Some great wines at lunch, including Cristal, Faiveley Corton and Schlumberger GC Saering

After judging the Roederer Awards on Tuesday, we repaired to Chez Buce, where – naturally – we popped a couple of bottles of Roederer’s Cristal. This was followed up with some other gems from the Roederer portfolio (they own MMD, who distribute Roederer and other wines in the UK). Yes, these bottles were a little [...]

Eight stunning grower Champagnes

These are all brilliant.

Champagne Agrapart Cuvée Minerale Grand Cru Avize 2007
Lovely depth and finesse here, with toast and apple, pear and citrus. Lovely complexity. Dry, structured, pure and profound. 95/100

Champagne Michel Loriot Monodie en Meunier Vieilles Vignes Les Virtuoses 2007
Varietal Pinot Meunier. Rich but focused with notes of toast, ripe apple and [...]

Champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV, comparing 2012 disgorgement with 2005

This was an interesting excercise. The same NV Champagne – the excellent Charles Heidsieck – from disgorgements seven years apart. The older bottled had been professionally cellared in the interim. The younger wine was laid in the cellar in 2008 and disgorged in 2012; the younger laid in the cellar in 2001 and disgorged in [...]

Champagne Agrapart Terroirs Extra Brut

On my last day in San Francisco I met up with Blake Edgar, editor at University of California Press (who have published 3 of my books). It was a beautiful day, so we sat outside at the Market Bar restaurant in the Ferry Building. I’d brought along a decent bottle of Champagne in the hope [...]

A Sunday in San Francisco

So, I got a text from Joshua Thomas: ‘Are you interested in brunch?’ Of course! So I headed across town to meet him at Nopalito for a Mexican brunch. The walk from where I’m staying on Geary took me through some sketchy areas, as I cut down Taylor to Market and then hit Fell. There [...]

Fifth Grand New Year Blind Champagne Tasting Video

So here it is, the fifth Grand New Year Blind Champagne Tasting. A little shorter than last year’s (only 48 minutes!), but with two more wines, and some quality chat, not just on the subject of Champagne and sparkling wine. Eight Champagnes, three English bubblies, a Franciacorta and a Tasmanian fizz all in the mix. [...]

A lovely South African Chardonnay, and a top Champagne

I have been judging wines at Tranche 1 of the International Wine Challenge this week. The idea is, for the first time, to split judging into two sessions: the customary April two weeks, plus an additional week in November. This helps with southern and northern hemisphere wineries releasing wines at different times.

But I wanted to [...]

Lunch with Pol, Cloudy, Lapierre, Jamet, Clair and Bachelet

Popped round for lunch at brother-in-law Beavington’s pad yesterday, which usually means that between us we’ll have something decent to drink. (In the process, I also very nobly assist him with his cellar over-stock issues.) All the wines showed really well yesterday.

Champagne Pol Roger NV France
This is showing really well: toast, peach and nuts, together [...]

Champagne Eric Rodez Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru

Some more Champagne action. And another grower Champagne. Eric Rodez has 6.1 hectares of the second largest Grand Cru of all, Ambonnay. He uses 75% old oak for this particular wine, and does lots of work with the lees.

Champagne Eric Rodez Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru NV France
From Ambonnay, this has lovely complexity with a [...]

Champagne Savart L'Accomplie

Love this. It’s from Champagne Savart, a small grower with 4 hectares of vines, in two communes: Ecueil and Villers-aux-Noeuds. These 4 hectares are made from 50 separate plots, all premier cru, and 35 000 bottles are produced annually. This is a serious fizz, and it’s tremendous value at around £30 retail.

Champagne Savart Premier Cru L’Accomplie [...]