A great lunch at Social Wine and Tapas, with Savart and Pignan

Charles Spence, the noted red-trousered Professor of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University wrote one of my favourite books of late, titled The Perfect Meal. I think I had a lunch today that would get pretty close, at Social Wine and Tapas with Dan Keeling of Noble Rot.

Of course, I was primed to like it. Our [...]

'Down with wine dogma' - a comment on the alcohol level debate

A friend alerted me to this blog post by the excellent Ray Isle, which contains an open letter by Californian winemaker  Sean Thackrey on alcohol levels and wine. Thackrey is an eloquent and thoughtful voice in the wine world and his letter is worth a read.

While you are at it, you should probably also read [...]

Dajoar Zenit Riesling from Bender

‘Dajoar’ means ‘as it used to be’, and this single-vineyard Riesling by Andreas Bender is made in a style that harks back to the traditional way Mosel wines would have been made in the past. From red shale soils, harvested at 40 hl/ha, these Riesling grapes are fermented with wild yeasts in oak. It’s quite [...]

Brands and reassurance

I’ve been thinking a bit about brands of late, and it is coffee that prompted my thoughts.

I was in Washington State in June, and you just couldn’t get away from Starbucks. Every hotel had Starbucks coffee, aside from the ubiquitous Starbucks stores. My coffee geek friends tell me that Starbucks coffee isn’t very good. But [...]

Gamay focus, 9 - Te Mata Gamay Noir 2014 Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Continuing the Gamay quest, we are off to New Zealand. There are just 7.3 hectares of Gamay Noir in New Zealand. And the producer who has led the way with his variety so far has been Te Mata, in Hawke’s Bay. This is their Gamay, and it’s pretty good. [The other famous example from Kiwi [...]

On beauty

This morning I was driving. And, as I usually do when I am driving, I listened to Radio 4. [If I were ever to leave the UK, I think one of the things I would miss most about this small, quirky country is the BBC, and specifically Radio 4.] It was Desert Island Discs, and [...]

Top new world fizz from Graham Beck and Josef Chromy

Super-impressed by these two sparkling wines from the ‘new world’ – specifically South Africa and Australia. They’re both available from UK retailer Marks & Spencer (I strongly suspect that the Rhona is the re-badged Blanc de Blancs from Graham Back; M&S like to have exclusive labels).

[A side note on scoring. I hate the 100 point [...]

Nomacorc's owners diversify, adding natural cork, glass and screwcap to their portfolio

In an interesting development, Vinventions, the parent company that purchased the leading synthetic wine closure company Nomacorc earlier this year, has acquired Rudolf Ohlinger, a screwcap and natural cork manufacturer/distributor. This marks the beginning of the diversification of Vinventions, away from being a single closure-type company – and this is a significant step.

Nomacorc has been [...]

Extended tasting note: Maximin Grunhaus Riesling Abtsberg Kabinett 2011

Just a few days ago I expressed my dissatisfaction with tasting notes, and their inability to capture the essence of the experience we have as we taste wine. So now I want to try to do better. I’m not sure I can, but I will attempt to express my experience in real time as I [...]

Barcelos de Biobra 2014 Valdeorras, a brilliant naturally made Spanish red

This is a lovely wine. It’s a varietal Mencia from Galicia, from the Valdeorras appellation, which is quite a bit inland on the river Sil. Some background on the wine from importer Ben Llewelyn of Carte Blanche:

Biobra is a Mencia from a tiny vineyard in the eastern end of Valdeorras produced by the excellent Gallegos-speaking [...]