Three lovely wines: Leflaive Pucelles, Wetzer Kekfrankos and Kopke white port 1935

These three lovely wines were brought round by guests. The best sort of guests. The Leflaive Pucelles was served blind, and in a stroke of lucky intuition, I guessed it as very fine white Burgundy, a Leflaive, and Pucelles. But I got the vintage wrong: I called it 2002. This sort of guesswork looks great [...]

Kopke Colheita Ports back to 1941

Colheitas are single vintage Tawny Ports (that is, Ports that have been aged for a long time in large oak barrels, rather than bottled after a few years and aged in bottle), and Kopke are specialists with this style of Port. They have good stocks of old Colheitas which they bottle on order, and the [...]

Some more pictures from the road

Some more pictures from the road. I’m now back from the quick Spain and Portugal trip, but I thought I’d share these. First of all, a couple of pictures from the brief stop in Ribeiro, the region inland from Rias Baixas that is a hot spot for the Treixadura grape variety.

Next, a shot of the [...]

On the road in Spain and Portugal

Today is the third day of a brief three day trip taking in Galicia (Spain) and the Minho (northern Portugal). I’m travelling with Nick Oakley, visiting his agencies in the region, so we’re covering quite a bit of ground, and I’m visiting these producers for the first time. I’m pressed for time, so a proper [...]

The wine boats of the Douro river

This is a great film. It’s titled ‘The wine boats of the Douro river’, and it represents a very different Douro than that of today, shot in 1923. This was before the Douro was dammed in the late 1960s/early 1970s with five different dams, which converted it from a sometimes rather wild river into the [...]

Two from Portugal: Vale Meão 2005 and Casa de Mouraz Elfa 2010

Portugal is a wonderful wine country, and one that I’ll be focusing on a bit this year, after having let it suffer mild neglect at my hands. Here are two lovely wines. One, a leading Douro red with almost a decade’s bottle age, and the other a distinctive field blend from Dão.

Casa de Mouraz Elfa [...]

The Portuguese Pinot Noir, Quinta de Sant'Ana

Pinot Noir? From Portugal?

With so many of its own grape varieties to focus on, you’d think Portugal has little to gain from trying to make Pinot Noir. But why not? If the climate and soils are there for making serious Pinot, it’s worth a go. Pinot rocks, after all. It’s especially worth a go if [...]

Cervejaria Ramiro, Lisbon - a must visit

Earlier in the year, when I was in Lisbon with the fabulous Young Winemakers of Portugal (who, incidentally, have just been written up on the BBC news site), I was taken to the Cervejaria Ramiro (Av. Almirante Reis, nº1 – H1150-007 Lisboa, Phone: +351 21 885 10 24). This is a remarkable place, a must [...]

Sandeman Vau Vintage Port 2003

I remember the excitement of discovering that Oddbins were selling the 1997 version of this wine for just £5 for a half bottle back in 2001. This was in the early days of wineanorak, and I recall drinking quite a few of these. Now the 2003 vintage (a very good one for Port) is being [...]

Altano Organic Douro Red 2012, a brilliant bargain

This is a brilliant bargain! It’s a grown-up, proper Douro red for less than a tenner. The Symingtons are the largest organic farmer in the Douro with 126 hectares of organic vines (clearly, there is some way to go in a region with around 36 000 hectares – the chief problem is weed control on [...]