Back at the IWC for some more wine judging

It’s Tranche 1 of the 2018 International Wine Challenge this week. [In case you are wondering why it’s 2018, not 2017, a couple of years ago an extra week’s judging was included in November in order to (1) take some of the pressure off the two-weeks’ judging process in April and (2) suit better the [...]

Wine writing is drowning

Wine writing is in its death throes, and there’s not much that can be done about it. [If it's not already dead, that is.]

Why? It is because it is drowning in the sea of content. [And here we're talking content as in media, rather than a state of peaceful happiness.]

This is not because there aren’t [...]

Visiting two excellent sake producers

On my recent Japanese trip I had a chance to visit two high-end artisanal sake breweries. It was really interesting, especially coming from a wine background, to see how sake is made.

Rice at various degrees of polishing

The sake making process begins with the polishing of rice. The amount of material removed is expressed in [...]

In my wandering, am I lost?

I woke in the middle of the night. This occasionally happens. When it does, my mind is frequently overactive.

The dead of night is rarely the best time to think about deep things. I remember as a child that the shadows on the curtains became monsters; as an adult, it’s sort of similar – fears and [...]

It's all about balance

As a wine journalist, I’m always excited by new things. The latest. The trendiest. The novel. People at the extremes.

That’s good: these things are all exciting. Change is part of life itself, and time keeps moving on.

And when it comes to wine itself, I’m often drawn to things that are a bit on the edge. [...]

Tasting some Japanese wines from the Hokkaido region

Today I got to taste some Japanese wines, as part of a tasting for Yamamoto Akihiko’s www.winereport.jp publication.

These wines are all from Hokkaido, a relatively new wine region in the far north of Japan that is now the most important in the country. Because of global warming it’s now possible to plant vinifera varieties here, [...]

Score inflation is everywhere and it's killing wine criticism

These towers used to be the tallest….

Back in 1984, I sat my ‘O’ level exams at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe. I was a quiet, geeky pupil – a classic in-betweener, friends with some of the cool set but not part of it, and an ally of the square, loser kids. And [...]

New releases from urban winery Ldn Cru, Gavin's last

Gavin Monery, winemaker, Ldn Cru

Yesterday afternoon I met with winemaker Gavin Monery, to taste through the new wines from urban winery Ldn Cru, plus the previous vintage. It was Gavin’s last tasting, but he was keen to show the wines because he’s very proud of them.

There have been changes at Roberson, the wine agency [...]

On wine prices: the've risen a lot, but this isn't all bad

The wine world is a lot more interesting now than when I first started drinking wine in earnest back in the mid-1990s.

At the same time, the prices for fine wines are much higher than when I started drinking, to the point that they are now out of reach for most people.

Case in point: the first [...]

What's the role of emotion in the perception of wine?

One of the aspects I didn’t cover much in my discussions of perception in I Taste Red, is how emotion affects the perception of the world around us.

When we are consciously aware of things around us, we create a model of the world that is a seamless, unified representation that includes input from all the [...]