Champagne Lallier's new R.012

I was intrigued by this new wine. It’s a non-vintage Champagne from Lallier, but it’s particularly honest about its component parts. Francis Tribaut, the owner/winemaker at Lallier has decided to label it R.012, indicating that it’s mostly from the 2012 vintage. But by using reserve wines – in this case 19% of the blend is […]

Gamay focus, 8 - Domaine Sérol Les Originelles 2014 Côte Roannaise

Once again, in my pursuit of Gamay, I am stepping outside of Beaujolais, this time to Côte Roannaise in the south of the Loire. I’m also finding this adventure a relatively affordable one, because Gamay is rarely expensive. I think this will change in time: in 20 years time, might Gamay be highly sought after? […]

Randall's grand plan: 10 000 new grape varieties

Randall Grahm is at it again. The Willy Wonka of the wine world has a new plan. No, it’s not global domination. Rather, it’s the creation of 10 000 new vine varieties as his legacy to the wine world. To this end, he has today launched an indiegogo crowd-funding initiative to raise some cash.

The idea […]

Does extended maceration obscure terroir?

Does extended maceration, to the extent that occurs in many amphora or orange wines, obscure or trump site and grape variety? This was a really good question that I was asked by a good friend today. So I thought I’d draft some sort of answer.

First, let me state that I am a fan of many […]

Gamay focus, 7 - Domaine des Hauts de Chasselay Coteaux du Lyonnais

So, in the next episode of my quest to explore Gamay, I’m heading just south of Beaujolais to the Coteaux du Lyonnais, a small appellation of 370 hectares of vines to the west of Lyon. It’s a little known AOP, which works in favour of the consumer because the prices are modest. Indeed, this is […]

Tasting notes are really bad, aren't they?

I think I really hate tasting notes. But I write them all the time. Have to. It’s a large part of my job.

I don’t think my tasting notes are absolutely the worst of all. But I still dislike them, for several reasons.

First of all, most tasting notes are silly. This is largely because it is […]

Some lovely reds from Boschkloof

I was so impressed by these three wines, presented to me by Reenen Borman (above), who’s been winemaker here since 2010. Boschkloof is based in the Polkadraai area of Stellenbosch, which is great terroir for Syrah. It’s decomposed granite under Hutton soil with a bit of koffieklip. Reenen has experience making wine in the Rhône, […]

Some 2013 Burgundies from Jane Eyre

So, here are four 2013s from Jane Eyre. I reviewed a couple of her 2012s earlier this year. To recap: she’s an Australian winemaker with an interesting back story.  She was working as a hairdresser, and one of her clients was the wife of Aussie wine critic Jeremy Oliver, which opened the door for her […]

Gamay focus, 6 - Desvignes Morgon Javernières 'Les Impénitents' 2011

In a series focusing on Gamay, it’s natural to spend quite a bit of time on its home turf: Beaujolais. I think that this is a region in the ascendant. There are lots of seriously good wines coming from Beaujolais, and committed people are beginning to realize the potential of some super-interesting terroirs for making […]

Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon, comparing 2007 and 2013

Nice to be able to try these two Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillons side by side. As many of you know, Semillon is the speciality of Australia’s Hunter Valley wine region. Despite the fact that this is a hot region, Semillon grown here makes very fresh, low alcohol, pure citrussy wines that age beautifully. Elizabeth, from […]