Matassa, revisiting the debut vintage

I found a bottle of Matassa’s first release kicking around. I bought a six-pack from Sam Harrop when it was first released (£15 a bottle then) and tucked it away. This was the 2002 vintage, and just 1800 bottles were made. I think, if I recall correctly, that this was from a single old Carignan […]

Four affordable, lighter reds for summer smashing

Back to the UK and I’m working through some samples on a balmy summer evening. I’m really into lighter red wines at the moment and these four fit the bill for some summer smashing. And they are affordable, too.

Villa Blanche Piquepoul Noir 2016 IGP Pays l’Herault, France
13% alcohol
£8.49 Waitrose
Part of Calmel and Joseph’s Cepages Anciens […]

Visiting Yvon Métras, Beaujolais star

Yvon Métras

Getting a visit with Yvon Métras was quite a big deal. He doesn’t normally see UK press, and regularly turns down requests for visits. One of the gang of five pioneering natural winegrowers in the region (along with Thevenet, Lapierre, Foillard and Breton), he counts Jules Chauvet and Jacques Neauport as his inspirations. […]

A vertical of Château Pichon Baron, 2001-2014

Second-growth Château Pichon Baron is one of the great vineyard terroirs in Bordeaux. Located in Pauillac, just opposite Latour, it boasts three of the five Médoc first growths as near neighbours.

Christian Seely was in London to present an extensive vertical of the modern era of Pichon Baron. ‘Pichon is capable of making wines that are […]

Domaine Labet Les Parcelles Rares Trousseau 2016 Côtes du Jura

Had this at lunch yesterday courtesy of Ashleigh Barrowman of Scotch Wine Bar. It’s a quite beautiful wine, but initially on the nose it is a little scary, with some animal pretty notes (this is a natural wine with no added sulfites and total SO2 of 7 mg/litre). But it’s not a faulty wine: once […]

Dinner at Café Sillon, Lyon, with Ganevat and Dard & Ribo

It was my birthday. And I was in Lyon. And at short notice we managed to get space at the bar at Cafe Sillon, which I’d heard a lot about. It exceeded expectations: the set menu was sensitively cooked and very imaginative, with a couple of options for each course (for a small place like […]

Vignes Préphylloxérique: a Tannat made from ungrafted vines planted in 1871

For the last few days I have been with Plaimont Producteurs in southwest France. They are a sizeable company who source from 5000 hectares of vines and make 38 million bottles of wine each year, from the appellations of Saint Mont, Madiran and Côtes de Gascogne. As well as making lots of good quality, characterful […]

Loire adventure: Clau de Nell, Anjou

Sylvain Potin and Christian Jacques

There’s an interesting story behind Anjou-based biodynamic winery Clau de Nell, which was the next stop on our Loire tour.

Christian Jacques was married to the late Anne Claude Leflaive, and in 2008 the pair purchased the struggling Clau de Nell domaine, initially with a view to running it with the […]

Loire adventure: preparing in Paris

Day two of the Loire adventure saw us get ready to head to the Loire by spending a day in Paris. Nicole, Lexi, Krysta and I caught the Eurostar and two hours and some sparkling wine later, we were in Paris. We then took the metro to our Airbnb in the 11th. It was an […]

Wines of the year (4) some brilliant French wines

Continuing the theme of wines of the year, I’ve picked some of the very best French wines that I tasted in 2016, excluding Champagnes and older wines, which I wrote about separately. So many good bottles here, including a strong showing from Beaujolais, which may surprise some people.

Richard Leroy Les Rouliers Chenin 2012 Vin de […]