A unicorn wine, the Clos Joliette Jurancon

I have just written up a tasting of Jurançon Sec held at The Sampler a while ago. You can read it here.

One of the wines was truly remarkable. It’s what is known as a unicorn wine: people hear of them but they never see them. The Sampler’s Jamie Hutchinson reckons he has all the available [...]

A serious Languedoc red from Mas Belles Eaux

I am a huge fan of the Languedoc. It’s a region that possesses some serious terroirs, and where winegrowers have the motivation, they can use these to make serious wines that usually represent great value for money. The potential of the Languedoc has attracted the attention of larger wine companies: AXA Millesimes purchased Mas Belles [...]

Burgundy 2012, second part, questions of style

So today I went to the Goedhuis Burgundy en primeur tasting. It was excellent: lots of really good producers, and a lovely setting in the Philip Mould Gallery in Dover Street.

I tasted 80 wines, which at this level is enough for a day. Let’s face it: with top Burgundies, we are talking about fine discriminations [...]

Burgundy 2012, first impressions

So, I went to my first tasting of the year. It was also my first taste of the 2012 vintage in Burgundy. The tasting was one of the big ones, Berry Bros & Rudd’s En Primeur offering, held at One Great George Street, a grand venue with appalling lighting for photography.

I tasted around 80 wines, [...]

Zelige Caravent, exciting wines from the Languedoc's Pic St Loup

Two wines from this interesting Pic St Loup property. Zelige-Caravent have 12 hectares of vines, separated into 22 different parcels, on interesting soils in the over-achieving Languedoc commune of Pic St Loup. They farm biodynamically (although they are certified organic only), and the newer parcels are planted at very high density and are massale selection. [...]

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 [...]