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 [...]

A day in Paris

Although I’m often travelling through it, and have stayed a few times on business, I realized that I hadn’t been a tourist in Paris since I was 15. And some super cheap Eurostar deals created the opportunity: spend a day in this great city doing some really touristy things.

So after a very early start, we [...]

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 [...]

Lunch with Olivier Bernstein

Had lunch on Thursday with Olivier Bernsteinm (above), along with some other journos and the fabulous Simon Staples at Berry Brothers & Rudd.

Olivier was born in the Loire, and his grandfather founded a music publishing house. It was while he was working in international management that Olivier caught the wine bug and did a [...]

On the road in Provence, some pictures

I’m currently on the road in Provence. It’s a beautiful time of year to be here. Harvest has just begun in many areas; in others it is a week or two away. It’s sunny but not scorching hot, and the bulk of the tourists have gone home, so it means that the roads aren’t permanently [...]

Domaine Jones Grenache Gris 2013

British ex-pat Katie Jones has been living in the Languedoc since 1993. She worked at the Mont Tauch co-operative until 2009, when she started her boutique winery, which now consists of 11 hectares of vines in Maury, Tuchan and Paziols, with her wines labelled as either Fitou or Cotes Catalanes.

The previous vintage was tragically [...]

The fabulous Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2013

I love this wine. It’s from a relatively cool vintage, and it has a brilliant tension to it. Starting off with a small negociant business in the 1980s, Pascal Jolivet began buying vineyards in the early 1990s. Now he has 65 hectares (42 ha in Sancerre, 8 ha in Pouilly Fume and 15 ha in [...]

A couple from Jean-Luc Colombo

Jean-Luc Colombo, based in Cornas, is a Rhone modernist. His Cornas wines aren’t in my favourite style, I’m afraid. But I do like the wines he makes when he tries less hard: I bought a case of his northern Rhone Vin du Pays a year or so back, made from declassified young vine Cornas fruit [...]

Nicolas Perrin Crozes Hermitage Blanc 2012

Northern Rhone whites are some of the unheralded stars of the wineworld. There’s a good story to this wine, too. Before around 1995, Jaboulet were one of the top producers in the northern Rhône. Something seemed to go wrong after this with the Jaboulet wines, and in 2006 the family sold to the Freys from [...]

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 [...]