Pedogenic lime in arid vineyard soils - how does it affect the flavour of wine?

When it comes to vineyard soils, limestone is all the rage. But there’s one source of limestone in vineyard soils that isn’t much talked about. It’s the slow formation of limestone in arid vineyard soils, known as pedogenic lime (and alternatively caliche and calcrete). I first encountered it in Central Otago, and then bumped into [...]

A quick trip to Argentina, with Doña Paula

So we flew. From Santiago, over the Andes, to Mendoza. The two cities are quite close geographically, but very different.

Mendoza, in the far east of Argentina, is mostly desert. It’s a high desert plain, but where there’s water, there are oases (just 3% of the surface area of the province has enough water for agriculture). [...]

Tasting some interesting white wines from Argentina

This was a great chance to taste some diverse white wines from Argentina with three interesting Argentine wine people. There’s Edgardo del Popolo, who works for Susana Balbo and his own project called Per Se; Sebastian Zuccardi who’s doing his own wine projects as well as working with the family winery; and Matías Riccitelli, who [...]

White Stones and White Bones: terroir-based Chardonnays from Catena

It was very interesting to try these two high-end terroir-based Chardonnays from Catena, and then the next day to have a look at the soils that produced them.

They both come from the same block in the Adrianna Vineyard, high up in the Uco Valley at 1450 m altitude. But even within the same block, there’s [...]

Dinner at 1884 Francis Mallmann, Mendoza

On my last night in Mendoza I dined alone. It’s something I rarely do on my travels: often I’ll use a free evening as a chance to skip a meal and try to avoid becoming fat, but my hosts had kindly booked me a table at 1884 Restaurante Francis Mallmann, one of Mendoza’s most highly [...]

Some pictures from Mendoza, Argentina

I have been in Mendoza for two and a half days now, and it has been a remarkable time. I have been with Catena’s Instituteof Wine, a research department bringing together academic resources with those of the winery, to look at some very interesting questions in wine research, in a scientifically credible way.

For now, some [...]

In Argentina

I’m in Mendoza, Argentina. I just arrived, so the picture above is from my last visit, showing Catena’s high-altitude Adrianna vineyard.

Today started around 5 pm yesterday when I left for the airport. I flew overnight to Sao Paolo with TAM, then this morning flew to rainy Buenos Aires, and from there to sunny Mendoza.

I’m here [...]

Chandon Brut, serious fizz from Argentina

Chandon have just launched their Argentine sparkling wines in the UK. They are really impressive, made in a rich but balanced style. Retail price is around £16, which is expensive for non-Champagne sparkling, but I think these wines justify this price.

Chandon Methode Traditionelle Brut NV Argentina
A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Very rich and [...]

Cheval des Andes vertical tasting

It was in March 2008 that I visited Cheval des Andes, a vineyard owned by LVMH in a joint venture with Pierre Lurton of Cheval Blanc, based in the Las Compuertas district of Luján de Cuyo in Argentina’s Mendoza wine region. So, some five years later, I caught up with winemaker Nicolas Audebert (pictured above, [...]

Five eclectic wines at the DIAM Rioja conference

Today I gave a talk on social media and the wine industry at a conference in Logrono (Rioja) organized by DIAM, the closure company. Also speaking was José Penin, author of the respected wine guide, chosen to represent the existing media. I was chosen because I have made a reputation with more modern media.

As well [...]