Gamay 45, Yvon Métras Moulin-à-Vent 2015

Another raid on Terroirs last night. I love this place! We did some raiding – a slightly disappointing bottle of Ganevat (occasionally this happens) was followed by a Souhaut Syrah and a Foillard Fleurie. And then they managed to find a bottle of Métras for us, even though it was sold out. It was singing: […]

Ambergris, a remarkable natural smell ingredient from whales

I’m obsessed by smells. It’s a good job because a large part of my job involves smelling things. Most commonly, fermented grape juice.

But for a long time I’ve been really interested in ambergris, ever since I heard about it as an exotic component of many perfumes. I’d read that this was an excretion from whale […]

In Milan, some pictures

Duomo di Milano

This weekend I am in Milan, on a small press trip with Ramada Hotels. I’ve been doing a bit of work putting together a special wine list for Ramada, showcasing some of the locations that the hotel chain operates in. It’s streamlined ‘say hello to red’ (their brand colour), and it’s a […]

New York State (9) Dr Konstantin Frank, Finger Lakes

Dr Konstantin Frank is one of the most important figures in the development of the Finger Lakes wine region. His story is a remarkable one, too. He’s most famous now for being the key figure in getting people to plant Vitis vinifera varieties in the Finger Lakes.

Born in 1899 into a wealthy ethnic German family […]

Just because I'm learning it doesn't mean I'm stupid

Most introduction to wine books are deeply unsatisfying. Why?

It’s because when people try to take the role of educator, they forget that many of their readers are actually quite smart. In many cases, the educator is dealing with people who are significantly smarter than they are.

Educators usually patronize their readers. They make the mistake of […]

Epic Pouilly-Fuissés from Domaine du Roc des Boutires

Domaine du Roc des Boutires is a new discovery for me. This is high-end Pouilly-Fuissé, and the vineyards, which total 4.2 hecatres, are ideally situated in the shadow of Roche du Solutre. The domaine was purchased in 2017 by the Parinet family of Château du Moulin-à-Vent, so these wines pre-date the acquisition. But they are […]

Champagne Ruinart Blanc de Blancs

Very impressed with this, the current release of the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. It’s immediately accessible, and obviously delicious, but it also has a serious side to it. Very skilful blending and winemaking here. Not cheap, at around £50 street price, but really fine and beautifully packaged, too (in clear glass, so preferably try to […]

New York State (8) Fox Run Vineyards, Finger Lakes

Fox Run Vineyards is one of the leading wineries in the Finger Lakes. Originally a dairy farm on Seneca Lake, the first vineyards were planted here in 1984. The current owner, Scott Osborn, purchased it along with another partner back in 1994, and it now has 50 acres of vineyards, with 19 of those planted […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (6) Paritua


Paritua is an impressive property, with a state-of-the-art winery and a sizeable 54 hectares of vineyards surrounding it, based in the Bridge Pa district of Hawke’s Bay. The vineyard was planted in 2003 and 2004 by the original owners, Brianne and Gary Fisher.

The vineyards are currently in conversion to organics. The soils are the typical […]

My journey into wine

The Wine Lover’s Discussion Group: a thread list of topics from 2000. This bulletin board helped me take my first steps in wine geekdom, starting around 1996

How do people discover wine? What proportion of non-involved consumers end up morphing into involved consumers? And how do people make this transition? These are all very interesting […]