If I were to set wine exams, I'd ask some rather different questions

If I were to set wine exams, I think I’d ask some rather different questions. Let’s think of a few.

1. Tell me about a wine that you once fell in love with?
Now this is a vague question that isn’t particularly well defined. But we’re good with that, because we want people to give an answer [...]

Establishing geographic indications for wine

I’ve just written an article on ‘Developing Appellations’, which discusses some of the controversies and pitfalls surrounding the creation of geographic indications (GIs) in emerging wine regions.

Here are a few brief thoughts.

First, it’s quite useful to read this document on the topic from the World Intellectual Property Organization. It’s a broad look at the whole [...]

How to have a cool, happening palate

Scared of being labelled as an old-timer has-been with yesterday’s palate? Want to stay relevant in the modern world of wine? Want to be able to hang with the cool kids?

You have come to the right place. I’m here to help.

By following my essential guide to cool wine, you will be able to recalibrate your [...]

The question people always want to ask: how do you make a living?

I realize that I am fortunate to be doing the job I do. It’s hugely interesting and fun. But there’s one question that people I meet always want to ask me: how is it that you earn a living?

First, let me say that it is a living. I don’t have a private income (that would [...]

Some great experiences at the incredible FMV tasting

Fields, Morris & Verdin have long had an enviable portfolio of great producers. This was bolstered a few years ago by the acquisition of Richards Walford in 2012, of course, and now the line up of producers they represent is a great and the good of the wine world. So when they do a portfolio [...]

Give me people who care

Consider the natural wine movement. I do, often.

It is not perfect, but at least most people who align themselves with this movement care. They believe in something, and it matters to them. It drives them; it motivates them; it underpins their work.

Oftentimes, I worry that I don’t care enough.

I want to be surrounded by people [...]

RAW and the London Wine Fair

I am almost overwhelmed. Since Thursday, I have been tasting almost continually. And two events in particular – the RAW fair on Sunday (above) and Monday, and the London Wine Fair on Monday through to today (below) – have been particularly intensive.

There is just so much wine in the world. That’s clearly a good thing. [...]

Lunch at Francis and Bronwen's place

Lunch today at Francis and Bronwen Percival’s place in Borough Market. As you’d expect, fabulous food and drink. Also present, Neil Beckett and Jasmine Hirsch. It was a lovely afternoon, and my brief notes on the wines and food can’t do it justice. We began with two excellent Champagnes. You always get good Champagne here.

Champagne [...]

Two gins from Inverroche, South Africa

While I was in Franschhoek, Rob Armstrong of Haut Espoir introduced me to two gins, both from local producer Inverroche. Included in the list of botanicals is wild Cape fynbos. They were quite lovely.

Inverroche Amber Gin
43% alcohol
Gold/amber colour. Lovely spicy, tangy, pithy notes with marmalade and mint. Some oily, spicy notes, too. This has a [...]

Some gins!

I’m a big fan of gin. Gin also happens to be quite trendy at the moment, especially in Spain, where you can’t move for gin bars and where gin and tonics come in big bowl shaped glasses and are wonderful.

Here’s a round-up of some gins that landed in my sample pile recently. I tried them [...]