Video: at the Real Wine Fair

So on Monday, after judging at the International Wine Challenge, I managed to hot foot it over to Wapping (via the wonderful Overground, which makes East-West travel in London so much easier) to catch a bit more of the Real Wine Fair. I’m pictured above with Daniel Honan, aka The Wine Idealist, who’d come over [...]

Wine and emotions

Yesterday I watched a film. It wasn’t a very good film, but it made me cry. As a bloke, this is hugely embarrassing. But there was something about the film that stirred my emotions.

What are emotions? What happens, physically, to cause tears to be released from the eyes? It’s all a bit odd, isn’t [...]

At the Real Wine Fair

Carla Kretzel and Craig Hawkins, Testalonga, South Africa

Today was a glorious day. Not only was it one of those rare English spring days with a vivid blue sky and freshness in the air, but also it was the day of The Real Wine Fair. It’s a wine fair that brings together producers of natural [...]

Beeslaar Pinotage 2012, a fabulous debut

Abrie Beeslar (above) is the winemaker at Kanonkop, and he’s doing a bit of homebrew. This, his debut vintage, is one of the most profound interpretations of the often tricky Pinotage grape that you can imagine. It’s the Grand Cru Burgundy of Pinotages: structured, fresh, complex, ageworthy and elegant despite its obvious concentration. Website is [...]

Judging the International Wine Challenge

So we are four days into judging the International Wine Challenge. Now, as a panel chair, contracted for all 10 days of judging, I am biased, but I think it’s the best and biggest blind tasting competition in the world.

Of course, not all wines enter. But well in excess of 10 000 do (the figure [...]

Should critics allow personal style preferences to influence their work?

Should wine critics allow personal stylistic preferences affect their judgments on wine?

I recently had a discussion on twitter with a respected US wine critic from a major publication, who kept emphasizing that personal stylistic preferences had no place in his ratings. He was quite insistent.

It’s a question I haven’t really considered before. I like the [...]

Champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV, comparing 2012 disgorgement with 2005

This was an interesting excercise. The same NV Champagne – the excellent Charles Heidsieck – from disgorgements seven years apart. The older bottled had been professionally cellared in the interim. The younger wine was laid in the cellar in 2008 and disgorged in 2012; the younger laid in the cellar in 2001 and disgorged in [...]

Lindes de Remelluri 2010 - a lovely new-wave Rioja

I was really impressed by this new-wave Rioja from Remelluri. 2010 was the first vintage with Telmo Rodriguez back at the helm of the family winery, and this is a stylish effort. If only all Rioja could be made in this elegant, focused, pure style!

Remelluri Lindes de Remelluri Vinedos de Labastida 2010 Rioja, Spain
13.5% [...]

Learning to love Nebbiolo: Langhe Nebb from Vajra and Massolino

So I’ve been trying quite a few Nebbiolos of late, in a quest to learn to love it more. This has meant tasting a fair few young Barolos, and struggling a bit with their raw, primary tannins, which can be quite fearsome. This is where Langhe Nebbiolo proves useful. These wines are, as you’d expect, [...]

Gandolini 3 Marias, a brilliant Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo, Chile

Stefano Gandolini’s winery focuses solely on Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo Valley. This wine was new to me: nicely packaged, in a big heavy bottle, it made me a little wary. I was worried it was going to be very sweet, rich and quite alcoholic. What a nice surprise to pour it and find freshness, [...]