Another lovely Champagne: Gatinois Aÿ Grand Cru NV

Gatinois, based in Aÿ, have 7.5 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards spread across 29 plots. They sell half their grapes to Bollinger and other grand marques, but father and son team Pierre and Louis Cheval-Gatinois also make their own wine, including this NV, which is 90% Pinot Noir with the balance Chardonnay. This spends at […]

Consistency is desirable, but at what cost?

I had a conversation with a beer brewer recently. I asked him whether size was an advantage in brewing, in that having lots of shiny new kit might help you make better beer. His response was that it buys you consistency. He then went on a semi-rant about small London breweries in railway arches and […]

Rêverie Chenin Blanc 2014 Swartland, South Africa

This was a new discovery at Cape Wine. It’s  the Rêverie Chenin Blanc 2014 from an old vineyard (1978 plantings) in the Swartland. The soils? Pure granite, no irrigation, picked early (19 Balling), fermented in old barrels. It’s made by Jacques de Klerk whose day job is with Radford Dale. Interestingly, even though this is […]

Champagne Michel Arnould Grand Cru Brut Réserve NV France

Continuing my exploration of well priced and delicious grower Champagnes, here’s another, from Michel Arnould. They have 12 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards in Verzenay. It’s Pinot Noir: although I’m at heart a Blanc de Blancs fan, there are times when some Pinot character is welcome.

Champagne Michel Arnould Grand Cru Brut Réserve NV France
From Verzenay, […]

Changing views on ripeness in South Africa: a welcome development

One thing that my tastings at Cape Wine has reinforced, is something that I have believed for a while. It’s that it is possible – even in quite warm climates – to make wines with moderate alcohol levels. I tried many lovely wines that had alcohol levels in the range of 12-13.5%, and one or […]

South African Chenin Blanc: some highlights from the Cape Wine beach party

These are some of the highlights from the Chenin Blanc beach party at Cape Wine, which I caught on Monday afternoon.

It’s great that Chenin Blanc is now fully recognized as one of South Africa’s strongpoints. I guess this isn’t anything new, but the change over recent years is the gain of momentum behind this variety. […]

2014 releases from London Cru

Urban winery LDN CRU (London Cru) are just about to release their 2014s. It’s the second vintage at this exciting project, based near Earl’s Court in West London, and I’m pleased to say that the wines are even better than the 2013s, which were already very good. I caught up with winemaker Gavin Monery at […]

In South Africa, day 2, Roberston

I woke up on Sunday early but excited. A few lucky people, including me, had been invited to Robertson by three producers: Graham Beck, Springfield and De Wetshof. And we were to fly there on a small plane (a Beechcraft – from looking on the website, I’m pretty sure this was a King Air 350). […]

In South Africa, day 1

I’m in South Africa, again. No great hardship: I love this country. I arrived on Saturday, and as usual, I’ve found little time to write blog posts, so this will be a brief update from day 1.

I headed to the pretty Stellenbosch Kloof, which is not yet an official subdistrict of this large region, but […]

The stunning Envínate Táganan Parcela wines

Had these at Mr Primack’s place. He’s a big fan of these wines, and I am too, now.

Envínate is a collaboration between four winemakers who are exploring distinctive terroirs in Tenerife (where these wines come from) and Ribeira Sacra. The partners – Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez – met while studying oenology […]