The remarkable Marqués de Riscal City of Wine

Yesterday I visited one of the world’s most remarkable winery buildings. I had dinner at the Marqués de Riscal ‘City of Wine’. I’d heard about Riscal’s bold architecture, but it’s only when you get close and see the construction face to face that you realise how stunning it is. It pops out of the sleepy-looking [...]

At Contino, Rioja, with winemaker Jesús Madrazo

Contino is an estate-based winery, which is unusual in Rioja. It’s based on a 62 hectare vineyard that is at the beginning of Rioja Alavesa, not far from Logroño. The vineyard is in a 100 hectare meander of the River Ebro, facing south, at 400 m altitude.

Jesús Madrazo, Contino

We visited with winemaker Jesús Madrazo, [...]

In the Okanagan, BC, Canada: Le Vieux Pin, La Stella, Black Hills and Tinhorn Creek

Severine Pinte is the winemaker behind two high-end Okanagan properties: Le Vieux Pin and La Stella. The former is a Rhône specialist and is currently making some of Canada’s top Syrahs.

Severine Pinte

These are superb wines with real definition, and count among the country’s very best. They are quite northern Rhône in style, but they [...]

In the Okanagan, BC, Canada: Meyer Family Vineyards, Culmina and CheckMate

Jak Meyer and Chris Carson

Jak and Janice Meyer bought a small vineyard in the Naramata Bench back in 2006. Originally, this was just a hobby vineyard, but in 2008 when Jak started selling the grapes he realized that selling 600 cases was quite a bit of work and that he’d never make money doing [...]

Unintended and unexpected consequences

I was at a dinner last night when I heard the news.

I really wasn’t expecting the British people to vote to leave the European Union. I was shocked.

So, now: we will begin to see the unintended and unexpected consequences of leaving, which will be a difficult and perilous process.

With every big change there are unintended [...]

In the Okanagan, BC, Canada: Summerhill Pyramid, Liquidity and Painted Rock

Summerhill Pyramid Winery is one of the Okanagan’s most distinctive. We visited with Ezra Cipes, CEO and son of the founder Stephen Cipes. Stephen brought his family here back in 1986 from New York, and began Summerhill Pyramid winery in collaboration with winemaker Eric von Krosigk.

Eric and Ezra

Back in the late 1980s, when the [...]

In the Okanagan, BC, Canada: Mission Hill, Cedar Creek, Gray Monk and Tantalus

The second day of this trip was spent immersed in the beauty of the northern and central Okanagan. As a wine region, the Okanagan is simply too diverse to make all that much sense of. The lake is very long, and climate shifts quite a bit from the cooler north to the pretty warm south. [...]

In the Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada, day 1: Quails' Gate

It’s never much fun when you have a tight connecting flight and then get delayed. Yesterday I arrived in Vancouver after a nice flight (6000 words written, a sleep and a Woody Allen movie), only for technical problems to keep us at the gate for 50 minutes before getting off. It’s a horrible feeling as [...]

Dinner with Dirk: Chave 1988, De Vogüé Bonnes Mares 1969 and Taylors Vargellas 1976

Dirk Niepoort is one of my favourite people on the planet. Last night we dined at Noble Rot, and shared some very special bottles.

Chave Hermitage 1988 Northern Rhöne, France
This bottle was pretty much perfect. In beautiful condition and still a deep, primary colour. Lovely detailed black cherries, spice, tar, pepper and meat notes, as well [...]

In Beaujolais: Château du Moulin-à-Vent, Dominique Piron and Thillardon

The famous windmill of Moulin-à-Vent sits at the heart of this 620 hectare Cru in Beaujolais, in the village of Romanèche Thorins. And just below it is the impressive Château du Moulin-à-Vent, which has been renovated extensively since it was acquired by Jean-Jacques Parinet in 2009. Parinet originally came from Beaujolais but then made his [...]