McC Coupage, a lovely wine from Serbia

McCulloch Wines is the venture of Englishman Don McCulloch and his Serbian-born wife Seka Nikolic. McCulloch was previously a special protection police officer for the Royal Family (he retired after completing 30 years’ service in 2009), while Nikolic has a natural-health practice in Hampstead, London (she describes herself as a ‘bio-health practitioner with exceptional healing […]

More from Belgrade, Serbia


Just back from Belgrade, where I have been having a lot of fun judging wines, eating, drinking and staying up too late.

On Friday, we judged 160 wines; on Saturday we retasted the 33 highest-scoring wines to sort out the gold and silver medals. This was followed by a fun session choosing the trophy winners, and […]

In Serbia judging wine

I’m in Serbia. It is my first time here, and I’ve come to act as a judge in the Serbian wine awards competition Great Serbian Wine Tasting 2013, which is organized by online magazine and Vino & Fino magazine.

It is being held in Belgrade, but so far I haven’t seen much of this famous […]

A brilliant Serbian white wine

As I write, I’m sipping a white wine from Serbia. This would be a brilliant wine to put into a blind tasting: I reckon most people would suggest that it’s a serious dry Loire Chenin Blanc.

In fact, it has no Chenin in it at all. It’s made by a French couple, Cyrille Bongiraud and Estelle Germain, […]

The fabulous Papaskarasi from Chamlija, one of Turkey's top wineries

Tasted today, at the London Wine Fair, a remarkable red wine from boutique Turkish producer Chamlija. It’s a grape variety that’s new to me: Papaskarasi. Not much is known about its origins. Mustafa Camlica of Chamlija proposes that one of its parents is Prokupac, a variety I have experienced in Serbia. When I tasted it, […]

My wine predictions for 2014

Predicting the future is a mug’s game, but it’s fun, and I’m a bit of a mug. So here goes – my wine predictions for 2014.

The commoditization of wine will continue apace
Supermarkets do their job well. For most people, wine is just wine, and they want a glass of something red, white, pink, or fizzy […]

A year in the life of a winewriter, 2013

It has been a good year. Not always straightforward, but rewarding. One measure of the success of a year is how much I have learned, and this year I have learned a great deal. Here are some of the highlights.

First trip of the year, a brief visit to Bordeaux, to talk at a conference on […]

In Bulgaria, judging wines of the Balkans

I am currently in Sofia, Bulgaria, where I am judging the Balkans International Wine Competition, along with a merry band of excellent judges from different Balkan countries, plus three of us from outside the region.

We have spent two days judging and we have just finished. The competition was flawlessly run and this afternoon – where all […]

Day 3 of the IWC

Day 3 at Lord's, the home of cricket

Very tired tonight. Another big day at the International Wine Challenge, with plenty of wines passing our table (number 9, again), and a good number going through to next week, including a couple of very nice botrytised reds!

Table 9

There were also nice wines from Bosnia, Serbia […]