On Champagne bubbles

I was reminded last night about how bubbles aren’t really a property of a Champagne (or sparkling wine). I poured the same Champagne into two different glasses. In one, the bubbles were fine – a steady stream. In the other, they were big and clumsy looking. The same wine.

It’s common to hear wine professionals comment [...]

'Eating sugar': why old sweet wines often taste drier

There’s a well known phenomenon in the world of wine that so far has been unexplained. It’s the way that as sweet wines age, they taste less sweet. If you get a 30 year old Sauternes, it isn’t nearly as sweet tasting as a younger wine, even if both started out with the same level [...]

Randall's grand plan: 10 000 new grape varieties

Randall Grahm is at it again. The Willy Wonka of the wine world has a new plan. No, it’s not global domination. Rather, it’s the creation of 10 000 new vine varieties as his legacy to the wine world. To this end, he has today launched an indiegogo crowd-funding initiative to raise some cash.

The idea [...]

Artificial intelligence, perception and wine

Part of the wine list, RN74, Seattle

I’m on the road again. This time visiting Washington State wineries. Did you know that Washington State is the USA’s second largest wine state, with 20 000 hectares of vines, about double the size of Oregon, and one-fifth the vineyard area of South Africa? I shall be looking [...]

On raw tasting ability: is there a Messi of wine tasting?

As a Manchester City fan, it was a little uncomfortable watching last night’s game against Barcelona. The Catalans were much the better team, and had it not been for the heroics of Joe Hart, the City goalkeeper, the scoreline could have been a lot worse than the 1-0 it ended up as. Lionel Messi, one [...]

The perfect wine critic, and assigning confidence to scores

Yesterday I tasted 62 different Brunellos from the 2010 vintage. I wrote short tasting notes, and gave each wine a score.

But it’s quite a task tasting 62 wines like this together in a short space of time. Do I think I got all the wines right? And how much confidence do I have in my [...]

In action: the video from my talk on minerals and terroir in Barcelona

So the video of my talk from the Wine and Culinary Forum (nice review of the forum here from top Canadian wine journo Treve Ring) is finally live and posted to Youtube. Here it is:

 

The effect of herbicides on soil structure

I’m just preparing a presentation I’m giving in the Netherlands tomorrow, and I came across two pictures I took in the vineyards at Waterkloof in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The first is of one of their vineyards that has been managed biodynamically from the start, which is above. [It's not an old vineyard.] The soils had [...]

The Perfect Meal, with Professor Charles Spence

I’ve just written up the launch of Professor Charles Spence’s new book, The Perfect Meal. It’s a really good book that examines how science can help us understand what it is that creates an epic dining experience, and the insights he shared at the launch were brilliant. You can read my extensive report here.

Here’s a short film [...]

Comparing the same wine sealed with cork and screwcap

The closure debate has moved on quite a bit since the days when it was practically pitched warfare between the screwcap advocates (mainly Australia and New Zealand) and those who liked the traditional solution of natural cork. Now there’s a sort of truce.

For commercial wines, few have a problem with screwcaps. They’re taint free, they [...]