Interesting, vineyard-specific wines from Bodegas Vegalfaro in Spain's Utiel-Requena

These three wines are from an ambitious producers in one of Spain’s lesser known wine regions, Utiel-Requena. There is a lot of history here. Back as far ago as the fifth century BC, the locals trod grapes into basins carved into rock (this seems to have been quite common in Spain), and the juice released would […]

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2016

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2016 Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol. There’s been a lot of talking up of the 2016 vintage in the Douro, so I was pleased to try this, the 2016 release from one of the top Port producers, Quinta do Noval. It comes across as a fresh, well-defined style of Vintage Port with […]

In Porto (5) dinner at Esplanada Marisqueira

Alfonso, Vitor and Dirk

The next night it was back to Matosinhos, the Port area of Porto, where the seafood restaurants are congregated. We went to Esplanada Marisqueira, a rather grand establishment, with Vitor Bento, Teresa Bento, Alfonso Bento, Dirk Niepoort and Nina Gruntkowski (Dirk’s wife, who also runs a tea company).

The food here is […]

In Porto (4) Dinner at O Gaveto

Gaveto has had a refit since I was here last. It was a memorable meal last time, so it was good to be back. Hosting us were Vitor and Teresa Bento and their son and daughter, Alfonso and Mafalda. I can’t speak highly enough of Gaveto: the seafood here is so pure and delicious, and […]

New York Wines (14) Nathan Kendall, Chëpika and Hickory Hollow, Finger Lakes

Nathan Kendall

Nathan Kendall is one of the bright lights of the Finger Lakes wine scene. He’s winemaker at Hickory Hollow winery, but also makes wine under his own name. And he’s also involved in a new project with Pascaline Lepeltier, the famed New York Sommelier, making a pet nat called Chëpika.

Nathan met Pascaline a […]

Paso-Primero: good affordable wines from Somontano, Spain

Paso-Primero is a Somantano wine company run by Thomas and Emma Holt. They hail from Shropshire (England) and previously made wine in Niagara, Canada, but they found that the winters there were just a bit too harsh for them. So they relocated to Spain, to the Somontano region in the foothills of the Pyrenees. As […]

Viñedos de Alcohuaz: superb biodynamic wines from Elqui in Chile

It’s been almost eight years since I visited Elqui, and the bright light and primeval, stunning scenery is still with me today. It’s the perfect place for star gazing because of the lack of light pollution, and the number of clear nights here.

Alcohuaz is a small village high up in the Elqui Valley. Alvaro Flano […]

Beware the wine consumer champions

There is a new breed of consumer champion loose in the world of wine.

They are a band of vocal marketers, commentators and ‘thought leaders’ who are upset and outraged by the way that the wine industry is expressing loathing, hatred and disregard for ‘the consumer’, leaving large swathes of the drinking population feeling criticised, belittled […]

In Porto (3) Prova and Wine Quay, two nice wine bars

Prova, Porto

Porto has some good wine bars. We checked out two, on our brief visit. The first is Prova. This is a nicely situated, stylish wine bar with a great list and some nice small plates. The staff are also excellent. We got chatting, and were given a taste of a very cool wine […]

In Porto (2): dinner at Pedro Lemos with astonishing wines

Teresa and Vitor outside Pedro Lemos

It was great to eat at Pedro Lemos, considered by many to be Porto’s top restaurant. We dined with Vitor Bento and his wife Teresa. Vitor is an Airbus 330 pilot and a complete wine nut. When he’s not on duty, he’s usually eating and drinking well in Porto, […]