Top new world fizz from Graham Beck and Josef Chromy

Super-impressed by these two sparkling wines from the ‘new world’ – specifically South Africa and Australia. They’re both available from UK retailer Marks & Spencer (I strongly suspect that the Rhona is the re-badged Blanc de Blancs from Graham Back; M&S like to have exclusive labels).

[A side note on scoring. I hate the 100 point [...]

Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon, comparing 2007 and 2013

Nice to be able to try these two Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillons side by side. As many of you know, Semillon is the speciality of Australia’s Hunter Valley wine region. Despite the fact that this is a hot region, Semillon grown here makes very fresh, low alcohol, pure citrussy wines that age beautifully. Elizabeth, from [...]

Cloudburst: the remarkable emergence of a cult Margaret River wine brand

Cloudburst is a really interesting and slightly controversial wine project in Margaret River. Interesting? Because the wines are so good. Controversial? Because of high prices, despite the lack of any track record.

Owner Will Berliner (above) wasn’t previously involved with wine, but has always loved plants. He studied plant biology and owned forests in the USA, [...]

Vinteloper Odeon Pinot Noir 2012 Adelaide Hills

Dave Bowley, the Vinteloper, came round to dinner. And he bought this: one of the best Australian Pinot Noirs that I have tasted. It’s from a single Vineyard in Lenswood, Adelaide Hills that was planted in 1986. The slope faces east; the clone is  D5V12; the elevation is 550m.

Winemaking: pigeage by hand & foot, wild [...]

Lunch with Mac Forbes

Mac Forbes was in town so we lunched at 28:50 in Maddox Street. I’ve long been a fan of his wines, and wrote about him at length here. But I can’t believe it has been almost four years since we last caught up properly!

He’s currently in a happy place, after going through a more difficult period.

’12 [...]

Wakefield The Pioneer Shiraz and The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon

Wakefield, known in Australia as Taylors, are a leading Clare Valley producer, and they have recently begun making two very high-end wines: The Pioneer Shiraz and The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon. I tasted the 2012 releases. These are very fine, expressive wines, not just relying on power and concentration. They are fermented in upturned barrels, which [...]

Penfolds Bin 707 1993

This is a wine I bought back in the 1990s from a UK supermarket for around £16 (it was on offer). How times have changed! Current releases are super-expensive. This isn’t supposed to be a great year for Bin 707, but it has aged very nicely, shedding the new American oak it was raised in, [...]

A taste of the Barossa, back to 1967

A lovely tasting this afternoon at Philglas & Swiggot in Battersea. It was an interesting set of Barossa wines, presented by James March of the Barossa Wine and Grape Association, spanning the 1960s to the current day.

This tasting reminded me why I fell in love with the Barossa when I first discovered wine in the [...]

Cricket, a five-for and a Vinteloper

Played wine trade cricket today. First game of the season, versus Fullers, at Chiswick Park. It’s such a pretty ground, quintessentially English and fringed with trees. The only problem: retrieving balls that have been dispatched past the boundary. Most significantly, this was veteran Wine Trade and Fullers cricketer Mark Dally’s final game before retirement. A [...]

Amery Vineyards Block 6 Shiraz 1989

My wine trade buddy Greg Sherwood brought this wine around to dinner, and served it blind. It was a real treat. I reckoned it was properly old, and new world, but didn’t spot Australia. It’s back in the era when top Aussie wines had moderate alcohol levels – this was just 12.5%. These day, the [...]