Some amazing fine wines at The Sampler

Latour 1961 in the glass

Each Christmas The Sampler puts some rather special wines on its sampling machines, and this year is no exception. I popped into the South Kensington shop to try them; Islington has a different set of wines on. They aren’t cheap, but for many of these wines it’s a once in [...]

Senejac, a bargain Christmas Claret

I was really impressed by this pair of Christmas Clarets, currently available for £16.99 from The Co-op. It’s two vintages of Chateau Senejac. I tried the 2009 last year and rated it highly. This time round, I have a slight preference for 2008, which is a bit more structured and classical. If you like the riper fruit [...]

Chateau Margaux 1993

‘Gourmet dinner Saturday night?’ enquired brother-in-law Beavington by text. ‘I have something VERY special.’ So, on Saturday night we headed over to my sister’s place for dinner.

The special item was a magnum of 1993 Margaux, which he’d purchased in the late-1990s from Justerini for £50 in a bin-end sale. 1993 is a vintage that has [...]

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 [...]

Marcel Deiss Engelgarten

I love the wines of Alsace, and one of the leading producers in the region is Marcel Deiss. He takes an interesting approach. For the lesser terroirs, he makes varietal wines. But for his top sites, the wines are blends. This is in discord with the rest of the region. He thinks that good sites [...]

A lovely Touraine Sauvignon

On my recent travels to the Loire, I have been lucky enough to bump into Lionel Gosseaume, who is making some superb wines. This Touraine Sauvignon really delivers for the price. He’s one of those producers where you just buy anything he makes.

Lionel Gosseaume Domaine de Pierre Touraine Les Sauterelles 2012 Loire, France
Aromatic, fresh, grassy [...]

Some Rhône treats

Quite a few impressive Rhône wines at yesterday’s Bunch tasting. Here are some I enjoyed a lot.

Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage 2011 Northern Rhône, France
Is this Graillot’s best yet? It’s sensational. Ripe yet fresh meaty, raspberry and cherry fruit nose with a hint of black olive and pepper. The palate is fresh and ripe with raspberry [...]

Lunch at 28-50 with Philippe Pacalet

Great lunch today. It was at the new 28-50 in Maddox Street, with Philippe Pacalet, who I have met a couple of times before. Also present were Philippe’s wife, Monica, Steven Spurrier, and Davina Boyle and Mathieu Jullien of Wine Source  (www.wine-source.com), who import the Pacalet wines.

I have always liked the Pacalet style: he works quite [...]

Ceilings for wine quality in Bordeaux

A nice-looking gravelly terroir

I’ve spent a few days in Bordeaux, during which I’ve had a chance to speak to a few knowledgeable people and also to walk through quite a few vineyards. (And run through some, too.) Harvest is a few weeks off, so it’s interesting to see the marked differences among the various [...]

Running the Marathon du Medoc

I am exhilarated. Yesterday I ran – and completed – the Marathon du Medoc.

To run any marathon for the first time would rank as a great life experience, but the fact that this was the Medoc Marathon, with a 42.195 km route taking runners through some of the world’s most famous vineyards, made this extra [...]