A (bad) day in the life of a wine writer

I’m currently in Canada. I’ve just spent four wonderful days in the Okanagan Valley, but when it came time to leave, things didn’t go so well. Maybe I should have just stayed there?

The day began with an alarm set for 0450.

0510: get into my hire car and head to Penticton Airport, for my 0625 Westjet […]

Staying mentally flexible

I’m getting older. Back in 2013 at the age of 45 I ran a marathon with 14 weeks training. It was a tough but liberating experience. I never thought I was the sort of person who could run 42.215 km, which is a long way. But being able to made me realize that change is […]

Another BA lounge wine round-up

Flew back from Sicily. Three hours to kill at Gatwick before I head to Edinburgh this evening for a very exciting masterclass of New Zealand wines tomorrow, so I headed to the British Airways lounge and tried all the wines.

Champagne Castelnau NV France
Nice to find Champagne on free-pour in a lounge. Normally you have […]

What I learned about wine from going to a gig

Monday was fun. I arrived at Heathrow at nine in the morning. I’d just flown in from Montreal on a short overnight flight that took some six hours. By the time I’d watched some TV and eaten my meal, I only had about three hours to sleep. Lesson one: skip the bad airline food and […]

Why 'like what you like' is generally bad advice when it comes to wine

Here, I’m addressing some questionable comments made about wine tasting, including the oft-proffered advice, ‘like what you like.’

The first is that the trade is full of wine snobs. Usually, these wine snobs tend to be older males. This is not my experience at all. I travel a lot and I hang out with wine people […]

For most wines, glass bottles make no sense

Me, in a vineyard in Spain – on a camping holiday c. 1980

In many classic wine-producing countries it used to be normal to visit a winery and buy wine directly from the tank, filling up your own container. This is a good thing: many wines don’t need to be bottled

How did you spend your […]

Some highlights from the Waitrose press tasting

I’ve just spent two afternoons tasting through the range of Waitrose, a UK-based supermarket. The range is varied and some of the buying is quite brave and imaginative, especially when compared with other supermarkets that have moved strongly in a private label direction. Here are twelve wines that I really liked, in no particular order.

Champagne […]

Robert Parker retires

It has been announced today that the world’s most famous wine critic has retired. The critic in question, Robert Parker, pretty much invented the genre, and was the first to use the 100 point scale that has now almost universally been adopted by wine critics. There are now perhaps 25 wannabe Parkers plying their trade […]

Shadow work

As humans, we are all mixed. Most of us want to be good, but occasionally we aren’t, even though we may be trying our best to do the right thing.

We sometimes find ourselves behaving selfishly, or we are egotistical, or we react to an adverse situation in a childish way – perhaps we have a […]

A night of very fine bottles

Had a lovely evening with friends old and new last night. Wine geeks one and all. And the bottles came fast and furious. No time to take notes. We tasted blind, which is always fun. Not terribly accurately, but with enthusiasm and curiosity. The theme was ‘ssshhhh’. My impressions as I remember them, beginning with […]