Gold Medal Plate wines: 17 wines from BC, Canada

This afternoon I was a judge in the Victoria version of Gold Medal Plates here on Vancouver Island. We tasted the following wines, and these are my personal notes.

Pipe Dreams Gruner Veltliner 2014 Okanagan Valley, Canada
From Oliver. Dense and quite oily with powerful pear and quince fruit. Intensely flavoured with some pithy bitterness on the [...]

Lunch with Dirk Niepoort at Trinity, Clapham

Last week we had a wonderful lunch at Trinity Restaurant in Clapham Old Town, with Dirk Niepoort and his wines. Trinity is a great place, and Adam Byatt had prepared a lovely informal sharing menu based on pyrenees kid goat cooked on charcoal. This is the sort of food I love. There was roast goat [...]

Three prestige Champagnes: Krug, Dom P and Comtes

Tried these three yesterday. They are all really good, and all quite different. The Comtes was the star; the Dom P accessible yet serious; the Krug still tight and youthful, but with latent richness and depth. We drank them, too.

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2006 France
12.5% alcohol. Tight, fresh, complex and detailed with subtle toast, white [...]

Jean-Paul and Benoît Droin Chablis 2015

I was given this blind to taste. Immediately I opted for very serious Chardonnay, and Chablis in quick succession. I wrote my note and scored it. Then I was stunned to find out that this wasn’t a grand cru or premier cru, but just a regular Chablis. It’s quite brilliant.

Jean-Paul and Benoît Droin Chablis 2015 [...]

The importance of stories, good and bad

One of the most popular programmes on BBC Radio 4 is Desert Island Discs, which is presented by Kirsty Young. It has been running forever (since 1942), and the idea behind it is that a notable person undergoes a biographical interview punctuated by eight pieces of music that they’d choose to take with them if [...]

Vinhão: red Vinho Verde

I love red Vinho Verde. It’s just so distinctive and different. Usually (but not always) it’s made from a single variety, Vinhão. This has a thick skin, and the result is inky dark, vivid wines. It’s also widely grown in the Douro, where it goes under the name Sousão.

Some people think of it as a [...]

Impressive sparkling wines from Blue Mountain, Okanagan, Canada

Just tried these impressive sparkling wines from Blue Mountain (who I visited a couple of years ago) in Canada’s Okanagan Valley. They are really good, and compared with their peers they represent amazing value for money.

Blue Mountain Brut NV Okanagan Valley, Canada
Pinot Noir (56%) and Chardonnay (39%) with a bit of Pinot Gris (5%) from [...]

Debate: what should British Columbia's identity be as a wine region?

One of the sessions at the Cornucopia Wine Summit was a good old fashioned debate about the future of BC (British Columbia, Canada) wine.

What should BC’s identity be as a wine region?
What does BC want to be when it grows up? A region known for high quality, focused on a few flagship varietals and blends [...]

Gamay focus 24, Samantha Gamay 2014 Okanagan, Canada

Continuing with the series on Gamay, I’m sticking with the Okanagan Valley in Canada. I’m in Whistler, now, and this wine is from Samantha Rahn, who’s the wine director at Araxi restaurant here. She made this wine at Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP), in collaboration with winemaker Matt Dumayne. A substantial portion of the wine was [...]

In Whistler, Canada

There’s something special about mountains. I’m in Whistler, Canada, for the Cornucopia food and wine festival, and it’s great to be here.

Whistler is North America’s largest ski resort. It’s odd being in a ski resort just before the first real snows of the season. It’s as if it’s still snoozing, waiting to wake when its [...]