Don't spit great wine!

In the wine trade, we taste. And then we spit. Have to, really, otherwise we’d all be permanently drunk and would die young.

Sometimes, though, a wine is too good to spit.

When I was tasting through the icon wines that The Sampler has just put on its enomatics, I found myself instinctively spitting the wines. But [...]

Les Griffons de Pichon Baron 2012, a serious effort

This is a super wine. It’s a new launch from Bordeaux superstar Pichon Baron. Christian Seely describes it thus: ‘It is a second wine, made from grapes from the intermediate parcels that might sometimes make it into the Grand Vin, sometimes into Tourelles [previously regarded as Pichon's second wine]. Les Tourelles itself comes mostly from [...]

Some highlights from the Waitrose Press Tasting

We wine journos are in the middle of press tasting season at the moment, with all the major supermarkets showing off their ranges. Buying standards for UK supermarkets are very high, but what makes life difficult for the buyers are their margin requirements, especially in the days of 25% off entire range special offers. So [...]

Fine wines with lunch, old-school wine trade style

These wines were recently tasted at a rather fine lunch at La Trompette, which is a great restaurant. It went on a long time, as you can imagine. I’m always struck by how well older bottles of top Bordeaux show in these situations, and how inconsistent red Burgundy can be. And the Rhône can be [...]

Pre- and post-run wines from last weekend at Pichon

Last Friday night I stayed at Château Pichon in Pauillac, in preparation for the long run the next day. I was intending to drink very little, but in the end some nice bottles were opened. Ideal preparation for the run! I’ve also added some notes for a few post-run bottles. The Noval Vintage 2003, which [...]

The marathon du medoc

So I ran the Marathon du Médoc yesterday for the second year. it was the 30th anniversary of the race, so even more than usual there was a party atmosphere. There were also more runners – over 10 000.

It was a hot sunny day. Great for the vines, which need just another week of this [...]

The incomparable Yquem 1986

This was the star wine in a star line-up at Tuesday’s lunch. Just thrillingly good.

Chateau d’Yquem 1986 Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
Powerful, spicy and intense with lovely flavours of marmalade, apricot, spice and citrus, as well as some sweet melon notes and a delicious creaminess. There’s also a hint of white pepper. This is tantalising. So spicy [...]

Two 1996 Bordeaux wines: right and left

Had a splendid afternoon with extended family today. Brother-in-law Beavington was kind enough to open two clarets (three bottles, we got through two of the VCC) from the 1996 vintage. It’s a vintage that is in a good place at the moment, it seems. Also, it reinforces the fact that you have to treat each [...]

Three top Bordeaux wines from 2009: Pichon Lalande, Las Cases and Pontet Canet

At the Tesco press tasting on Friday we were presented with three rather smart Bordeaux wines from the 2009 vintage. They’re available from Tesco’s online operation, and they were (I suspect) included as a sort of reward for slugging round 140 or so wines from the regular range (although if you want to preserve your [...]

A remarkable fine wine dinner at Majeka House

Tuesday evening was special. Keith Prothero invited Greg Sherwood and I to join him, Nicolette Waterford, Sam Suddons and Ryan Mostert at Majeka House restaurant in Stellenbosch for a special wine dinner. We each brought along a decent bottle (mine was one of my stash of 99 Jamet Côte Rôtie), and the restaurant had prepared [...]