, which is an enjoyable place to browse, full of places to get something to drink, or a bite to eat. It was pretty busy, [...]

A Tempranillo from Oregon: Abacela South East Block

One of the judges this week at the ML Wine competition is Earl Jones, who owns the Abacela winery in southern Oregon. He’s an interesting chap: he came to wine after a career as a research professor in immunology. His main focus is Tempranillo, and Earl was the first to bottle a varietal Tempranillo in [...]

In Madrid for the ML Wines competition

So I find myself in Madrid. It’s a little chillier than London, which caught me out a bit. But it is a nice place to spend a few days. I am here to act as one of the judges for the ML Wines competition. It’s the third time I’ve judged this: we assess red [...]

Marlborough: boom, bust, and boom again

Boom and bust. Then boom again. That has been the recent story of Marlborough. The commercial success of Marlborough Sauvignon led to a massive increase in plantings throughout the late 1990s and noughties. The rate of growth was phenomenal. Then the boom turned to bust in 2008, with a large vintage of questionable quality, coupled [...]

Zind 2010, a lovely Chardonnay-based wine from Alsace

I love Zind Humbrecht’s wines, as you can see from this write-up of the 2010s when I visited Olivier Humbrecht at his winery.

One of the more unusual of the bottlings here is Zind, which is a blend of 70% Chardonnay with 30% Auxerrois from the 2 hectare Clos Windsbuhl vineyard with its calcareous soils. It’s [...]

Learning to love Nebbiolo: Mascarello, Giuseppe e Figlio

In my quest for Nebbiolo to love, I came across two rather gorgeous bottles from Giuseppe Mascarello. This is one of those producers with a reputation for making mostly sublime wines, but also one where quality can be up and down. When they are great they are truly great, but greatness is not guaranteed. When [...]

At the New Douro tasting, with some of Portugal's finest

Today’s New Douro tasting was remarkable. Five new producers have joined the ND fold, so the tasting expanded to take in two rooms at the Portuguese Ambassador’s residence in Belgrave Square. It meant there was no lunch, which upset some trade people, but I’m of the opinion that if you put a tasting on, you [...]

Music and wine

Heraclitus was right. You can’t step in the same stream twice. The stream is ever changing and you are changed by your experience of the stream.

It’s like that with wine and music.

You can’t listen to the same piece of music twice. I remember as a teenager that sense of anticipation as I put a new [...]