Two great own-label wines from Fortnum & Mason - Franken and Margaret River

You have to love the way Fortnum & Mason get the world’s greatest wine producers to make their own-label wines. Here are two such examples, which we drunk yesterday afternoon while judging the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards. They were superb. The judging was fun, too. Anthony Rose, Victoria Moore and I were [...]

Wakefield (Taylors) The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Back in 1969, Bill Taylor bought 440 acres of land on the banks of the Wakefield River, near Auburn in the Clare valley. At this time, the Australian wine industry was focused on making fortified wines. But Bill wanted to make great Cabernet to rival the top wines of Bordeaux.

Taylors (known in export markets [...]

Mother's Milk Shiraz

I do like the First Drop wines with their creative branding. This Barossa Shiraz, called ‘Mother’s Milk’, is really good. It’s properly Barossa, with ripe fruit it’s key signature, but it’s combined with freshness and definition. The end result is delicious and drinkable, but with a hint of seriousness, even though it is made for [...]

Two superb Chardonnays, Yarra and Burgundy

I was presented with these two wines blind by my brother-in-law Beavington. It was a fascinating challenge: both were clearly serious expressions of Chardonnay (we share an appreciation for great Chardonnay). But where were they from? I was in and out of Burgundy, Victoria (Australia) and New Zealand a few times. Subtle cues led me [...]

Some amazing fine wines at The Sampler

Latour 1961 in the glass

Each Christmas The Sampler puts some rather special wines on its sampling machines, and this year is no exception. I popped into the South Kensington shop to try them; Islington has a different set of wines on. They aren’t cheap, but for many of these wines it’s a once in [...]

Jamsheed Garden Gully Riesling

I love Jamsheed. One of my favourite Australian producers. This Riesling has just a hint of sweetness but it finishes quite dry. It’s a serious effort, and a good bet for the cellar.

Jamsheed Garden Gully Riesling 2011 Great Western, Australia
11.8% alcohol. Hand picked Riesling from vines planted at the end of the 19th century, barrel [...]

The 2013 Polish Hill and Springvale Rieslings from Jeffrey Grosset

Jeffrey Grosset is widely regarded to be Australia’s top Riesling producer. Based in the Clare Valley, in South Australia, he makes two premium Rieslings from different sites, and they are both brilliant. I had a chance to try the recently released 2013s and here are my verdicts.

Grosset Springvale Riesling 2013 Clare Valley, Australia
Lively, precise, very pure and bone [...]

The remarkable Penfolds recorking clinic comes to London

Since 1991, celebrated Australian producer Penfolds have been running a series of recorking clinics for owners of bottles of their wines that are over 15 years old. ‘We’ve recorked/certified over 120 000 bottles,’ says chief winemaker Peter Gago, who was hosting this London event, the first to be held here since 2008.

Peter Gago with [...]

Cullen Mangan East Block

This is pretty special. It’s a biodynamic red from Western Australia that weighs in at just 12.5% alcohol, but has no lack of flavour at all. There’s currently a bit of oak sticking out, but this is a super wine that will age well.

Cullen Mangan East Block 2012 Margaret River, Australia
A blend of 54% [...]

Impressive new wines from Tasmania's Tolpuddle Vineyard

Very excited to be able to try these two new wines. They are a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay from Tasmania’s Tolpuddle vineyard, and represent the first vintage to be released under the new owners, Shaw & Smith.

In 2011 Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith bought the 20 hectare vineyard, which had been planted in [...]