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 […]

Penfolds Max's Chardonnay and Cabernet

These are two of three wines under the relatively new Penfolds label ‘Max’s’, which pays tribute to former chief winemaker and creator of Grange, Max Schubert. There’s a third wine in the range, the Shiraz/Cabernet, which is just a little cheaper at £16.95.

Penfolds Max’s Chardonnay 2017 Adelaide Hills, Australia
13% alcohol
£19.99 Waitrose
Bright, lively and focused with […]

Blind tasting exam, MW style: what's it like?

Yesterday. I joined in a tasting session with two MW students who were doing a test practical paper. I’ve never done a tasting like this before, and to be honest, sitting down with 12 wines (all red in this case) and an accompanying set of questions is incredibly daunting, even for someone who tastes all […]

Choosing a red wine list for Ramada hotels

Towards the end of last year, one of the fun jobs I had was working with the Ramada hotel chain to produce a red wine list. The idea was to recognize the international presence of Ramada across the many countries it works in, through a special red wine list (red is the brand colour of […]

Interesting wines tasted blind

Did some blind tasting with friends last night, followed by drinking. Some interesting bottles.

Angiolino Maule Masieri 2017 Veneto, Italy
This is Garganega from volcanic soil, wild fermented. Very low sulfites (15 mg/l). There’s a faint hint of reduction on the nose, but past this there is lovely citrus and pear fruit, with a bit of mineral […]

Two interesting South Africans: Reyneke Reserve 2012 and Hanneli R 2013

Two very interesting South African wines to report on here. The first is from one of my favourite producers, Reyneke. They are one of just three biodynamic wineries in the Western Cape (please correct me if I am wrong here: the other two are Waterkloof and Elgin Ridge). This is an intriguing wine because it […]

Privileged access

Last week I was in Bordeaux with a small group, and as well as tasting through most of the top 2017s, we visited a couple of prestigious Châteaux, and got a very brief look at the 2018 vintage. It was a lovely experience, and we really felt like we were being granted privileged access.

This week […]