Washington State wine adventures, day 2

The vehicle the four of us are driving around Washington State is big enough to fit a hot tub in the back. It’s really, really big, and all the doors and the boot (trunk) have electronic buttons to open them. This level of complexity is daunting, and at the moment someone has pressed the wrong [...]

Washington State wine, day 1

So, the first full day of my adventures on the Washington Wine route has ended. I’m travelling with a jolly band – Richard Hemming, Treve Ring and Kate Sweet, and we have a full itinerary that should allow us to get a real feel for this region. We began in the city, and nearby Woodinville, [...]

Artificial intelligence, perception and wine

Part of the wine list, RN74, Seattle

I’m on the road again. This time visiting Washington State wineries. Did you know that Washington State is the USA’s second largest wine state, with 20 000 hectares of vines, about double the size of Oregon, and one-fifth the vineyard area of South Africa? I shall be looking [...]

Penfolds Bin 707 1993

This is a wine I bought back in the 1990s from a UK supermarket for around £16 (it was on offer). How times have changed! Current releases are super-expensive. This isn’t supposed to be a great year for Bin 707, but it has aged very nicely, shedding the new American oak it was raised in, [...]

The 2013 Craggy Range Prestige wines: Le Sol, Sophia and Aroha

These are three remarkable wines. Craggy Range are very excited about the 2013 vintage in these two regions, and on tasting these wines it’s easy to show why. ‘In 2013 we felt it was the first time we had really seen the true potential of our great estates in Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough,’ says winemaker [...]

Quinta do Noval 2013 Vintage Port

Don’t you just love eccentric declarations? We’re talking Vintage Port here. It used to be so solemn and predictable: three declarations a decade, from the very best years, agreed in a gentlemanly fashion over a long lunch at the Factory House (or, at least, that’s how it seems from the outside). Now Quinta do Noval [...]

Three from South Africa

Had three interesting South African wines last night. Here are my notes. Two were served blind (Cartology and Blank Bottle).

Cartology 2013 Western Cape, South Africa
A blend of Chenin Blanc plus a bit of Semillon, from old bush vines. This is richly textured with a bit of spice and lovely bold pear fruit. It’s a generous [...]

Video: Cockburn's Port Bicentenary Tasting

Here’s a film from the recent Cockburn’s Port Bicentenary tasting, held in London. It involved a range of Ports from Cockburn’s glory days to the present day, including a couple of rare pre-phylloxera bottles. The Symingtons purchased Cockburn’s in 2006 and their aim is to restore this Port house – which for a long time [...]

A taste of the Barossa, back to 1967

A lovely tasting this afternoon at Philglas & Swiggot in Battersea. It was an interesting set of Barossa wines, presented by James March of the Barossa Wine and Grape Association, spanning the 1960s to the current day.

This tasting reminded me why I fell in love with the Barossa when I first discovered wine in the [...]

Cricket, a five-for and a Vinteloper

Played wine trade cricket today. First game of the season, versus Fullers, at Chiswick Park. It’s such a pretty ground, quintessentially English and fringed with trees. The only problem: retrieving balls that have been dispatched past the boundary. Most significantly, this was veteran Wine Trade and Fullers cricketer Mark Dally’s final game before retirement. A [...]