Wine media and the internet: are we drowning in a sea of mediocrity?

Recently, I discussed the way that the internet has changed the landscape of wine writing. I considered the impact on wine writers of an enormous increase in the volume of published wine media. Against all this noise, I asked, how can a professional wine writer ensure that their voice is heard?

Now I’d like to address [...]

Lunch at Rochelle Canteen with a rare, brilliant Baga from Luis Pato

So, today. Lunch at Rochelle Canteen in Shoreditch. My first time. This is a remarkable restaurant housed in an old bike shed, and it’s only open weekday breakfast and lunchtimes. And it has no licence, so it’s BYO. But the food is amazing. Serious, and delicious.

Tucked away in a courtyard – part of an old [...]

On change, and the end of the Swartland Revolution

So the Swartland Revolution is no more. After six events, this remarkable wine festival has called it a day. It seems sad, but it’s a wise and brave decision. Everything has its time, and just as there is a time for beginnings, there is a time for endings. It takes courage to end something: it’s [...]

Thistledown Thorny Devil Grenache 2014 Barossa, Australia

This wine is made by Giles Cooke and Fergal Tynan of Alliance Wine, in conjunction with Aussie winemaker Peter Leske. It’s a single vineyard, old vine Grenache from the Barossa, and it captures the more Pinot-like side of this variety, which I think is a good thing. Winemaking is small batch, with open fermenters, hand [...]

The remarkable Cortez 2014 from Testalonga

I’ve admired Craig Hawkins’ Testalonga wines for a while now. They are just so brave. And delicious. [See here, here and here for reviews.] This is his Chenin that’s made without skin contact. It’s fully beautiful, and has no additions at any point: it’s a truly natural wine. Just 10.5% alcohol, too!

Testalonga ‘Cortez’ [...]

A really nice Loire Pinot: Eric Louis Sancerre Rouge 2013

I’ve never really been all that interested in Sancerre Rouge before. But when you look at the terroirs, and then consider that it wasn’t all that long ago that this used to be a predominantly red wine appellation, you begin to think that there’s potential for some good Pinot Noir here. This is a lovely [...]

Why Social Wine & Tapas is one of my favourite places to eat

On the spur of the moment stopped in for a late Friday lunch at Social Wine & Tapas. This is such a good place to eat. The food is superb: creative, flavoursome and comforting. And the wine list is exceptional, especially if you are of the brave inclination, prepared to give wines with a bit [...]

Gamay 15, Domaine de Fa Beaujolais en Besset 2014 - from Graillot

A couple of years ago, northern Rhone producer Graillot bought a couple of parcels of vines in Saint Amour, Beaujolais. They made their first wines in 2014, including this wine. They then bought 3 hectares in Fleurie, and the first vintage from these vines is the 2015. It’s so interesting to see all this interest [...]

Video: an introduction to English sparkling wine

It’s an exciting time for English sparkling wine. I shot this short segment as an introduction for a blind tasting that was being held in Vancouver, including the first English fizz to be imported into Canada (Coates & Seely, through Lifford). But I thought I’d also share it here. It’s a quick 5 minute summary [...]

In the Veneto watching grapes dry

I’m in the Veneto, in northern Italy for a couple of days. First stop was Masi. They are specialists in Amarone, and we got to see the grapes – Corvina, Rondinella and Molinari, as well as rediscovered grape Oseleta – drying in bamboo racks. This is the process of appassimento.

Masi has 15 drying lofts, including [...]