Super Chablis from Eleni et Edouard Vocoret

A new discovery for me, courtesy of Roberson. The wines of Eleni and Edouard Vocoret. UK retailer Majestic used to stock the Vocoret Chablis in the early noughties, and they were OK if unspectacular. But Eleni and Edouard have taken over just a small slice of the family domaine (3.3 hectares), and are making these [...]

The incredible Stolpman Vineyards Combe Trousseau 2014

This wine blew me away today at Sager & Wilde. It’s a varietal Trousseau (aka Bastardo) from the Stolpman Vineyards in Santa Barbara County. The soils here have a feature that’s quite rare in California: limestone. The Stolpman property is 220 acres and 153 are under vine. In 2013 they grafted across just one acre [...]

On cycling

I have discovered cycling. Don’t worry: I’m not about to don lycra, spend thousands of pounds on a racing bike, and start posting (boasting?) my Strava stats on social media. It’s just that I have discovered the pleasure that cycling can bring. Suddenly, on two wheels, any journey is fun.

I have my new Finnish friends [...]

Single critic opinions or panel tastings? Which is the best?

Yesterday Tim Atkin released his South African wine report. It’s created quite a bit of discussion, and it’s also raised once again for me the question of single critics versus panel tastings. Which is the best?

Tim has worked very hard tasting a lot of wines, as do the competing critics from the big publications such [...]

Ulysse Collin Les Maillons Blanc de Noirs - a sensational Champagne

I was blown away by this rich, distinctive Blanc de Noirs from Ulysse Collin. It’s sensational, and it has a good back story.

Olivier Collin’s family had been farming vineyards from their base in Congy since 1812, but were renting out their 8.7 hectares of vineyards to a negociant. But Olivier wanted these vineyards back: he [...]

Lunch at Greg with Neal and Gareth, including some nice wines

Lunch at Greg Sherwood’s place (christening his new kitchen!). So it was Sunday, and we were off to Greg Sherwood’s gaff in St Margarets for some food and wine. It is probably close to the truth to suggest that when I accepted the invitation, I suspected that an extended lunch was in prospect. Joined by [...]

Napue, a superb Finnish gin

Tried this superb gin in Finland. It’s a small-batch rye gin from the Kyrö Distillery Company in Isokyrö. This was set up by a group of five friends (Miika, Miko, Mikka, Kalle and Jouni), and originally focused on producing Finland’s first rye whisky (naturally, being Finland, they conceived the idea in a sauna). They set up a [...]

Three interesting whites: LAM, Gramona Ovum and Montinore Borealis

We tasted quite a few wines at the Tampere Wine Symposium, and one of the highlights was this flight of three whites. These aren’t expensive wines, but they’re really compelling and delicious.

Gramona Ovum Xarel-lo 2013 Catalunya, Spain
From a 4 hectare vineyard, fermented and aged in concrete eggs and amphorae. Lovely complex wine with nuts, lively [...]

Food and wine pairing at C Restaurant, Tampere, Finland

Had a lovely evening with my Finnish hosts at C Restuarant in Tampere. The restaurant is a collaboration between chef Ilkka Isotalo (below) and ex-sommelier Christina Suominen, and the emphasis is very much of matching food and wine. Most people have the food and wine pairing menu when they eat here. The wine list is short but [...]

In Tampere, Finland, for a wine symposium

I’m in Tampere – Finland’s third largest city, on an isthmus between two lakes. It’s described as the Manchester of Finland, because of its industrial past. And in the gorgeous August sunshine, it looks quite nice.

I’m here for the Wine Symposium, which has been organized by the Finnish Sommeliers Association. Yesterday was Day 1, and I [...]