The judgement of... How useful are comparative blind tastings?

It’s 40 years since Steven Spurrier’s famous Judgement of Paris (also a story in Greek Mythology). This was the tasting that is credited with opening the way for New World wines to stand as peers alongside the old world classics. Since then, this sort of format has been repeated in countries eager to show that […]

Underwood: Oregon wine in a can

Underwood wines come in 375 ml cans. It’s striking packaging. I was curious, so I bought a pair to try, for $5.99 each from World Foods in Portland, Oregon. They are made by Union Wine Company. They have the admirable goal of demystifying wine and making affordable, decent wine available so everyone can enjoy it, […]

Riesling Rendezvous: why analytical data don't tell us much about the taste of Riesling

I’m at the Riesling Rendezvous conference in Seattle, Washington State. Held every three years, it’s an in-depth dive into this most distinctive of white wine grapes. It began on Sunday evening with a grand tasting outdoors at Chateau Ste Michelle in Woodinville, and yesterday and today we’re in Seattle for tastings and seminars.

One topic that […]

Three days in Portland, Oregon


Powell’s, Portland’s world famous bookshop

Portland is one of the USA’s most vibrant cities. It’s known for its food and drink scene, and for being a hub for artistic, creative and alternative types. And I’ve only ever spent a few hours there. So on this trip, I decided to take some time to look around, […]

In Oregon: Beckham Estate Vineyard

Andrew and Annedria Beckham (pictured above) are making some of Oregon’s most compelling wines, and they have a great story, too.

We visited their property in Parrett Mountain (in the Chehalem Mountains AVA) on a gorgeous afternoon. They have 6.5 acres of Pinot Noir, plus an acre of Riesling, which they farm organically. They are planning […]

In Oregon: heading to the coast and Cannon Beach

In a gap between visiting wineries in the Willamette Valley, I had the chance to visit the Oregon coast for the first time.

We stayed at Cannon Beach. It has a spectacular beach, with a distinctive feature – Haystack Rock. This looms up some 230 feet from the beach and is home to seabird colonies, including […]

The 2014s from Evening Land: Oregon's new pacesetter

Yesterday I got to taste the as yet unreleased 2014s from Evening Land Vineyards. This is the first step in a new phase of the project, which is based on the Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon. Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman (Domaine de la Côte and Sandhi from the Santa Rita […]

Extended tasting note: Brooks Ara Riesling 2008 and Brooks Janus 2008, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Sometimes, short tasting notes don’t really tell you all that much about a wine. So, in the past, I’ve tried to write the occasional extended tasting note, bringing in the context of the drinking experience and dwelling a little longer on the wine. I tried this sitting outside in the late evening yesterday, here at […]

In Oregon: Goodfellow Family Cellars

Marcus Goodfellow and Gaironn Poole

I visited Matello/Goodfellow Family Cellars last a couple of years ago (see report here), and it was great to go back on this trip to catch up with Marcus Goodfellow and Gaironn Poole. What’s changed? A few things. First, they have a kid, Fletcher, who entertained us as we tasted […]

Walking through the historic Eyrie Vineyard, Dundee Hills, Oregon

For the last few days I’ve been in Oregon, staying in a house with a view of one of the great historic Pinot Noir vineyards of the world. It’s the original vineyard of The Eyrie Vineyards, and this is an important vineyard for north American Pinot Noir.

Back in 1965, the pioneering David Lett moved to […]