A big night out at the chief's!

Feeling a little tired after a wonderful evening at the chief’s last night. The chief is Harpers editor Richard Siddle, who convened a gathering of chums to eat and drink well together at his pad in Clapham. It was a very late night, but the company and the wines made it worthwhile. The evening began [...]

Two super Australian Chardonnays: Oakridge and Yalumba

Australian Chardonnay is probably the wine style that has changed most in the last decade. The best examples are totally brilliant, and while I still have a nostalgic fondness for the big bad-assed rich examples of the past, the new super-lean Chardonnays with their mineral tension are just so good. Aussie Chardonnay went on a [...]

Two summery sweet wines worth checking out

Sometimes you just want something fun and summery to drink. Here are a couple of really fun, sweet, fizzy wines with real points of interest.

Innocent Bystander Moscato 2013 Victoria, Australia
5.5% alcohol. From a really attractive crown-capped 37.5 cl bottle, this just works. It’s pink and sweet and fizzy, with grape and cherry fruit. Simple, fresh [...]

Video: time to taste some Riesling

So, here I taste, on camera, two different Rieslings. One from Australia’s Eden Valley; one from Alsace. I like them both.

Shobbrook Giallo, a remarkable Sauvignon from Australia

This is an unbelievably good wine. I love it.

It’s Tom Shobbrook’s Giallo. A Sauvignon Blanc, but made naturally, with some skin contact. And fabulously packaged, too.

‘The Sauvignon is fermented on skins for about 6 weeks or until I get the structure I want,’ says Tom. ‘Then it’s pressed and put into casks. It’s bottled 9 months [...]

De Bortoli Shiraz Viognier 2004, the benefits of cellaring

There’s something to be said for buying a few bottles of the same wine, then cellaring them, and revisiting them at intervals. It’s tremendously rewarding if the wine ages well.

This wine is an example of where I have done this. I can find notes on the same wine back in 2007, when it was three years [...]

Two fantastic Chardonnays from Yabby Lake

Just tried these two brilliant Chardonnays from Tom Carson at Yabby Lake. Two more examples of the amazing revolution in Aussie Chardonnay that has taken place over the last few years.

Yabby Lake Vineyard Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Strongly mineral nose with mtachstick, citrus and pear. The palate is taut and lean with citrus, pear, [...]

Oakridge Lusatia Park Chardonnay 2011

I love this wine. It typifies what is happening with high-end Aussie Chardonnay at the moment – the embrace of elegance and freshness over weight and richness – picking earlier and producing complex, taut wines.

Oakridge Local Vineyard Series Lusatia Park Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 Yarra Valley, Australia
From a north-facing vineyard with red volcanic soils. This was [...]

Three lovely wines: Burgundy, Martinborough and Tasmania

It was a beautiful pre-spring day today in London. I was doing some staff wine training for Hakkasan, the brilliant Chinese-inspired restaurant chain with two London outposts. The first session was on ‘smooth reds’, and among the tasting wines were these three beauties.

Domaine Daniel Rion Nuits St Georges Les Hauts Pruliers 1er Cru 2006 Burgundy
This [...]

Shaw & Smith Shiraz 2010

Met with Michael Hill-Smith today at the shiny new Liberty Wine offices in Clapham, to taste the latest releases of Shaw & Smith.

For me, this is one of Australia’s leading wineries. They make just four wines, all of which are excellent, from the cool-ish climate Adelaide Hills region in South Australia.

The Sauvignon Blanc 2012 is [...]