Naiades: a serious Spanish white

Spain, like Portugal, is best known for its red wines. But it is exciting to see some serious Spanish whites emerging. Like this: a thrillingly complex expression of the Verdejo grape variety. It’s big, bold, but not overblown – and coming back to it after 5 days in the fridge, it is still beautifully focused […]

30670 - an appealing Languedoc red

This is a slightly curiously labelled wine. 30670 is the postcode of where the wine comes from, and it’s made by Domaine de la Dromadaire (the camel’s domaine?), which is a partnership by the Goellner and Redon families in the Languedoc. The innovative packaging contains a really appealing Languedoc red, which flirts with jamminess but […]

A brilliant 2009 Beaujolais

Beaujolais is a bit unfashionable these days. So many of the wines failed to deliver what Gamay from this part of the world is known for – ‘fun’.

Kermit Lynch famously described Beaujolais as the ‘one-night stand of wines.’ Fortunately, with the 2009 vintage, Beaujolais seems to have rediscovered fun, and mingled in a hint of […]

Champagne Philipponnat ‘Cuvee 1522’ 2000

This bottle is continuing my recent exploration of Champagne Philipponnat, and I’m pleased to report it is also pretty serious. It is a blend heavy in Pinot Noir with a low dosage (the sugar added at bottling), and it’s a beautifully savoury, gastronomic fizz.

Champagne Philipponnat ‘Cuvee 1522’ Grand Cru 2000
60% Ay Pinot Noir; 40% Grand […]

Impressive new releases from Sant'ana, Portugal

Nick Oakley popped round on Thursday and brought with him some new releases from Lisbon-region producer Quinta de Sant’ana, who he represents in the UK. I visited in March (report here), and tried cask samples of these three whites. It’s nice to see them in bottle – I think they are really good. UK retail […]

Striking but wonderful white Rioja

These two vintages of Finca Allende’s white Rioja took me by surprise. I’ve not had all that many good experiences of white Rioja (this is largely because of winemaking choices, rather than the intrinsic quality of the grapes – there are some fabulous old white vines in the region), but these two wines were deeply […]

An elegant Languedoc red: Ch l'Hospitalet

This wine, from Gerard Bertrand’s Ch l’Hospitalet, is really impressive. Quite elegant, which is an achievement for a warm region like the Languedoc.

Château l’Hospitalet La Reserve 2007 La Clape, Languedoc, France
13.5% alcohol. A blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache. Beautifully aromatic with sweet, pure berry and cherry fruit notes. Quite liqueur-like. The […]

Alsace season, 4: Dirler Belzbrunnen Riesling

Alsace Riesling is really interesting. It can be dry, off-dry or sweet, and usually has more body than German examples. The best examples rank among the highest expressions of this versatile variety, which seems to be able to make great wines in a number of styles. This one is from the south of the Alsace […]

Vintage Port 2008: Noval and Romaneira

I have some Vintage Port from 2008 open at the moment. First up, two with a sort of family resemblance (Christian Seely is involved in both). Quinta do Noval has, over recent vintages, established itself as one of the top Douro properties. Romaneira is one to watch: a fantastically situated Quinta only recently renovated and […]

Champagne Philipponnat Grand Blanc, 2000 and 2004

I’m a big fan of Philipponnat. The Grand Blanc is a blend of Grand and Premier Cru Chardonnay, part fermented in wood. It’s a serious wine indeed, and here I tried two vintages, the 2000 and 2004. [Technically, I actually drank both vintages. They were fantastic and this isn’t a wine for spitting.]

Champagne Philipponnat 2000 […]