Visiting Yvon Métras, Beaujolais star

Yvon Métras

Getting a visit with Yvon Métras was quite a big deal. He doesn’t normally see UK press, and regularly turns down requests for visits. One of the gang of five pioneering natural winegrowers in the region (along with Thevenet, Lapierre, Foillard and Breton), he counts Jules Chauvet and Jacques Neauport as his inspirations. […]

Nagano wine region, Japan (2) - Domaine Nakajima

Yutaka Nakajima was studying at chef school when he came across wine. He’s a big fan of natural wine, and also has a strong affection for Alsace. He has experience working in the Loire and Baden (Germany), and in 2011 he decided to plant a vineyard in Tomi, Nagano. The small winery followed in 2014.

Great wines at Hibana, a natural wine bar in Tokyo

Last night I arrived in Tokyo and headed out to Hibana (3F Third Halcyon, 3-6 Araki Cho, Shinyinku-ku, Tokyo 160-0007). It’s a relatively new natural wine bar run by Atsushi Nagashima, who was previously a sommelier at an Italian restaurant. We ate small plates and he served us a succession of Italian wines, all of […]

Four nice wines at Scotch: Hermit Ram, Equipo Navazos, Bornard, Vajra

Four lovely wines enjoyed at Scotch Bar, Blenheim, the other night.

Equipo Navazos La Bota de Florpower NV Jerez, Spain
This is an unfortified flor-aged wine from the 2012 vintage. It’s really distinctive and lovely: tangy and bright with hints of cheese and some spicy salty notes. Weighty and mineral. Complex and nutty with lovely acid. 92/100

Philippe […]

Hervé Souhaut Syrah 2016: seductive, smashable

I’ve been an admirer of the wines of Hervé Souhaut for a while. I remember taking his Syrah as one of my three wines when I was taking part in the Swartland Revolution in 2011, and it went down really well. I also recently reviewed his Gamay, La Souteronne, here. He’s based in the northern […]

Pet Nat focus (1) Kindeli La Lechuza

I’m beginning a series on Pet Nats! This is an interesting style of wine that’s becoming more popular. Also known as Methode Ancestrale, Pet Nat stands for Pétillant Naturel, and refers to sparkling wines that are bottled while there is still some sugar, and they complete fermentation in the bottle, making them naturally sparkling. This […]

Neil Ellis Op Sy Moer 2016, a distinctive white bottled with fine lees

Warren Ellis, son of Neil, showed me this wine on a recent trip to South Africa. It’s a blend of Palomino from Piekeneerskloof (450 m, Table Mountain sandstone soils), with a touch of Chenin Blanc and Grenache Blanc. All old vines. The interesting thing about this wine is the lees contact: it’s even bottled with […]

Two orange wines from Spain

Last night I drank two orange wines from Spain. Both different in style, but both very good. The first, a distinctive Albillo, was on the list at the brill Morito. The second was a Macabeu in a distinctive ceramic bottle, which was purchased at Furanxo, a lovely Spanish deli and bar in Dalston.

Alfredo Maestro Lovamor Albillo […]

Gamay Focus 30, Hervé Souhaut La Souteronne

I had this wine twice in two nights at Scotch Bar, Blenheim. It’s from Hervé Souhaut’s Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet, which is based in Arlebosc in the Ardèche, just west of Tain l’Hermitage. Indeed, as well as his Ardèche holdings, Hervé has some vines in the northern Rhône, with a total of 5 hectares altogether. He started out […]

Loire adventure: visiting the remarkable François Saint-Lô

François Saint-Lô

The rain was easing as we arrived for an appointment with François Saint-Lô, but it was still a cold, damp day. Not ideal for tasting wine. There’s nothing fancy about his place, but it has a good feel about it. It’s a gem of a project: it seems like a wine-making commune, with […]