You don't drink the same wine at home

Wine is situational. Wine doesn’t exist outside of a drinking experience, and that experience is part of our perception of wine.

Often, in the wine world, people talk about the significant extra cost of drinking a wine in a restaurant. ‘It’s an outrage,’ they say. ‘I’m paying three times retail – or more – in order […]

Champagne Pommery's English sparkling wine

This is the first English sparkling wine launched by a Champagne producer. It’s the result of a partnership between Champagne Pommery and Hampshire-based winery Hattingley Valley. The wine is named Louis Pommery, which is Pommery’s new brand for its non-Champagne sparklers, which now also include a Californian wine. The Pommery chef de cave Theirry Gasco […]

Just because I'm learning it doesn't mean I'm stupid

Most introduction to wine books are deeply unsatisfying. Why?

It’s because when people try to take the role of educator, they forget that many of their readers are actually quite smart. In many cases, the educator is dealing with people who are significantly smarter than they are.

Educators usually patronize their readers. They make the mistake of […]

Resisting the puritans

When I was much younger, one of my favourite TV shows was the Rowan Atkinson comedy Black Adder, and of the various series, the second, set in Elizabethan England, was perhaps the funniest. In one episode his puritanical aunt and her husband came to dinner, and in this classic comedy of errors Black Adder is […]

Sowing seeds of change

Kaikoura, New Zealand. The 2016 earthquake lifted the sea bed significantly

We live in a complicated, turbulent world.

I guess it has always been complicated and turbulent. Every generation seems to think things have deteriorated a bit. But the world does seem particularly troubled at the moment, although I understand completely the perspective effect: we see […]

Judging the New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards

PJ and the two Glover bros

For a long time the main wine competition in New Zealand was the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. After last year’s competition they decided to pull their sponsorship and focus on their own Fine Wines of New Zealand initiative. So New Zealand Wine Growers have filled this gap with […]

Some lovely wines at Greg's place

A bit after the fact, but I discovered some notes on my phone from a really lovely day’s drinking with some wine trade crew at Greg Sherwood’s place back in late July. The notes are a little terse, as they were taken on an iPhone, but I felt that these wines needed to be recorded. […]

Asterley Bros Dispense Amaro, where England meets Sicily

Had this the other night at the fab Luca. It’s an English Amaro from Asterley Bros.

I nurture a secret affection for Amaros. It stems from my time with the Canadians, judging the National Wine Awards for the last five years, and visiting often. The Canadian crew have a big thing about Amaros, and in particular, […]

Some highlights from the Wine Society (2 of 2)

Some more highlights from The Wine Society tasting on Thursday.

Barbadillo Solear Manzanilla NV Spain
£5.95 The Wine Society
15% alcohol
This is such a bargain. Salty, tangy and yeasty this has nice bright fresh apple and citrus fruity notes, in an elegant, bright style. Nice purity. 91/100

Avaniel 2017 Ribeira del Duero, Spain
£8.25 The Wine Society
13.5% alcohol
Fine, fresh, aromatic […]

Some highlights from The Wine Society (part 1 of 2)

Some lovely wines, as usual, at The Wine Society press tasting yesterday. Here’s my first six-pack of good buys. Lots to like in the £10-15 range, which is handy.

Domaine Sylvain Pataille Bourgogne Aligoté 2016 Burgundy, France
£12.50 The Wine Society
13% alcohol
Fermented in 500 litre barrels. Fine and lemony with lovely pear fruit richness and a subtle […]