So what does a 89 year old table wine taste like?

I have just written up a Marques de Murrieta Rioja tasting, where we got to drink, among other lovely older wines, a bottle of Castillo Ygay 1925. It was remarkable.

Tasting old wines like this can be a bit random. By the time a wine is more than 20 years old, there’s no such thing as [...]

Lunch at the Glasshouse, Kew

Back to one of my favourite places yesterday, for a lovely lunch. The Glasshouse, Kew, is worth a detour. The wine list is really creative and diverse, the service is impeccable (and there are always lots of bodies on the floor), and the food is seriously good. The Glasshouse has a Michelin star, but if [...]

Altano Organic Douro Red 2012, a brilliant bargain

This is a brilliant bargain! It’s a grown-up, proper Douro red for less than a tenner. The Symingtons are the largest organic farmer in the Douro with 126 hectares of organic vines (clearly, there is some way to go in a region with around 36 000 hectares – the chief problem is weed control on [...]

Lunch at Mission E2 with some nice Californian wines

On Thursday I had lunch at one of London’s most exciting new wine destinations: Mission E2, the second venue from Sager & Wilde. It’s a beautiful space in a nicely converted railway arch near Bethnal Green tube station. Lots of dark wood, good natural light and a palm tree! The food was really good. I [...]

Amazed by the 2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc

I am quite amazed by how good the 2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc is. You’ll probably be amazed by how amazed I was, so from the outset, I’ll answer some questions that some of you may be thinking.

This was a bottle bought off the shelf last week in Tesco (it was just £6.99, so I thought [...]

Vidal Fleury Crozes Hermitage 2012

Regulars here will probably know that the northern Rhône is one of my favourite regions, and that I am crazy about cool-climate Syrah. It would be fair to say that negociant Vidal Fleury is not one of the northern Rhône’s elite producers, but they seem to be getting better, and this is a very smart [...]

Charles Smith The Honourable Riesling

I admit it: I hadn’t really heard the Charles Smith story until I read about him on the blog of a Canadian friend, Nicole, even though I’d run into a couple of the wines (one stocked by Virgin Wines, and one by Wholefoods). How could I have missed him? What a back story! He seems [...]

Les Griffons de Pichon Baron 2012, a serious effort

This is a super wine. It’s a new launch from Bordeaux superstar Pichon Baron. Christian Seely describes it thus: ‘It is a second wine, made from grapes from the intermediate parcels that might sometimes make it into the Grand Vin, sometimes into Tourelles [previously regarded as Pichon's second wine]. Les Tourelles itself comes mostly from [...]

Iona Chardonnay 2013, a star from Elgin

My South African wine journalist friends have been raving about Elgin Chardonnay for ages. Do you know what? They may just be right. I’ve some good ones of late, including impressive examples from new boy Richard Kershaw, and this stunner from Iona.

Iona Chardonnay 2013 Elgin, South Africa
13% alcohol. A lovely Elgin Chardonnay that blends freshness [...]

Just pick earlier!

I had a remarkable tasting a few weeks ago with Marcelo Papa of Concha y Toro. He did an experiment: picking some of the grapes for Marques de Casa Concha a month earlier than they are currently picked. He says that he had to close his eyes when he looked at the seeds: they were [...]