Honest opinions on big brand wines (1) Apothic Inferno

Wine critics rarely talk about the most popular wines. I thought it would be interesting to do a thorough, honest review of a range of big brand wines, so I went and bought 9 bottles from various supermarkets and tasted them on camera.

I began with a rather controversial wine: the Apothic Inferno, which is a […]

In the vineyards of Southern California, searching for forgotten gems with Abe Schoener


So we drove south from Los Angeles, to check on a couple of special old vineyards. I was with Abe Schoener and Christina Rasmussen, who’s spending vintage at his new urban winery next to the LA river.

Abe Schoener

First stop was an unusual location for a vineyard. At the intersection of a couple of […]

The world's three largest wineries, all owned by the same company

Gallo’s Fresno winery (Google Earth)

California’s E&J Gallo own the three largest wineries in the world. They don’t tend to invite journalists to them, but Google Earth allows us to take a tour. (The pictures here are all from Google Earth.)

The three wineries in question are two production wineries (Fresno and Livingston) and a winery for […]

Houseparty in the Hollywood Hills with nice wines

So Friday night was fun. We headed over to a home in the Hollywood Hills. En route we stopped at DomaineLA, a brilliant wine shop, and stocked up.


And then when we got there Abe and Alex cooked, and a jolly and diverse crowd who had gathered tucked in. These were some of the wine […]

In an urban winery in Los Angeles

The winery: lots of space!

I’m spending a couple of days in Los Angeles in an urban winery, where my buddy Christina Rasmussen is doing vintage with Abe Schoener of the Scholium Project. Abe recently acquired this amazing facility, which – all going well with permits – will become the base for the Scholium Project. […]

Three from Marimar Estate in Sonoma, California

I tried these three wines from Marimar Estate.

Marimar is the second generation of the Torres wine dynasty, and sister of Miguel Torres Jr who until recently ran the Torres wine venture in Spain. In 1975 she married wine critic Robert Finigan and moved to California, and although the marriage lasted just four years, she stayed […]

Some interesting bottles: Pico, Filippi, Field Recording, Haut-Bergey, Droin, Goodfellow

Some interesting bottles recently tried:

Goodfellow Whistling Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 Ribbon Ridge, Oregon
Planted in 1990, sedimentary soils, 20 months in French oak. Midweight in body with sappy, elegant red cherry fruit. Has lovely elegance and finesse, with a red fruit drive and nice fine-grained. Has such purity and focus. There’s redcurrant brightness and beautiful […]

Two lovely wines at The 10 Cases: Heitz and Gonon

Two lovely wines last night at the brilliant The 10 Cases. The first was a BYO that Gareth Birchley brought along (from Hedonism), and the second was off the list. The list at The 10 Cases is amazing.

Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 Napa Valley, California
This is an incredible wine from a slightly different era in […]

Napa Valley Cabernet, a question of style

After writing up yesterday’s Napa Cabernet tasting, I dug around and found this report, from a tasting held at the Jackson Family Wines internal meeting in Napa back in May 2017, which I hadn’t previously published.

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most famous wine styles, but it’s not without controversy. Sometimes over-ripe […]

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005-2014

The Napa Valley is one of the world’s most famous wine regions. Just 30 miles long and five miles wide, this may be a celebrated wine region but it only accounts for around 4% of California’s wine production. As part of the Vancouver International Wine Festival, I attended a tasting that took us through 10 […]