IWC day three, plus some beer, plus some nice Riojas

Just finished day 3 of the International Wine Challenge at Lords. It is going well, and I’m enjoying tasting with some excellent wine trade colleagues. Everyone seems to be a team player eager to do a professional job, and this makes my life as a panel chair a lot easier.

There are signs that spring is [...]

Where does the world's best cheap wine come from?

Where does the world’s best cheap red wine come from?

Spain. It’s official.

I’m on a plane at the moment, sitting in the back, and expecting bad wine. But the Spanish red on offer, Finca Vallero Tempranillo Garnacha 2011 Carineña, supplied by Bibendum, is really tasty. It’s ripe and sweetly fruited, with lush berry fruits, but it [...]

Dinner at Jorg's

A merry crowd gathered in the garden of Jörg Pfützner’s home, for an evening of wine and food, including Bruwer Raats, David Clarke, Harry Haddon, Roland Peens, Greg Sherwood, Justin Knock and a few others. We came in good cheer, many armed with smart bottles.

Proceedings kicked off with a glass of Egon Müller’s Scharzhofberg Kabinett [...]

Some thoughts about Cava, and Raventos leaving

Cava is, sadly, not cool.

The news that one of the leading producers of Cava, Raventos, is to leave the Cava appellation has shocked a lot of people. [Aside: ‘appellaton’ is a bad word for it, because Cava is not a geographical designation, even though the vast majority of its production is from the Penedes region [...]

A new Spanish producer, and quite a discovery

In  Madrid today at lunch I was sitting next to David Gonzalez, who together with three friends has started a new winery in the DO of Arlanza. It’s a region directly north of Ribera del Duero, sitting neatly above it. A century ago there were 30 000 hectares of vines; now there are just 3000 [...]

Two great, affordable Spanish reds

Two really good Spanish reds here, which I have tasted (and drunk) as part of my research in compiling a Top 100 reds under £10 feature.

Spain has been particularly strong in this price bracket. The reason? Lots of old vines, and good wine growing terroirs. When the oak use is restrained, or absent even, the [...]

Coto de Gomariz The Flower and The Bee Souson

This is such a beautiful, utterly drinkable wine. It’s from Ribeiro, a region in northwest Spain in Galicia, and it is made from the Sousón grape variety, which is the same as Portugal’s Sousao/Vinhao. Available in the UK from Indigo Wine, and not too expensive (around £12.50 in independent wine merchants). Just the sort of [...]

A brilliant Rioja: Phincas

I was introduced to this wine by David Sampedro Gil, the winemaker behind DSG Vineyards, a relatively new project looking to make a range of wines from some of Spain’s great terroirs. I was really taken by it: it’s a serious effort, and one of the best young Riojas I have tried. UK agent is [...]

Ochoa 8A Mil Gracias Graciano

I like Graciano. It’s a red grape variety, grown principally in Rioja, where it is used as a blending component. It’s a high quality grape capable of making ageworthy wines, but it’s low yielding, and so not so popular with the large factory-like bodegas.

This example is from Navarra, and it’s deliciously fresh and lively, with [...]

A lovely red wine from Galicia, Spain

I love this wine, which hails from the north west of Spain, in a small Galician region called Ribeiro. It’s made from some unfamiliar varieties, but Jancis, Julia and Jose’s book (Wine Grapes) has helped me out. First we have Sousón, which is the same as Vinhão or Sousão, a variety popular in the Douro [...]