A vertical of Château Pichon Baron, 2001-2014

Second-growth Château Pichon Baron is one of the great vineyard terroirs in Bordeaux. Located in Pauillac, just opposite Latour, it boasts three of the five Médoc first growths as near neighbours.

Christian Seely was in London to present an extensive vertical of the modern era of Pichon Baron. ‘Pichon is capable of making wines that are […]

Marelise Niemann's Momento wines, Bot River, South Africa

Marelise Niemann

Marelise Niemann is a champion of Grenache. Her label, Momento, began officially in 2013, when she was still working at Beaumont in the Bot River region of South Africa. Beaumont was her first proper job as a winemaker, although after university she did 8 months in California in 2007. She began at Beaumont […]

A world without mirrors, and the importance of receiving criticism well

Imagine living in a world without mirrors (and, of course, cameras and smart phones sort of count here, too). How would you see yourself?

To catch a reflection of yourself in any sort of reflective surface, such as still water, would have been intriguing, because we cannot see ourselves. So that’s what I look like! Is […]

Crystallum: some of South Africa's most compelling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Crystallum is the wine label of Peter-Allan Finlayson (above), who set up in partnership with his brother (Andrew, a Hermanus-based architect) and his Dad (Peter, who was the first winemaker in Hemel-en-Arde with Hamilton Russel, and who for a long time now has been cellar master at Bouchard Finlayson).

Peter-Allan, though, is the main dude here, […]

Video: Simplesmente Vinho, an artisanal wine fair in Porto

 

I’m in Porto for the sixth edition of Simplesmente Vinho, a fair showcasing the best authentic and natural wines from Portugal and Spain. There are 101 producers here, covering a range of styles and wine growing areas, and it’s a happy hunting ground for geeks like me.

The venue is a spectacular old building on the […]

A lovely meal at DOP Porto with some nice wines

Had a great meal last night at DOP restaurant in Porto, with some really creative riffing on a Portuguese theme from Rui Paula. We began with a fruity scallop carpaccio, and then progressed to a beautifully cooked corvina (relative of sea bass) fillet with mango and coconut. These exotic flavours worked well, and this was […]

Making wine at Gabrielskloof: the final instalment

This is the final instalment of my series of reports from 10 days of vintage experience at Gabrielskloof, in Bot River, South Africa. I really enjoyed my time here, came back thinner and stronger, and learned quite a bit from taking a different perspective on winemaking – from behind the scenes. The picture above was […]

How are you?

How are you?

This is a question most of us are asked frequently, but it’s a difficult one to answer.

Of course, when we’re normally asked this question, there’s an expected answer, and unless we’re speaking to a good friend in the right context, then it would be unusual not to give this expected answer: I’m good […]

Video: the Marlborough wine region, the grower's story

 

Marlborough, New Zealand’s largest wine region, relies heavily on growers. Wine arrived here relatively lately (first vineyard plantings of the modern era were 1973, but things didn’t really get going in earnest until the mid-1980s), and much of the development has involved farming families here planting vineyards, in order to sell grapes to wineries.

I spent […]

The wines of Gabrielskloof, Bot River, South Africa

Gabrielskloof, where I’ve spent the last 10 days working vintage, is a winery on the up.

Bernhard Heyns, owner, Gabrielskloof

It’s owned by Bernhard Heyns. In his previous life, Bernhard’s family owned a brick-manufacturing company, based on a clay quarry that they owned. Then they discovered a coal deposit under the clay. So Bernhard got planning […]