The Manchester derby

So, today was fun. It was the Manchester derby.

Some explanation is needed. In the English Premier League, this is one of the biggest of all derby games (when two teams from the same city play each other). And at the moment, arguably the two best teams in the country are the two Manchester clubs. City [...]

Press trip dynamics, and Tuckman's model

I’m on another press trip. This time, it’s to Champagne.

One of the most interesting things about press trips is the group dynamics, especially when you are travelling with people you don’t know. On my last trip (the group picture is above), I mentioned this to our Wine & Partners host, Andrea, and she told me [...]

Exploring a limited creative space: black and white and wine

I have recently been playing around with black and white photography. Although I would never claim to be a serious photographer, I enjoy taking pictures, and I love images that look good (to me, at least). The decision to switch my EP-5 to black and white (there’s an ‘art’ setting) has made me think about [...]

On bias, dogma and fashion in the wine world

It’s very easy to lose perspective. In wine as in life. And none of us are totally immune to fashions, to trends, and the latest movements. And if we get swept up by these trends, we can drift easily into dogma. It’s something that’s best avoided. [The problem is, if we realized our loss of [...]

Writing a new book: time to do some research

This week I had a new book commissioned. It’s one I have wanted to write for a while.

Entitled ‘I taste red’, it explores the interesting topic of the flavour of wine, and its perception. There is so much to explore here: taste, smell, perception, psychophysics, philosophy, synaesthesia, the language of wine, aesthetic appraisal, ratings, competitions, [...]

On going back, and beginnings and endings

Yesterday I went back to the building that I’d worked in for 15 years. It was for the Gonzalez Byass tasting, which was held at 41 Portland Place, an 18th Century Adam-style terrace that is now home to the Academy of Medical Sciences. I started working there – it was then another scientific charity, the [...]

Some lovely affordable bottles from the Co-operative

Tasted at the Co-op press tasting on Tuesday. Some nice affordable wines, and one slightly pricier bottle.

Trapiche Pure Malbec 2014 Uco valley, Mendoza, Argentina
14% alcohol. This unoaked Malbec is just so lovely and drinkable. It has a floral violet and blackcurrant nose with some black cherries. So pretty on the palate with pure cherry fruit. [...]

On reading

If you are relatively smart, then the world can be an unhappy place, particularly during the teenage years. Smart people stick out. Many people are suspicious of smartness, if indeed they can detect it in the first place. This raises the question: do you have to be smart to realize that someone else is smart? [...]

Consistency is desirable, but at what cost?

I had a conversation with a beer brewer recently. I asked him whether size was an advantage in brewing, in that having lots of shiny new kit might help you make better beer. His response was that it buys you consistency. He then went on a semi-rant about small London breweries in railway arches and [...]

Clayver: a new ceramic vessel for elevage

Picture courtesy Jarkko Peranen

I have just written up the wines of Candialle, a Chianti producer run by ex-pat Finnish winegrower Jarkko Peränen. He has been experimenting with a new vessel for fermenting and ageing wine, called Clayver.

First we had oak barrels, then concrete eggs, then back to terracotta, and now? Ceramic balls.

Jarkko has 10% of [...]