2015, a year in pictures

January: a trip to the Ahr Valley, Germany. Pinot Noir country. Thanks Lars Daniels for being my travel companion.

February: Zell Am Zee, Austria, for some skiing. Managed one day of 3 (injured knee). Not my core competency, it must be said.

March: a visit to northwest Spain and Portugal, with Nick Oakley. Such interesting things happening [...]

Fedellos do Couto Bastarda, a lovely lighter red from Ribeira Sacra, Spain

This is a beautiful lighter red wine from the Ribeira Sacra region of Spain. It’s from the Merenzao variety, which is the local name for Bastardo (Portugal) and Trousseau (France). The Fedellos do Couto project (which translates as the ‘four brats of Couto) is a collaboration between Jesús Olivares, Carlos Bareño, Pablo Soldavini and Luis Taboada, [...]

Some post Rootstock thoughts on naturalness in wine

[This post was written immediately after the authentic/natural wine festival Rootstock that I attended a month ago. I've held off publishing it until now.]

The subject of natural wine is still controversial. Rootstock, which is pretty much a natural wine fair, has many friends, but also its critics, and I feel caught in the middle, slightly. [...]

Analogue in a digital world

Vinyl isn’t dead.

That is remarkable, on so many levels. Digital is better than analogue. So we are told. When CDs came along, the days of vinyl were fast running out.

Then, with the advent of digital music delivery and iTunes, surely analogue was finished. We’d entered the digital era.

I think there’s a parallel with digital and [...]

Christmas Grower Champagne: Legras Presidence 2007, Savart L'Ouverture and Selosse Initial

Three Christmas grower Champagnes. Quite lovely.

Champagne R&L Legras Présidence Vieilles Vignes Brut Grand Cru Chouilly 2007 France
Low dosage of 5 g/l, Blanc de Blancs. Very stylish, fresh, lemony and creamy with subtle toast. Very fine and linear with a bit of depth but also lovely purity and complexity. Fabulous stuff. 94/100 (Lea & Sandeman stock [...]

More Christmas wines: the English contribution

These were three English wines that took part in yesterday’s festivities. The first two were served blind.

Hambledon Vineyard Classic Cuvée NV Hampshire, England
Tasted blind I reckoned this was a fine Blanc de Blancs – either a grower Champagne or English! Very fine, bright and lemony with lovely acidity. Pure and refined with amazing clean, sharp [...]

Christmas Clarets: Lafite, Talbot and Gruaud

There’s something about Bordeaux. It’s fashionable to knock it (I even saw one of my colleagues boasting on social media about how he rarely drinks it), but there’s a reason Bordeaux is the world’s leading fine wine region. It’s because the top wines have history, age beautifully, are made in sufficient quantities that you can [...]

The smashable Juvé & Camps Pinot Noir Brut Rosé

I would love Cava to become more popular and for producers to make a good return on their hard work. But too few Cavas have the easy drinkability and purity that would make them more enjoyable. There are some highlights though, and  Juvé & Camps is one of them. This pink Cava is just lovely [...]

Champagne Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut NV

Perrier-Jouët is a medium-sized Champagne house with an annual production of around 3 million bottles a year, dating back to 1811. They have just under 180 hectares of their own vineyards, which is quite a high proportion. Bought by Mumm in the late 1950s, they are now part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio. I was [...]

Dow's 1960 Vintage Port

This was stunning. Dirk Niepoort brought it along to lunch the other day (for the sake of disclosure, the picture is of another bottle of this wine – an empty magnum – he had with him; the actual bottle was unlabelled – and thanks Sam Suddons for the pic). 1960 is thought of as a [...]