A lovely biodynamic Crémant du Jura from Champ Divin

Had this at lunch today, at The Slanted Door in San Francisco’s Ferry Terminal. It’s a lovely restaurant with modern vietnamese cuisine the theme, and a stunning wine list full of interesting bottles that really do a good job in matching the menu. It’s a sparkling wine from Champ Divin in the Jura, made from [...]

In the Napa Valley for the wine writers' symposium

I’m just on my way home after a week in California’s Napa Valley for the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. It was my first time at this event, which was held at the spectacular Meadowood resort near St Helena. [Aside: Meadowood is truly remarkable. Luxurious, discrete, tasteful and one of the best places I've stayed.]

Seven older red Burgundies

JF Mugnier Chambolle Musigny 2003 Burgundy, France
Ripe and sweet with bold, textured sweet cherry fruit backed up by spicy warmth. Rich and broad with nice silkiness and good structure. Burly yet still attractive. Atypical because of the hot vintage. 92/100

Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques 1998 Burgundy, France
Lively, fresh, juicy and bright with [...]

Our Fathers Barossa Shiraz 2014

Our Fathers is a small production Barossa Shiraz made by Giles Cooke MW of Alliance wine. The inspiration for this wine was that Giles wanted to give something back. In 2013 his father died, and the idea behind his label was to donate the profits to appropriate charitable causes. Then, in 2014 Giles’ mother died, [...]

Hold the front page: Taittinger's Comtes 2006 is pretty good

I know this is a bit boring to report, but the Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2006 is actually pretty good. Stunning really. The 2005 is currently drinking brilliantly (and 2005 was a difficult vintage in Champagne), but 2006 has everything there for it to be a classic. Now most of the top 2006s have [...]

On writing about wine

It’s generally a good rule for wine writers never to write about writing about wine. It’s something we find interesting (after all, it’s our career), but which is terribly boring and in-house for most readers, who really don’t care about the people and details that mean so much to us.

But, occasionally, I break this rule. [...]

Wine Country Causal, it's a thing

I’m off to California today. To Napa, for the Wine Writers’ Symposium, which is held at the rather grand Meadowood resort. There’s a dress code which I haven’t come across before: wine country casual (WCC). On the website, the organizers spell out what this entails:

Casual attire is appropriate during the Symposium, however, we would request [...]

Cantina Giardino Fino 'Gaia' 2010 Campania, Italy

I love this wine. I was rummaging around various piles of bottles trying to find something to drink, and I came across this. It was a total surprise: vital, complex, beguiling and multidimensional.

It’s the ‘Gaia’ Fiano from Cantina Giardino. This winery started in 1997 as a joint venture shared among six friends, who wanted to [...]

Bibi Graetz Testamatta: superb Tuscan Sangiovese

Bibi Gratetz is an arts graduate (he does his own label art) with Norweigan/Israeli parentage. His family owned Castello di Vincigliata in Tuscany, in Fiesole, just north of Florence, and it’s with the 2 hectares of vines on this property that he first stated making wines, back in 2000.

He then began searching out old parcels [...]

Older New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: can it age? Should we cellar it?

While I was in New Zealand I got to try quite a few older New Zealand Sauvignons. Of course, most punters want the latest vintage of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and this is really the main point of the style: bright with lovely aromatic interest and a fresh, zippy palate. That’s what made it successful. Young [...]