Two lovely fizzy Italian reds

Fizzy red wines. Not mainstream, I know, but I quite liked these two examples from Italy. They’re being sold by a retailer new to the UK, Tannico.

Paltrinieri Lambrusco di Sorbara Frizzante Secco 2015 DOC Radice, Italy
£14.90 Tannico.co.uk
11% alcohol
This is a family run winery located in the heart of Sorbara, Modena. They’ve been making this Lambrusco [...]

On pens and writing

I have decided to resurrect my ink pens, which have been a bit neglected of late. Instead, I’ve taken the easy option and used Uni-ball Eye Fine pens, which are pretty good and very easy to write with, but they aren’t ink pens.

There’s something special about writing long hand. It’s massively inefficient. You’d think it [...]

Wines of the year (1) Instagram favourites

How do you decide which your favourite wines were from the year past? Difficult.

One way is to let others decide. I have quite a few instagram followers, and it’s interesting to see which wines that I post are the most popular.

There are lots of confounders here. If I post a nice picture that looks good [...]

Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2013

I was really impressed by this pink fizz from Hush Heath. It’s really elegant.

Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut 2013 Kent, England
2013 was a late harvest here: Pinot began on 22 October, and Chardonnay came in on 7 November. The result is a wine with a very pale salmon pink in colour, and showing beautiful balance. [...]

Oh, the places you'll go! 2016 in review

January: the year began in New Zealand, for a South Island Road trip, followed by the Sauvignon Blanc celebration. We started off in Central Otago, where it was unseasonably cold. Rippon is pictured above.

North Canterbury provided some highlights. including Pyramid Valley (above) and Bell Hill (below).

February saw the Professional Wine Writers’ Symposium in Napa, California. [...]

Interesting Argentine wines: Bonarda and Cabernet Franc

This was a chance to taste some interesting examples of Bonarda and Cabernet Franc from Argentina, with winemakers Sebastian Zuccardi, Matias Riccitelli and Edgardo de Popolo.

Most Bonarda comes from the east of Mendoza, which is warm and at lower altitude, and it has traditionally been used for volume wines. ‘But if you get low yields [...]

The ill-health of wine writing

It’s not been a great year for wine writing. Several fellow writers have lost their newspaper columns and regular gigs. It has been particularly tough for those who rely solely on writing for their living; for many like me who have had quite a good year, it has been the lecturing, judging, consulting, presenting and [...]

Pedogenic lime in arid vineyard soils - how does it affect the flavour of wine?

When it comes to vineyard soils, limestone is all the rage. But there’s one source of limestone in vineyard soils that isn’t much talked about. It’s the slow formation of limestone in arid vineyard soils, known as pedogenic (‘soil-created’) lime (and alternatively caliche and calcrete). I first encountered it in Central Otago, and then bumped [...]

A quick trip to Argentina, with Doña Paula

So we flew. From Santiago, over the Andes, to Mendoza. The two cities are quite close geographically, but very different.

Mendoza, in the far east of Argentina, is mostly desert. It’s a high desert plain, but where there’s water, there are oases (just 3% of the surface area of the province has enough water for agriculture). [...]

Tasting some interesting white wines from Argentina

This was a great chance to taste some diverse white wines from Argentina with three interesting Argentine wine people. There’s Edgardo del Popolo, who works for Susana Balbo and his own project called Per Se; Sebastian Zuccardi who’s doing his own wine projects as well as working with the family winery; and Matías Riccitelli, who [...]