Folium: interesting dry-grown wines from New Zealand's Marlborough region

Takaki Okada came to New Zealand’s Marlborough region in 2003, and began working with Clos Henri. In 2010, he bought an 8.5 hectare vineyard that had been established by Fromm in the Brancott Valley. He began making his own wines.

Marlborough is quite dry (growing season averages around 340 ml of rain, with 640 ml the [...]

Sylvain Pataille, master of Marsannay

Over the last 15 years Sylvain Pataille has built up his domaine from scratch. He first made wine in 1999, while he was still employed in an enology laboratory in Beaune, but he released his debut vintage in 2001. His domaine is now 15 hectares, all located within Marsannay, which is at the top of [...]

A Chenin Blanc seminar at Texsom

Patrick Cappiello and Pascaline Lepeltier presented this Chenin tasting at Texsom.

‘I deeply believe that Chenin is the best white grape in the world,’ says Pascaline, a very highly regarded sommelier. She’s been working in New York for the last eight years, but she grew up in the Loire, and is a keen evangelist for Loire [...]

Grower Champagne Focus: Selosse Initial

I really liked this Champagne. Selosse’s Initial. Thrilling.

Champagne Jacques Selosse Initial Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV France
This is the March 2013 disgorgement. It’s a thrillingly rich and complex Champagne with lovely toast, ripe apple and bright lemon fruit. Lovely complex spiciness here with concentration and depth and attractive grapefruit, pear and melon notes. Crystalline. [...]

The history of coffee: a seminar with Ian Picco

Coffee is interesting and I don’t know all that much about it. So it was really interesting to attend a seminar on the history of coffee at Texsom, presented by Ian Picco.

The Arabica coffee shrub, an evergreen, originates from the western islands of Ethiopia, and the first written account of coffee drinking dates back to [...]

In Texas, for Texsom

I’m in Texas. First time for me. I’m here for Texsom, which is a really important conference in the north American wine scene. I’m here to conduct a 3 hour tasting of aged South African wines, which will be taking place in just over an hour’s time. I’ve been up since 4 am working on [...]

Rootstock (Sydney), a natural wine fair, focuses more on the vineyard in 2016

Late last year I had a lovely time attending Rootsock Sydney. It’s a lovely not-for-profit wine fair focusing on natural wines. One of the very best.

I really enjoyed it, but I was a bit worried by the obsession with winemaking processes in defining ‘natural’, and in particular with the fixation on sulfur dioxide levels. In [...]

Dinner with Dan at Noble Rot: Raveneau, Lynch Bages and Dervieux Thaize

Had a lovely dinner with Dan Keeling at Noble Rot last night. The food was as good as ever, and the wines were just thrilling. I’ve rarely drunk as well, or as much.

Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre 1992 Burgundy, France
This is such a beautiful wine, although it faded a bit over the course [...]

Wolf Blass Black Label Vertical, 1974-2012

Chris Hatcher, Wolf Blass winemaker

This is the 50th year of Wolf Blass as a wine company, and it’s also the 40th vintage of the Wolf Blass Black Label. So winemaker Chris Hatcher was in town to present a vertical of this wine back to 1974.

Wolf made his first wine in 1967, when he produced [...]

Mother Rock and Force Majeure: brilliant wines from Stompie Meyer

Johan Meyer

Johan ‘Stompie’ Meyer is one of the most highly regarded of South Africa’s new wave winegrowers. He makes the wines for Mount Abora (as a consultant), and has his own project, JH Meyer Wines. And this is a new venture for him: Mother Rock/Force Majeure, a joint venture with his UK agent Indigo [...]