10 Californian Pinot Noirs that will blow your mind

It’s official. California is exciting place for Pinot Noir, and there is now now shortage of elegant, detailed, supple, world class Pinot Noir here, if you look in the right places. The In Pursuit of Balance tasting held in San Francisco in March 2014 showcased the top Pinot Noirs from California, and from the many […]

Drinking California Pinot Noir history

On Sunday night I was lucky enough to drink two wines that are important bottles in the story of Pinot Noir in California. I was with Raj Parr, Sashi Moorman, Jasmine Hirsch and Jamie Kutch at Zuni, and these remarkable wines were brought out. It was an immense privilege to be able to drink them.

Sanford […]

A Sunday in San Francisco

So, I got a text from Joshua Thomas: ‘Are you interested in brunch?’ Of course! So I headed across town to meet him at Nopalito for a Mexican brunch. The walk from where I’m staying on Geary took me through some sketchy areas, as I cut down Taylor to Market and then hit Fell. There […]

Some nice wines with dinner at RN74, San Francisco

So I am in San Francisco, a lovely place to spend a few days. I’m here for the In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB) conference on Monday here in the city. [You’ll be able to watch the seminars live on their website.]

Last night, after I arrived, I headed off for dinner at RN74 with IPOB organizer […]

A lovely no-sulfites MCC from Villiera

Methode Cap Classique, aka MCC, is the South African designation for quality sparkling wines. I was really taken by this example, from Villiera. It’s made without any added sulfur dioxide, and aged for a decent length of time in the bottle before disgorgement. I love the rich flavours and the way they are nicely countered […]

A brilliant cheap Gamay from the Ardèche

This is fabulous, and it’s cheap. It’s a £5.49 wine that has more than a hint of seriousness, as well as a lot of fun.

Marks & Spencer Vin de Pays de l’Ardèche Gamay 2013 France
12% alcohol. Made by Cave Saint Desirat, this Gamay has lovely aromas of cherries, herbs and flowers. The palate is juicy […]

Amazing meal at the Chiltern Firehouse

So, last night, I had a Great Gastronomic Experience.

It was at the newly opened restaurant of the Chiltern Firehouse, the new project by star hotelier André Balazs. Nuno Mendes, previously of Viajante, is the chef, and this combination of Balazs and Mendes has made the Firehouse the hottest restaurant in town. Located in a […]

Guttarolo Primitivo, a remarkable amphora wine from Puglia

I love this wine. It’s a Primitivo, but not as you know it. Cristiano Guttarolo has just 5 hectares of vines, at 400 m altitude, and this remarkable wine is made from a small 0.6 hectare plot of Primitivo that is fermented in 500 litre clay amphorae from Umbria. After fermentation these amphorae are sealed […]

Mother's Milk Shiraz

I do like the First Drop wines with their creative branding. This Barossa Shiraz, called ‘Mother’s Milk’, is really good. It’s properly Barossa, with ripe fruit it’s key signature, but it’s combined with freshness and definition. The end result is delicious and drinkable, but with a hint of seriousness, even though it is made for […]

Some old pictures, and thoughts on permanence

Today I have been sorting through some old pictures. They’re really old, some as far back as 1970. I’ve changed a lot since then.

The wine world has changed a lot since then, too. But still, compared with our lifespan, wine has a sense of permanence. It is rooted in the place, and the place is […]