In the Douro: Quinta do Vale D. Maria

Cristiano Van Zeller

We arrived at Vale Dona Maria late afternoon in a torrential downpour. A rather sodden Cristiano Van Zeller walked over to us and greeted us warmly. It was nice to be back: this is the third time I’ve visited in four years. It’s a beautiful spot, and Cristiano purchased it from his [...]

Answering questions about achieving online success

Wineanorak as it looked back in 2000

I was recently asked some questions (quite good ones) by someone researching a book. It took a while to answer, so I thought I’d share the responses here.

1) Tell me about your life before your wine blog. What was going on in your personal and professional life that [...]

In the Douro: Vale Meão

Vale Meão is an important property in the Douro Superior. It traces its history as a Quinta back to the end of the late 19th century, when Dona Antónia Ferreira was the first to plant vineyards in this part of the Douro. It was a difficult time for the regional council, and to raise funds, [...]

In the Douro: at Vallado's Casa do Rio

I’m in the Douro. It’s 0720 and from where I’m sitting I have a view of the Douro river, looking out from my room at Quinta do Vallado’s new luxury hotel Casa do Rio. And it’s pouring with rain. Normally, rain at harvest time would be a disaster, but it has been really dry here, [...]

Video: interviewing Adi Badenhorst about his new wines

I caught up with Adi Badenhorst at Intrepid last week. He’s got some new wines out. Two in particular really appealed to me: a flor-aged Sauvignon Blanc called John Strikes Again from Under a Veil of Good Fortune, and a stunning Chenin Blanc called Dassiekop Steen.

Here’s the interview:

And notes on the wines:

Badenhorst John Strikes Again [...]

Domaine des Roches Neuves Clos Romans Saumur 2012

I love this wine so much. I had it with Doug Wregg at Terroirs. It’s Chenin Blanc at its best.

Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves Clos Romans Saumur 2012 Loire, France
Chenin Blanc on tufa (limestone). Very spicy, smoky and linear with a hint of hay and bright lemony acidity. Such precision here with amazing linear acidity. [...]

Duncan Savage, Savage Wines: video interview and notes on the latest releases

Duncan Savage was until recently the winemaker at Cape Point. He made a great reputation there, coaxing profound, mineral, saline white wines with proper ageing potential from these interesting, exposed terroirs. A few years back he began his own project, Savage Wines, in tandem with his day job. Earlier this year, he decided to strike [...]

Sipp Mack Riesling Tradition 2009 Alsace

A real-time tasting note on this wine, which is in my glass now. It’s an older Alsace Riesling. From a very warm vintage, this is a dry-styled Riesling from Sipp-Mack. Sealed with a screw cap, this is fresher and brighter than I was expecting. It’s a really nice wine.

Sipp-Mack Riesling Tradition 2009 Alsace, France
13% alcohol. [...]

Two Pinot Noirs from Folding Hill, Central Otago, NZ

I visited Folding Hill, in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago, back in January 2014. It’s the project of two medical folk, emergency doctor Tim Kerruish and  his wife Nikki, a bio ethicist. The wines are really good. Here’s my review of a couple of recent releases.

Folding Hill Pinot Noir 2014 Bendigo, Central Otago, New [...]

Grower Champagne: A. Lavasseur from the Marne

Tried these lovely, distinctive Champagnes yesterday at the Red Squirrel (UK importer) tasting. They are from a small grower from Cuchery in the Marne, Champagne A. Levasseur, which since 2003 has been run by David Levasseur (pictured above). This is Pinot Meunier country, and his main cuvée is largely based on Meunier.

Since David took over he’s grown [...]