Sauvignon Blanc: comparing good examples from the Loire and New Zealand


Awareness days. There are just so many of them. Sauvignon Blanc Day is 3rd of May. Whatever you think about these awareness days for grape varieties, this was an excuse to hold – somewhat in advance – a unique tasting that brought together two big players in the Sauvignon game: New Zealand and the Loire. […]

Seven Syrahs

A few days ago I wrote about a blind tasting of South African Syrah. These are the other Syrahs we tasted blind, alongside the South Africans. There was no logic to the choices: it’s just what we brought along. I was really impressed by all these wines: when Syrah is good, it’s such an interesting […]

Why are most wine lists so bad? Can anything be done?

Most restaurant wine lists aren’t fit for purpose. They drive me to despair.

Look, I’m a wine professional. I know a bit. But in most restaurants, faced with their list I’m just guessing when I choose a wine. So imagine how it is for normal people? Inspecting the wine list becomes an insane ritual. Choosing wine […]

Dinner at Neolokal, Istanbul

Neolokal is a stunning restaurant. Last night I dined there and had a great experience. It considers itself to be a ‘bridge between the past and the future’, modernising traditions in order to preserve them – ‘presenting dishes from the past in a way that will be accepted in the future.’ This, of course, is hardly […]

Why wine is a bit like cricket, and both are fabulous

For the last two weeks I have been judging wine at the Oval. It’s one of the most famous cricket grounds in the world, and was home to the first test match between Australia and England on English soil, in 1880. [We won.]

I’m a big fan of cricket. I fell in love with it aged […]

Interesting wines tasted blind

Did some blind tasting with friends last night, followed by drinking. Some interesting bottles.

Angiolino Maule Masieri 2017 Veneto, Italy
This is Garganega from volcanic soil, wild fermented. Very low sulfites (15 mg/l). There’s a faint hint of reduction on the nose, but past this there is lovely citrus and pear fruit, with a bit of mineral […]

Communicating climate change: the role of the wine industry in changing people's minds

Facts don’t change people’s minds. It’s really annoying, but it’s true. We like to think that if we marshal enough evidence, that eventually the weight of evidence will prove irresistible to people. Sadly, this isn’t the case.

Facts don’t change people’s minds, but stories do. Narratives are how we understand our place in the world. Throughout […]

South African Syrah: blind tasting nine of the best

Chris Groenewald was in town, bringing nine South African Syrahs with him. So a crowd of us gathered over lunch at The Drapers Arms to taste and drink. These are my notes, mostly written blind. It was a great set of wines.

Scions of Sinai Syrah 2017 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fresh, with just 12.5% alcohol, but I […]

Two interesting South Africans: Reyneke Reserve 2012 and Hanneli R 2013

Two very interesting South African wines to report on here. The first is from one of my favourite producers, Reyneke. They are one of just three biodynamic wineries in the Western Cape (please correct me if I am wrong here: the other two are Waterkloof and Elgin Ridge). This is an intriguing wine because it […]

Two Kiwi Chardonnays: Elephant Hill and Corofin

New Zealand is famous for Sauvignon, famous for Pinot Noir, but not yet famous enough for Chardonnay. Well, at least that’s what I think. It’s a grape variety capable of greatness in some parts of the country, and – more specifically, some parts of some parts of the country. This week I’ve tried two good […]