Language and wine

I’m just preparing for this morning’s session at the International Pinot Noir Conference here in McMinnvilla, Oregon. I have to moderate the grand seminar, which will be repeated again tomorrow, with 400 delegates in each session. Our topic, on the perception of wine and the way we use language to describe it, is potentially quite [...]

Thinking aloud about wine marketing

I’m in an airport. It’s a place where you are bombarded by marketing messages. It’s made me think about wine marketing.

Spirit producers tend to do a lot more marketing than wine producers. It’s not the fault of wine producers: it’s just that the world of spirits is a much more branded space than that of [...]

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2012

So, Noval has done another ‘eccentric’ declaration, this time of the 2012, and it’s quite early, too. Christian Seely announced the declaration on his blog, earlier this month. His logic – if the Port is good enough, it will be a Vintage declaration, even if it means that selection results in smaller volumes being released. [...]

Comments on Bruce Palling's anti-natural wine article

Bruce Palling’s article on natural wine has been the subject of a lot of debate over the last week or so.

I’ve read it twice. Three times if you count the abbreviated version that appeared in the New Statesman. He writes well, and he makes some valid points. But…

The ‘but’ is because I think he’s actually [...]

Centonze Frappato 2013, a beautifully floral Sicilian red

I do like Frappato. It’s a grape variety that yields beautifully fresh, floral, lighter-style reds, even in the warm climate of Sicily. This is a truly seductive, floral example.

Centonze Frappato 2013 Sicily, Italy
13% alcohol. Sweet, supple, floral nose of red cherries and rose petals. On the palate this shows supple, sweet fruit with red cherries [...]

From the road in South Africa: Delaire Graff and 96 Winery Road

I’m on my way home from a brief trip to South Africa to judge a Chenin Blanc competition. I spent just two nights here, although because of the overnight flights this translated into the best part of four days on the ground. Both nights were spent at the fabulous Delaire Graff estate, in one of [...]

Consider Chenin

For the last couple of days I have been judging the Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, held at Klein Zalze in Stellenbosch. 126 different wines were entered, and the panel of five, chaired by Cristian Eedes, tasted all of them, and then retasted the top 32 wines to select 10 winners. So here [...]

Some great wines at lunch, including Cristal, Faiveley Corton and Schlumberger GC Saering

After judging the Roederer Awards on Tuesday, we repaired to Chez Buce, where – naturally – we popped a couple of bottles of Roederer’s Cristal. This was followed up with some other gems from the Roederer portfolio (they own MMD, who distribute Roederer and other wines in the UK). Yes, these bottles were a little [...]

Off to South Africa again

So this evening I am flying to South Africa again. Just for a few days this time. And I’m going while it’s winter there, which is bad planning. There’s nothing like a dose of summer dropped into February or March to raise the spirits. Fortunately, Cape Town winters are pretty much like bad English summers, [...]

Winning best overall wine blog in the Wine Blog Awards

It was nice to wake up yesterday to a facebook message from Katie Myers telling me I’d won the best overall wine blog category at the Wine Blog Awards in the USA. It was only this evening, when the results were officially posted on the website, that I really believed it was true.

It’s a lovely [...]