The wine boats of the Douro river

This is a great film. It’s titled ‘The wine boats of the Douro river’, and it represents a very different Douro than that of today, shot in 1923. This was before the Douro was dammed in the late 1960s/early 1970s with five different dams, which converted it from a sometimes rather wild river into the […]

Advice for young winewriters

I try to be a helpful sort of guy. Now that I have climbed the first few rungs of the wine writing ladder, I’m occasionally asked for advice about how to start out writing about wine. And unlike the last post I wrote on the topic – how to succeed as a wine writer by […]

Testalonga King of Grapes: precise elegance or 'cranberry flavoured wheat beer'?

I was thrilled by this. It’s the latest red from Craig Hawkins in the Swartland, and it has been a bit controversial in the wine press. Andrew Jefford, normally a hero of mine, seems to have it in for Craig, and in a very mean swipe in his Decanter blog he described it as ‘fermented […]

Le Clos de la ‎Févrie Muscadet 2013

Normally, I find it hard to get too excited about Muscadet. But I’m beginning to change my mind. On a recent trip to Canada I tried a Melon de Bourgogne (the Muscadet variety) from Malivoire, and it was really interesting. It reminded me straight away of good Muscadet in its flavour profile. And this wine, […]

The amazing Dry River Pinot Noir 2012

I am a Dry River fan. The wines – produced in small quantities and hard to obtain – have all the makings of a cult winery’s offerings, but they are just so consistently delicious. The only criticism in the past has been, from some quarters, that they are just a bit too scientific and controlled. […]

Reasons to be optimistic

I was originally going to write today about things in the world of wine that worried me. For example, I’m anxious that wine shouldn’t be so expensive that normal people can’t afford interesting wine. I’m also worried that the high-point-scoring critics will win the day and those of us who like to actually write, as […]

Four very fine Rieslings: Germany, Italy and New Zealand

It seems to be a bit of a season for Riesling. Here are notes from four bottles tried a while back which I have found in a notebook, and feel compelled to write up now because they just deserve to be written up.

Wittmann Morstein Riesling GG Trocken 2009 Rheinhessen, Germany
13.5% alcohol. From limestone soils, this […]

Culmina Unicus, a Gruner Veltliner from British Columbia, Canada

On my visit to the Okanagan Valley, it was nice to meet Donald Triggs (above) and taste a few of his wines. One stood out immediately as being particularly interesting: it was Gruner Veltliner, made from third-leaf fruit.

Triggs has been an important figure in the Canadian wine industry. A businessman with international experience, he partnered with Alan […]

Two from the Swartland: Mullineux and Testalonga

Two lovely South African wines recently enjoyed. The first, quite conventional: the 2012 vintage of the fabulous Mullineux Syrah. While I love their Granite and Schist bottlings (I haven’t yet tried the new Iron cuvee), this is the wine to go for. It’s lovely, and a comparative bargain compared with its expensive peers. The second […]

Influence Wines Riesling 2012 Finger Lakes

This is the first wine I have tried from the Finger Lakes region in New York  State. They are a network of long, finger-like lakes just south of Lake Ontario, and presumably with a fairly similar climate to the Niagara region just a little to the east over the border in Canada.

It’s a Riesling made […]