In Nova Scotia, Canada, visiting the remarkable Benjamin Bridge sparkling winery

It was my first time in Nova Scotia. This is on the Atlantic coast of  Canada, and it’s the youngest of Canada’s cool climate wine regions. I was here to visit Benjamin Bridge, the sparkling wine producer that’s making waves, and has the reputation of being Canada’s finest sparkling winery.

I was travelling with three sommeliers [...]

Notes on the 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction wines

Each year, one of the most anticipated events in the South African calendar is the Cape Winemakers Guild annual auction. Ad it’s coming up next weekend. Special lots of wines made by the Guild’s members are sold off, badged with the famous CWG auction label. These represent some of the Cape’s finest wines, and they [...]

In the Douro: Niepoort

Niepoort’s Quinta do Nápoles

Next stop on the Douro trip: Niepoort.

It was a real pleasure to spend a few days at Quinta do Nápoles with one of my favourite people in the world of wine, Dirk Niepoort. Dirk picks early, so when we visited harvest, this year a little later in the Douro, was well [...]

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2015 Nelson, New Zealand

I have a thing for Kiwi Chardonnay. Its day will come. It doesn’t currently get the respect it deserves, but with wines like these from Neudorf, and the stunning wines of Kumeu River and others, things will change.

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2015 Nelson, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Complex, intense lemon and grapefruit with some rich pear notes, [...]

Interesting wines from Bosman Family Vineyards with Corlea Fourie

Corlea Fourie is the winemaker behind Bosman Family Vineyards, based in the Wellington region of South Africa. I caught up with her to taste some interesting new releases, including the fabulous Optenhorst Chenin Blanc, made from vines planted in 1952.

Bosman Fides 2013 Wellington, South Africa
This is a skin-fermented Grenache Blanc. This particular vintage had 8 [...]

Domaine des Ormes Saumur 2014: an amazing value Loire red

Occasionally I taste a wine with no idea of where it’s sourced from or how much it costs. This is one of those wines, and when I found out it was an inexpensive supermarket wine, I was stunned. So I tasted it again, from a bottle that had been open two days, and it was [...]

We have the wrong map: how false directions impede our search for happiness

A while ago I posted on happiness, and in the short essay I mentioned that one reason people might be unhappy is that they have false beliefs about how happiness might be attained.

I am walking along a London street. I am approached by a tourist. She speaks good English, but they are clearly lost. I’m [...]

In the Douro: Vallado

Francisco Ferreira

After visiting Vallado’s property in the Douro Superior earlier in the week, it was time to visit the original Quinta, which is on the border of the Baixo and Cima Corgo subregions. Vallado has some lovely old vineyards, and we tasted the whites at the top of the hill with Francisco Ferreira, winemaker [...]

Foot-treading grapes at Quinta de Vargellas, Douro

One of the remarkable things about Port wine is foot treading grapes. For top quality Port, it’s necessary to extract as much as possible from the skins as fast as possible, but also as gently as possible. The best way to do this is in shallow fermentation vessels called lagares, which are usually made of [...]

In the Douro: Quinta do Crasto

Quinta do Crasto is one of the most beautiful properties in the Douro, perched on a steeply sloped promontory sticking out from the right bank of the Douro, in the heart of the Cima Corgo.

We parked our rental car in Pinhão and caught the train to Ferrão. It’s a 7 minute ride along the bank [...]