A life of wandering in a world of place

I have committed myself to a pretty brutal travel schedule this year, at least until the end of July. Since the end of January I’ve been in New Zealand, California and Portugal, and travel to California again tomorrow. Then it’s Prowein, then Bordeaux, South Africa, a gap for the International Wine Challenge, then Champagne, then [...]

Visiting Aphros, Vinho Verde

Vasco Croft

At dinner last night, Vasco Croft, owner of Aphros, a biodynamic Vinho Verde producer, decided to invite a group to lunch. So Joao Roseira asked me this morning: how nervous are you with planes? My flight was at 1740, and there might just be time to drive there, have lunch, drive back, and [...]

In Porto for Simplesmente Vinho 2016

I’m in the lovely city of Porto, northern Portugal, for Simplesmente Vinho 2016. Held over this weekend at the Convento Monchique, an impressive run down Manueline building that is in the first stages of being restored, it’s a two-day festival of small, authentic wines combined with food, art and music.

60 producers are attending this [...]

A remarkable lunch at Kricket, Brixton

Bhel puri: raw mango, tamarind, yoghurt

Today I lunched with Dan Keeling at Kricket, a small Indian small plates restaurant in Pop Brixton. It’s a tiny restaurant – full every evening – but this was a gastronomic highlight of recent months. This was some of the best Indian food I have ever eaten. It was [...]

At Noble Rot with the IPOB crowd, drinking Raveneau and Chave

Jamie Kutch

On Tuesday evening I was back to Noble Rot, for dinner with the In Pursuit of Balance crowd: Raj Parr, Jamie Kutch, Jasmine Hirsch, Steve Matthiason, Mark Andrew and Totte Steneby. We ate and drank really well, beginning with the excellent Hambledon sparkler (one of England’s finest), and progressing from there.

Steve and [...]

The role of wine critics

Yesterday I began a series of write-ups from the Wine Writers’ Symposium, starting with Jay McInerney’s keynote. This was followed by a panel session with Eric Asmiov, Virginie Boone and Ray Isle, looking at the role of wine critics. Wine critics often like to claim objectivity in their assessments; that they can step aside from [...]

Jay McInerney on wine writing

‘This has become a special part of my life,’ says novelist Jay McInerney, referring to wine writing, his parallel career. McInerney’s keynote kicked off the 2016 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in an entertaining fashion. As you might expect of a novelist, he’s good with words.

Jay first got into wine when he had a job [...]

Craven Syrah Faure Vineyard 2014 Stellenbosch, South Africa

This is interesting. It’s from Craven Wines, which is a new project from Mick and Jeanine Craven that focuses on single vineyard wines from special sites in Stellenbosch. The approach is to pick early enough so that there’s proper terroir expression, and work with native ferments and older oak to encourage the site to shine [...]

Twitter's powerful metrics - how can I use them?

Very interesting to see the sort of data you can now get from Twitter on the way people interact with your posts. These ‘analytics’ or metrics are very detailed. But how can I use them, other than to convince people who might want to hire me or pay for me to travel to nice places [...]

A beautiful South African white: Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2013

This is a brilliant oak aged Sauvignon/Semillon from Duncan Savage at Cape Point. The blend in 2013 is 82% Sauvignon, 18% Semillon and the grapes were all hand-harvested, whole bunch pressed and then the juice settled for 8 hours. Fermentation was with a mix of cultured and wild yeasts, 95% in barrel (half new) and [...]