Dinner at 67 with uncle Erni

Gareth Birchley of Berry Bros & Rudd (and Come Dine With Me fame) convened a small dinner. Birchley, who was described by Telegraph wine columnist Victoria Moore as ‘a boisterous youngster with an estuary accent and a fondness for following up Michelin-starred dinners with Dom Perignon in hot tubs,’ is good buddies with Ernst Loosen, [...]

Alexandre Jouveaux Combarnier (2010) NV Vin de France

This is quite a wine. It’s seven years old, made in a very natural way, and it’s still incredibly reductive, with a strong matchstick/mineral character. There are some subtle oxidative notes, too, but overall the wine is very fresh. This is a wine that clearly demonstrates that reduction is not simply the opposite of oxidation, [...]

Lovely wines at Noble Rot

Was in Noble Rot on Friday night with Mark and Dan. It ended up becoming quite a big evening and we had some nice wines. How did we manage in London before Noble Rot came along?

Three Champagnes. Jacques Lassaigne Nature Blanc de Blancs 2007 was fine, mineral and detailed with a citrus core. I really [...]

A couple of lovely Chardonnays: Kutch and Bachelet-Monnot

Had a couple of lovely Chardonnays side by side: one from Burgundy, the other from the cool Sonoma Coast.

Bachelet-Monnot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts 2011 Burgundy, France
Lemony and taut, this has a lovely bright mineral quality to the crystalline citrus fruit. It’s beautifully expressive with crisp lemon fruit with well integrated acidity. Very pure and [...]

Wines of the year (2) older vintages

So, continuing with my theme of wines of the year, I have gone through my notes and pulled out the highlights. This post is concentrating on older wines, pre-2000. I’m well aware that this list looks like a bit of a boast. I apologise. I make an effort to benchmark with established classics and older [...]

Icon wines at The Sampler, including Latour 82, La Chapelle 78 and Ygay 59

Each year The Sampler put some high-end ‘icon’ wines on their enomatic machines. It’s a real highlight tasting through them, and this year was no exception. The highlights included the almost perfect Latour 1982 and the thrilling La Chapelle 1978.

Domaine de la Romanée Conti Richebourg 1995 Burgundy, France
Beautifully aromatic with cherries, plums and fine spicies. [...]

Jean-Paul and Benoît Droin Chablis 2015

I was given this blind to taste. Immediately I opted for very serious Chardonnay, and Chablis in quick succession. I wrote my note and scored it. Then I was stunned to find out that this wasn’t a grand cru or premier cru, but just a regular Chablis. It’s quite brilliant.

Jean-Paul and Benoît Droin Chablis 2015 [...]

Domaine Leflaive's switch to DIAM

Celebrated Burgundy producer Domaine Leflaive have switched away from natural cork to DIAM for all their wines, beginning with the soon-to-be released 2014 vintage.

I was alterted to this news by a tweet from Neal Martin, and I spoke on the phone this morning with Adam Brett-Smith of exclusive UK agents Corney & Barrow, who confirmed [...]

Sylvain Pataille, master of Marsannay

Over the last 15 years Sylvain Pataille has built up his domaine from scratch. He first made wine in 1999, while he was still employed in an enology laboratory in Beaune, but he released his debut vintage in 2001. His domaine is now 15 hectares, all located within Marsannay, which is at the top of [...]

Dinner with Dirk: Chave 1988, De Vogüé Bonnes Mares 1969 and Taylors Vargellas 1976

Dirk Niepoort is one of my favourite people on the planet. Last night we dined at Noble Rot, and shared some very special bottles.

Chave Hermitage 1988 Northern Rhöne, France
This bottle was pretty much perfect. In beautiful condition and still a deep, primary colour. Lovely detailed black cherries, spice, tar, pepper and meat notes, as well [...]