Visiting Château Marquis d'Alesme, Margaux, for the opening of a grand winery

Last night I was one of a group who visited Château Marquis d’Alesme on the occasion of the opening of their new winery in Margaux.

The winery

The estate, which has 15 hectares of vines, was bought by Hubert Perrodo in 2006. Perrodo, a French national, built up a successful petrochemical company (Perenco), of which he […]

Gamay focus 20, Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2014 'N'

This is one of the most famous of all Beaujolais. It’s from the estate of the late Marcel Lapierre, now run by his son Matthieu, who has now been involved for over 10 years, and his daughter Camille. Lapierre  have 13 hectares in Villie-Morgon, farmed organically. They were pioneers of natural Beaujolais, and the only […]

Top eating out in SF: State Bird Provisions, Aatxe, Prospect and The Slanted Door

State Bird Provisions

I’ve been a couple of times to San Francisco in the past few weeks and eaten out well. Here are four favourites.

State Bird Provisions is just brilliant. If you eat out a lot, it’s hard to find anything very novel or innovative, but State Bird surprised me. We sat at the best […]

Extended tasting note: Domaine Lucci Spring Red 2015, natural goodness from Anton

I haven’t done an extended tasting note for a while. These are notes that attempt to look a little deeper at a wine, putting the drinking experience in context. This was a wine that I thought deserved such a note.

Domaine Lucci Spring Red 2015 Adelaide Hills, Australia

This is an unusual wine. It’s made by Anton […]

Why private label/own brand is bad for wine

There are few absolutes in the world of wine. The words ‘sometimes’, or ‘often’, or ‘may be’ usually need to be appended to statements such as the title of this post. With that said, onto the thorny subject of own or private label wines.

Private label is on the rise. Increasingly, supermarkets are filling their shelves […]

Latest Douro wines from Dirk Niepoort, and his brilliant Mosel collaboration with Kettern

At ProWein I caught up with Dirk Niepoort, and took a look at his Douro wines, and also a new project from the Mosel that he’s involved with: a collaboration with Phillip Kettern (from Weingut Lothar Kettern) It’s always great to taste with Dirk.

Both of the Niepoort white Redomas are made the same way, but the […]

Some reflections on ProWein 2016: bubbly Brits, grower Champagne, Canada, Provence and Grenache

ProWein is a massive wine and spirits fair, held each year in Dusseldorf, Germany. It’s enormous. 6200 exhibitors, and 55 000 trade visitors. I’ve just returned, and these are some of my impressions. But it’s impossible for any one person to be able to give anything more than a personal perspective gained by merely scratching […]

California, day 5, in Napa

The final full day of our California trip was a little less frantic than the rest of the itinerary, with just one lunch visit and one dinner visit. This left some time for important things like catching up on emails, sleep, and beer at Ana’s Cantina in St Helena (somewhere I’d spent quite a bit […]

Grower Champagne focus: Gimonnet Cuvée Fleuron 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs 2006

Had this at lunch on Thursday at the excellent Prospect restaurant in San Francisco, where sommelier Josh Thomas has put together a stunning and well priced list of fizz. I’m a big fan of the Gimonnet Cuis 1er Cru, but this is a real step up. Concentrated and lovely.

Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Cuvée Fleuron 1er Cru […]

A new laptop

When you write for a living, the tools you use matter. But ever since I’ve been a freelancer, I’ve skimped a bit on laptops. In part, this is because I have been a desktop guy, and so the laptop has just been for use on the road. So I’ve bought cheap netbooks, and the odd […]