People, places, landscapes and change

I’m currently intrigued by the idea of being from a place. Thanks to a friend, I discovered the author Robert Macfarlane, and I’m currently working through his book The Old Ways. He’s a gifted writer with an incredible voice, and in this book he takes us on his journeys discovering old paths and routes throughout […]

Some nice wines from specialist importer Tiger Vines

A while back I had a chance to try some wines from specialist importer Tiger Vines, which I wrote up here. I recently caught up with James Thomas again, and he was showing the following wines. These are my notes: some real gems here.

Domaine de la Roche Bleue Jasnieres 2016 Loire, France
Organic, 13% alcohol. Sebastien […]

Flaws in wine? What about flaws in people?

As many readers know, my latest book was on wine faults. Titled Flawless, it examines the different wine faults one by one, and tries to put them in context. Ultimately, my goal in writing this book was to have a more nuanced debate on faults in wine, especially because many ‘fault’ compounds can be good […]

More airport lounge wines

Off to Vancouver, so a bit of time in BA’s T3 Galleries lounge. Sampled the wines, just as I did a couple of weeks ago.

Reata Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2016 California
14% alcohol. This is a new one to me, and it’s clearly a reasonably ambitious wine, although fairly technologically made. Quite rich with some apricot, pineapple […]

Nagano region, Japan (9) Izutsu Winery

Based in Shiojiri, Izutsu Winery is, by Nagano standards, quite a big operation. This is part of the Kikyogahara Wine Valley, which is the oldest wine region in Nagano, with over 100 years history. The first winery licence in Nagano was granted in 1872, and in 1890 grapes were grown here: these were the labrusca […]

Reviewing eight British Airways lounge wines

I find myself in the airport lounge with some time to spare, so I thought I’d write notes on the lounge wines. I’m a geek! Destination this time is Japan to investigate the Nagano wine region in more depth. I don’t expect much from lounge wines, because airlines’ wine budgets are very limited, even for […]

Central Otago (8) Chard Farm

With just a shade under 100 hectares of their own vineyards, Chard Farm are one of the larger players in the Central Otago region. Their beautifully situated home vineyard, at the end of a slightly terrifying 2 km track at the side of a gorge in Gibbston, is one of the prettiest I’ve seen, but […]

Be a wave catcher

There’s a lot of luck involved in success. I think it’s Gary Player, the legendary South African golfer, who came up with the famous line: ‘the more I practice the luckier I get.’

It’s a good philosophy to have. Rather than blaming others for our lack of success, it gets us working hard and persevering in […]

Are the fake half-price wine deals returning?

A few years back wine writers in the UK campaigned against the fake half-price supermarket wine deals. I even did some filming for Rip Off Britain where we went undercover to a few supermarkets to expose this rather dishonest practice.

Using price reductions to promote products is nothing new. Some industries – such as kitchens and […]

2018 in review: quite a year (part 2 of 2)

June finished with a five day, four city trip to Ireland to promote Beaujolais wines with a series of masterclasses. We did Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick. Here I am with Phoebe and Christina, my fellow travellers, and Mick, who showed us some good spots in Dublin.

The Gilda, at the fab Fish Shop, where we […]