My top wines from the Argentina Wine Awards

I’ve just finished writing up the notes from judging the Argentine Wine Awards in Mendoza last month. These are my personal notes and scores on the wines I liked the best out of those that I tried (I’m guessing just over a quarter of the entered wines, because we were split into four teams of [...]

Two lovely Languedoc wines from Gayda

Had a look at some samples yesterday after getting home from New Zealand, and these two, from Domaine Gayda, stood out.

Gayda Figure Libre Chenin Blanc 2015 Pays d’Oc, France
13.5% alcohol. Organic farming, sandstone soils, 200 m altitude. Harvested in two tries, with 10% botrytis, and fermented in concrete egg. Full yellow colour. This has a lovely [...]

What determines your taste? Why I disagree with Tim Hanni

Tim Hanni MW has become well known in the wine trade for his work on separating people into different groups according to their taste preferences. He has some interesting things to say. For example, there’s this recent interview published in Meininger’s. This isn’t the first time that consumer segmentation has been applied to wine, but [...]

Adventures on New Zealand's West Coast

I’ve always been fascinated by what I’ve heard about New Zealand’s South Island’s West Coast. People have told me that it is incredibly beautiful, remote and sparsely populated, and also incredibly wet. I think that these factors may be related. Rainfall here is measured in metres, as the moist air from the ocean deposits its [...]

A couple from Hawke's Bay: Craggy Range and Sacred Hill

These impressed the other evening.

Craggy Range Te Kahu 2014 Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. 68% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc. This is beautifully fresh and focused with sweet blackcurrant fruit together with some black cherries and plums. There’s lovely balance: it’s ripe, but really well balanced with good acidity. [...]

Ce Qui Nous Lie (Back to Burgundy): a film about wine

Was glad to catch this film on my last flight. It’s a French film set in Burgundy, and it’s probably the most gorgeously wine-focused film I’ve seen: even more so than Sideways. And Jean-Marc Roulot, winegrower and professional actor, is in it!

The main characters are three siblings, Jean (the oldest), Juliette and Jérémie. Frustrated by [...]

Japan eating: Omi beef sukiyaki at Restaurant Moroshima

Omi beef, thinly sliced

Another great meal in Japan; another stop in this great gastronomic journey. This time, Omi beef sukiyaki at Restaurant Morishima, in Omi-hachaman in the Shiga prefecture not far from Kyoto.

Omi beef sashimi

This is a restaurant devoted to Omi beef. This is one of the top three types of Wagyu beef, [...]

IPNC: the non-Oregon Pinot Noirs

One of the great things about the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) is the chance to taste a wide range of Pinot Noirs from around the world. I’ve already written up my notes on the Oregon wines; here are my notes on some of the other Pinots on show. I apologise for the fact that [...]

Jurtschitsch Pot des Fleurs Grüner Veltliner 'Ernte' 2014 Austria

Amphorae are all the rage, and sometimes – as in this case – the hype around their use is justified. This Pot Des Fleurs is a beautiful wine that has spent six months on its skins, yet it is elegant and textured. Wonderful stuff. If I recall correctly, the ‘flowerpot’ name is because the first [...]

It's all about balance

As a wine journalist, I’m always excited by new things. The latest. The trendiest. The novel. People at the extremes.

That’s good: these things are all exciting. Change is part of life itself, and time keeps moving on.

And when it comes to wine itself, I’m often drawn to things that are a bit on the edge. [...]