A big night out at the chief's!

Feeling a little tired after a wonderful evening at the chief’s last night. The chief is Harpers editor Richard Siddle, who convened a gathering of chums to eat and drink well together at his pad in Clapham. It was a very late night, but the company and the wines made it worthwhile. The evening began [...]

Four impressive Loire Sauvignons

Yesterday I tasted through 33 different Loire Sauvignons with a view to selecting 14 to present at Vinexpo next week. These had all won gold or above in competitions, so they were a good bunch. Here are four that stood out to me.

Henri Bourgeois Sancerre ‘La Chapelle des Augustins’ 2011 Loire, France
Complex, intense and powerful [...]

Clos de la Coulee de Serrant 2009, a controversial wine

This is a controversial wine. It’s from biodynamic high-priest Nicolas Joly, who in Clos de la Coulee de Serrant possesses what is universally acknowledged as a special terroir. It’s just that lots of people don’t like the wine he makes, with some claiming oxidation, and others objecting to the 15+% alcohol levels.

I happen to love [...]

Video: visiting Sancerre by helicopter

Here’s a short film shot from my recent visit to the famous Loire village of Sancerre, by chopper. It proved quite an eventful journey: on the way, the door I was sitting next to came open. It looked quite a long way down. The pilot had to land in a field in order for me [...]

Judging in the Concours Mondial Sauvignon Blanc

The Loire at Blois

I’m just back from a few days in the Loire, where I was part of a large international jury judging the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon competition.

The location of the tasting

We stayed in Blois, and tasted in the rather spectacular castle of Blois. We were some 60 judges, divided into teams of [...]

Dinner at La Trouvaille in Blos, with interesting Loire wines

On Friday night, I had dinner at La Trouvaillle in Blois. By its decor, this doesn’t seem a terribly high-end restaurant, but the food is really good and the wine list adventurous.

I was dining with an interesting group: sommelier Henri Chapon, winegrower Lionel Gosseaume, and Dutch journalists Lars Daniel and Chris Alblis. We enjoyed some superb beef, and [...]

In the Loire


This is going to be one of those slightly frustrating, short-on-words, big on pictures posts. It’s just that I am in the Loire, in Blois, not far from Touraine, and – as often happens on these sorts of trips – I’m so busy that blogging is tricky.

The Castle of Bois

I arrived yesterday evening, [...]

A tasty Malbec from the Loire

I was interested by this wine. Really modern packaging, and use of the variety name Malbec rather than the normal Touraine name for this grape, Cot. It’s riper than the average Loire red, a category of wines that I’m unusually drawn to.

Jean Francois Merieau Malbec Cent Visages 2009 Touraine, Loire
12% alcohol. Very modern packaing with an [...]

A brilliant Pinot Noir from the Auvergne

This is, dear readers, the best sub-£10 wine I have consumed this year. It’s a Pinot Noir from the southern Loire region of the Auvergne, which is a story in itself (I hope to visit next year), and it has been unearthed by the talented Richard Kelley MW of ABS Wine Agencies. It comes from [...]

Dinner at Bistrot Le Cuisinier, Blois (Loire)

I’m currently in the Loire for a quick visit to give a talk about the science of Sauvignon, with my buddy Sam Harrop who for the last few years has been involved in a very interesting Sauvignon project with InterLoire.

Last night we had a lovely dinner at Bistrot Le Cuisinier, in the pretty town of [...]