A wine from Bolivia! Campos de Solano Tannat Malbec

Normally, Bolivia would be far to warm to make quality wines. But altitude changes things. This wine comes from the Tarija Valley in Bolivia, where the vineyards are at 1850 metres (6000 feet). Indeed, the region is practically on the Argentine border, not a long way from the high-altitude Salta wine region. This elevation makes [...]

Winemaking ideologies, my contribution to the Texsom debate

Yesterday at Texsom I took part in a discussion on winemaking ideologies, with a very good panel. Each of us was asked to prepare something to say, so I wrote something. When it actually came to it, I didn’t cover all this ground, but I thought I’d share it, anyway.

Market segmentation is important here. For [...]

Texsom: Germany's finest - VDP Grosses Gewächs

This TexSom tasting focused on Grosses Gewächs: these are wines produced from top vineyard sites in Germany by members of a high-end producers club called the VDP, which began life in 1910. As with all things to do with German wine, things are complicated, and explaining the details of how the VDP’s vineyard classification isn’t [...]

Texsom: exploring the wines of Mexico

Serafin Alvarado and Wayne Belding presented this seminar on Mexican wines, a subject I’ve virtually no experience of.

Mexico isn’t an obvious place to grow high quality wine grapes: it’s a warm country at a latitude of 30 degrees north. There’s very little wine grown at these latitudes in the northern hemisphere, but the key thing [...]

Texsom: S&M wines seminar

Not all wines are easy. There’s a stream of thought in the wine world that the wine industry should do better at giving ‘consumers’ what they want. We change wines to suit peoples’ tastes and preferences. If people find sweetness in red wines delicious, then let’s give them red wines sweetened up with a bit [...]

Texsom: some Oregon whites

Today’s team lunch at Texsom featured Oregon wines. But no reds! This was a chance to look at some of Oregon’s whites, and also to branch out beyond the Willamette Valley a little. The wines were presented by Bree Boskov, and these are my notes.

Big Table Farm Chardonnay 2015 Willamette Valley, Oregon
There’s a lovely intensity [...]

Loire adventure: Nicolas and Virginie Joly, Coulée de Serrant, Savennières

La Coulée de Serrant (Chateau de la Roche aux Moines) is a domaine with a narrow focus. It’s just whites. Just Chenin Blanc. Just dry wines. But it is this narrow focus that has contributed to its fame. These are distinctive wines from a distinctive terroir, and they are not without controversy. Some regard this [...]

Some thoughts on Prosecco

Prosecco is one of the wine world’s success stories. I’m drinking one now. It’s the Bella Covina Prosecco from Tesco, which is as cheap as Prosecco gets at £5.85.

Is it bad? No.

Is it good quality? Well, quality is judged by fitness for purpose, and for most people drinking Prosecco, including the company I’m with, it [...]

A remarkable Albariño from Eulogio Pomares

This, I reckon, is the best example of the Albariño grape I’ve encountered.

Eulogio Pomares Parcelarios (I) Carralcoba Albariño 2015 Rias Baixas, Spain
12.5% alcohol. This beautifully packaged wine was fermented and aged in chestnut foudres of 1200 litres, and it’s quite thrilling. The grapes come from seventy year old vines in Castrelo-Cambados. This is brilliantly [...]

Quinta do Vale D Maria, one of the Douro's best Quintas, is sold by Cristiano van Zeller

Sad to learn that Quinta do Vale D Maria, one of the Douro’s top quintas, has been sold by Cristiano van Zeller to the Guedes family of Aveleda Vinhos, one of the leading producers in Vinho Verde. Fortunately, Cristiano already has a good relationship with the Guedes (they have family ties) and he and his [...]