The remarkable Marqués de Riscal City of Wine

Yesterday I visited one of the world’s most remarkable winery buildings. I had dinner at the Marqués de Riscal ‘City of Wine’. I’d heard about Riscal’s bold architecture, but it’s only when you get close and see the construction face to face that you realise how stunning it is. It pops out of the sleepy-looking [...]

At Contino, Rioja, with winemaker Jesús Madrazo

Contino is an estate-based winery, which is unusual in Rioja. It’s based on a 62 hectare vineyard that is at the beginning of Rioja Alavesa, not far from Logroño. The vineyard is in a 100 hectare meander of the River Ebro, facing south, at 400 m altitude.

Jesús Madrazo, Contino

We visited with winemaker Jesús Madrazo, [...]

Alvaro Palacios, the Decanter man of the year

Ever since 1984, UK wine magazine Decanter have bestowed an accolade on a figure from the the world of wine, crowning them man of the year. The first recipient was Serge Hochar. The most recent, and a very popular choice, was Alvaro Palacios, who at the age of 50 (he’s 51 on Monday) is still [...]

Viña Tondonia Reserva 2002, in a supermarket near you

López de Heredia, who make Tondonia, is one of the classic old Rioja houses. They are super-traditional, and make fabulously old fashioned and brilliantly ageable wines. They are not for modernists: winemaking here is quite oxidative with extended ageing in oak before release. It’s not quite up to Musar levels, but these wines are a [...]

Don't spit great wine!

In the wine trade, we taste. And then we spit. Have to, really, otherwise we’d all be permanently drunk and would die young.

Sometimes, though, a wine is too good to spit.

When I was tasting through the icon wines that The Sampler has just put on its enomatics, I found myself instinctively spitting the wines. But [...]

So what does a 89 year old table wine taste like?

I have just written up a Marques de Murrieta Rioja tasting, where we got to drink, among other lovely older wines, a bottle of Castillo Ygay 1925. It was remarkable.

Tasting old wines like this can be a bit random. By the time a wine is more than 20 years old, there’s no such thing as [...]

Lindes de Remelluri 2010 - a lovely new-wave Rioja

I was really impressed by this new-wave Rioja from Remelluri. 2010 was the first vintage with Telmo Rodriguez back at the helm of the family winery, and this is a stylish effort. If only all Rioja could be made in this elegant, focused, pure style!

Remelluri Lindes de Remelluri Vinedos de Labastida 2010 Rioja, Spain
13.5% [...]

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 [...]

Two super Spanish wines, one red, one white, one cheap, one not

Berry Bros & Rudd have been putting a lot of work into their Spanish and Italian lists of late, and the results are very encouraging. Here are two lovely Spanish wines, at different ends of the price spectrum. They both deliver.

Telmo Rodriguez Almuvedre 2012 Alicante, Spain
Beautifully aromatic with bright cherry fruit. Floral and fresh with [...]

Raiding the incredible wine list at Rekondo, San Sebastian

Txomin Rekondo’s restaurant is a wine lover’s dream. He’s allowed his cellar to get completely out of control. With 150 000 wines, and a wine list that consists of a large book, you really need to arrive an hour early just to browse it and make your selection. You can get wines from around the [...]