The effect of herbicides on soil structure

I’m just preparing a presentation I’m giving in the Netherlands tomorrow, and I came across two pictures I took in the vineyards at Waterkloof in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The first is of one of their vineyards that has been managed biodynamically from the start, which is above. [It’s not an old vineyard.] The soils had […]

Wine writers ripping off wineries, a disturbing trend

A rant. I don’t rant often, but I’m driven to do it today.

As a wine writer, I’m alarmed by the recent trend for other wine writers to behave parasitically by charging wineries to reproduce reviews.

I’m not going to name names, but it’s morally questionable, and I think wineries shouldn’t put up with it.

If I am […]

Andrew Nielsen and Le Grappin, a talented Burgundy micronegoce

Website: http://www.legrappin.com/

Lots of people, it seems, have vinous epiphanies. They drink a special bottle of wine, and suddenly they are converted. Wine is no longer just an alcoholic drink for them; it is something more fundamental. For some, it becomes their life.

Andrew Nielsen (above), originally from Australia, was working in advertising with publications such as […]

Barraco Vignammare 2013, an incredible Sicilian white

Dear readers, I hope you don’t tire of my hyperbolic descriptors. ‘Remarkable’, ‘Sensational’, ‘Incredible’. I’m beginning to sound like a Daily Mail wine critic. After all, one route to success as a wine writer is to lavish everything you taste in effusive praise. The recipients of this praise, who usually don’t bother to check all […]

Narrative and perspective, and how we understand wine

John Lambie, who was the manager of Scottish football club Partick Thistle, is credited with one of the most well known sporting quotes. On being informed by his medical team that the Thistle striker was concussed to the extent he couldn’t remember his own name, Lambie replied, ‘Tell him he’s Pele and get him back […]

The stunning 2013 releases from Kutch

These were very smart indeed. Jamie Kutch has a good story, and I reckon his 2013s are his best wines yet. My feeling is that they’re a bit more elegant and pure than previous releases (even though previous releases were pretty smart wines). I don’t know whether this is because of a stylistic evolution, or […]

A couple from Bordeaux, La Tour Martillac and Petit Village

Bordeaux is the world’s most famous wine region.

But it’s one that is losing the hearts of many of the new generation of wine nuts. They’re alienated by the prices, by the pretension (big-ass Chateaux and winemakers wearing suits working in impossibly grand cellars with spotless barrels), and by the somewhat old-fashioned image. But we shouldn’t […]

McC Coupage, a lovely wine from Serbia

McCulloch Wines is the venture of Englishman Don McCulloch and his Serbian-born wife Seka Nikolic. McCulloch was previously a special protection police officer for the Royal Family (he retired after completing 30 years’ service in 2009), while Nikolic has a natural-health practice in Hampstead, London (she describes herself as a ‘bio-health practitioner with exceptional healing […]

Two amazing wines from François Cotat

He’s the total star of Sancerre. François Cotat (note, there’s a relation, cousin Pascal Cotat, and the wines of the two shouldn’t be confused) is one of the Loire’s most revered producers. Based in Chavignol, he has just three hectares, of which 0.5 ha is Pinot Noir. The Sauvignon is picked quite late, and then barrel […]

The Portuguese Pinot Noir, Quinta de Sant'Ana

Pinot Noir? From Portugal?

With so many of its own grape varieties to focus on, you’d think Portugal has little to gain from trying to make Pinot Noir. But why not? If the climate and soils are there for making serious Pinot, it’s worth a go. Pinot rocks, after all. It’s especially worth a go if […]