On beauty

This morning I was driving. And, as I usually do when I am driving, I listened to Radio 4. [If I were ever to leave the UK, I think one of the things I would miss most about this small, quirky country is the BBC, and specifically Radio 4.] It was Desert Island Discs, and [...]

Tasting notes are really bad, aren't they?

I think I really hate tasting notes. But I write them all the time. Have to. It’s a large part of my job.

I don’t think my tasting notes are absolutely the worst of all. But I still dislike them, for several reasons.

First of all, most tasting notes are silly. This is largely because it is [...]

£5.32 per grape berry

Top wines are very expensive these days. It must make it tricky for anyone dealing with the production side: a small mistake could prove costly. You can’t afford to discard too many barrels of Grand Cru Burgundy, and you probably don’t want to be too picky in sorting the fruit.

I did a few back of [...]

How not to lose your love for wine

Every now and then I meet someone in the wine trade who has lost their love for wine. [Maybe they never had it, but of all the trades to get involved with, wine has to be one of the prime candidates for a business you enter because of your love for the product you are [...]

How the London wine scene has changed for the better

There’s a good article in today’s Independent on the ‘Rock’n’roll’ sommeliers who are replacing ‘wine list dinosaurs’ in London’s restaurant scene. I’m not sure about the ‘rock’n’roll’ descriptor, but it’s great to see younger somms curating interesting wine lists and then selling these wines to punters. It’s just one symptom of the way that the [...]

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 [...]