On power and charging

Over the last decade there has been a massive societal change.

Back in 2006, most of us didn’t have smartphones (the first iPhone was released in June 2007). We had mobile phones that we used to make calls on. The batteries used to last for ages. A couple of days? Three?

Now we live our lives on [...]

A tasting of organic wines from the Rheinhessen, Germany

The Rheinhessen is Germany’s largest wine region. With more than 26 000 hectares under vine, it’s responsible for more than a quarter of the country’s vineyard area, although the Pfalz actually makes more wine.

It’s bordered by the Rhine to the north and west as it loops through 90 degrees. To the east there’s the Nahe [...]

In Germany, pursuing organic wine, day 1

I’m in Germany. On a press trip focusing on organic German wines. As of 2013, the most recent figures I have, Germany has 7800 hectares of certified organically farmed vineyards, which represents 7.6% of its total vineyard area (figures from Helga Willer’s 2015 report titled Organic Viticulture Worldwide). And the trend has pretty closely tracked [...]

Grower Champagne Focus: Léclapart, Charlot-Tanneux, Emmanuel Brochet, Chevreaux-Bournazel

I had these lovely grower Champagnes in a wine bar in Reims (the excellent Au Bon Manger, 7 Rue Courmeaux). Anyone who thinks of Champagne merely in terms of the Grand Marques needs to think again. Anyone who doesn’t think Champagne is a terroir wine needs to think again. I need to go back, soon.

Champagne [...]

The Bee-Side Grenache from Domaine of the Bee

Justin Howard-Sneyd’s Domaine of the Bee is based on three small plots of old bush vines in Cathar country, deep in the south of France near the village of Maury. Normally, the wines are made in a rich, bold, opulent style, but with this new release, a Grenache, they’ve opted to aim for a more [...]

In the Alentejo, Portugal, for just a day

I’m just on the way home from Lisbon. I’ve spent today consulting for a major Alentejo winery that changed hands a while back. The new owner is smart enough to seek outside opinions before making changes, and through his new winemaker made an approach to me.

So I visited, looked around the vineyards, had a look [...]

Wines with Winerackd: Meinklang Konkret and Thörle Hölle

Popped over to spend a very pleasant evening with Daniel Primack, who among other things established Zalto in the UK, to the eternal debt of serious wine lovers across the nation. We had a few lovely wines, including this pair. The Meinklang is a beautiful wine: not perfect, but with immense charm and an astonishing [...]

Domaine Clavel Le Mas: excellent value from the Languedoc

Not to be confused with the Côtes du Rhône domaine of the same name, Domaine Clavel has vineyards in four different Languedoc terroirs: Pic St Loup, Grès de Montpellier, La Méjanelle and Saint Christol, with 33 hectares in all. The farming is organic.

This, their entry level red, is really smart. It’s from Grès de Montpellier, [...]

Holus Bolus Blanc Roussanne 2014 Santa Maria Valley, California

This is a lovely Roussanne from California’s Santa Maria Valley.

It’s made by Peter Hunken and Amy Christine, the duo behind Black Sheep Finds, based in Lompoc’s famous wine ghetto. Peter was previously with Stolpman Vineyards, working with winemaker Sashi Moorman. Along with Sashi, he started Piedrasassi and Holus Bolus, in 2003. In 2008 Sashi and [...]

On running and wine

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with my twin sister, Anne. I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but the conversation came on to the subject of being healthy at our advanced age.

‘Well, at least I’m not fat,’ I said.

There was a pause. Quite a long pause. This wasn’t good.

‘But you [...]