It's all about balance

As a wine journalist, I’m always excited by new things. The latest. The trendiest. The novel. People at the extremes.

That’s good: these things are all exciting. Change is part of life itself, and time keeps moving on.

And when it comes to wine itself, I’m often drawn to things that are a bit on the edge. [...]

Tasting some Japanese wines from the Hokkaido region

Today I got to taste some Japanese wines, as part of a tasting for Yamamoto Akihiko’s www.winereport.jp publication.

These wines are all from Hokkaido, a relatively new wine region in the far north of Japan that is now the most important in the country. Because of global warming it’s now possible to plant vinifera varieties here, [...]

Score inflation is everywhere and it's killing wine criticism

These towers used to be the tallest….

Back in 1984, I sat my ‘O’ level exams at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe. I was a quiet, geeky pupil – a classic in-betweener, friends with some of the cool set but not part of it, and an ally of the square, loser kids. And [...]

New releases from urban winery Ldn Cru, Gavin's last

Gavin Monery, winemaker, Ldn Cru

Yesterday afternoon I met with winemaker Gavin Monery, to taste through the new wines from urban winery Ldn Cru, plus the previous vintage. It was Gavin’s last tasting, but he was keen to show the wines because he’s very proud of them.

There have been changes at Roberson, the wine agency [...]

On wine prices: the've risen a lot, but this isn't all bad

The wine world is a lot more interesting now than when I first started drinking wine in earnest back in the mid-1990s.

At the same time, the prices for fine wines are much higher than when I started drinking, to the point that they are now out of reach for most people.

Case in point: the first [...]

What's the role of emotion in the perception of wine?

One of the aspects I didn’t cover much in my discussions of perception in I Taste Red, is how emotion affects the perception of the world around us.

When we are consciously aware of things around us, we create a model of the world that is a seamless, unified representation that includes input from all the [...]

For food and drink at the airport, forget the lounge, and let's rethink the flight experience

I had a good experience in Toronto airport this evening. Arriving quite early, I got through security, and then wandered around Terminal 3. Because I was flying WestJet (saving my client money!), there was no lounge access. This forced me to check out the various food and drink options in the terminal, and I found [...]

A major award for I Taste Red

I’m so thrilled that I Taste Red, my latest book, has just won an a major award. Last night, at the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards, it was successful in the Wine Book of the Year category. Unfortunately, I had to fly to Canada for some work yesterday so I wasn’t there. But my [...]

Adding features: why the bolt-on approach to growth rarely works in wine

Recently I was driving a hire car. Back in the day, cars used to have radios, and perhaps a cassette player. Then there were a few knobs to control the heating, the airflow, the heated rear window, windscreen wipers, indicators, and that was about it. With small variations, every car was pretty much the same, [...]

Dinner at Neo Bistro with chums: an exciting new west end restaurant

The Neo Bistro tasting menu

It’s always nice to find a really good new London restaurant that also takes wine seriously. Neo Bistro, a stone’s throw from Bond Street tube, is an absolute gem. I went there on Tuesday night with wine buddies Ben Henshaw (Indigo Wine), Greg Sherwood (Handford Wine) and Daniel Primack (the [...]