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 [...]

Three lovely Rhones: two Chaves and a La Turque

Had a great lunch at The Glasshouse restaurant in Kew yesterday, hosted by Keith Prothero. In attendance: Malcolm Thwaites, Greg Sherwood and me. The Glasshouse is such a great restaurant. I have never been disappointed with the food there: really beautifully presented, but also perfectly judged flavours. And the service is super – we were [...]

Visiting Cognac producer Les Grands Pateurs

So, I’m on holiday with my extended family in the Charente, attending a family wedding tomorrow. It’s not wine country, really – although a few wines are made here, the extensive vineyards around where we are staying pretty much all go into Cognac. Colombard and Ugni Blanc are the grape varieties, although small amounts of [...]

Two from Champagne Savart

Fred Savart’s Champagnes are the real deal. His elevage is in a mixture of oak and now concrete, and the production here consists of small volume, terroir focused wines. I’ve reviewed one of these wines before, and this time round, I gave it an equally high rating. UK agent is Indigo Wine.

Champagne Savart L’Accomplie [...]