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 [...]

Clos Roche Blanche Cuvee Pif 2011

This is a really drinkable, fresh Loire red with plenty of personality, but also real harmony. It’s a blend of Cot (Malbec) and Cabernet Franc, named after the owners’ (Catherine Roussel and Didier Barrouillet) dog, Pif. I picked it up in local wine shop Noble Green Wines, the first time I have seen any of [...]

In Canada, day 1, at Pearl Morissette

Chickens at Pearl Morissette, a special breed from South Africa

So I arrived in Canada yesterday afternoon and headed down to Pearl Morissette winery in Jordan, Niagara, where I am staying for a couple of nights. A few friends joined from Toronto, and we had a great in-depth tasting with Francois Morissette in the winery.
Francois [...]

Syrah from Canada! And Gamay, and Cabernet Franc

I’m steadily writing up my producer visits from my recent trip to Ontario wine country. The latest report is from the visit to Tawse, where my highest-scoring wine was actually a small-production Syrah.

I love cool climate Syrah, and Niagara can do it pretty well if this bottle is anything to go by. Of course, you’d [...]

Day 5 in South Africa

I stayed overnight at the lovely Schulphoek guest house, a short distance along from Hermanus. It’s a lovely spot, and in the morning I went for a run along the sea front, along a beautiful coastal path. This was soul-restoring.

Back at the guest house, Peter-Allan Finlayson rocked up to show me his wines. His Hemel en [...]

A brilliant Tuscan Cabernet Franc

Regular readers will know that I’m not really a super-Tuscan kind of guy. But here’s one that enticed, despite its ripeness and richness. It’s a varietal Cabernet Franc, and it’s lovely – although they don’t really give it away, at £40-ish a bottle. Mind you, compared with its peer group, it’s well priced for such [...]

A super Loire red from Frederic Mabileau

I’m a bit of a sucker for Loire reds. They’re the antithesis of the ‘international’ style of red wine, and they’re quite difficult to ‘get’. But they’re lovely. It’s so great to have wines like these, with a point of difference. Although I have to admit that I ordered a Mabileau wine blind in a [...]

Two natural-tasting, affordable French wines

Always good to find decent, natural tasting French wines that I can afford. Here are a couple imported directly by London merchant Roberson. Both are organic.

Julien Sunier Beaujolais-Villages 2008
12.5% alcohol. Fresh, bright and quite light with cherry and berry fruits, some grippy, slightly grainy tannins and good acidity. Subtle earthy, mineral notes add interest. Some [...]

A deliciously drinkable Loire red from Druet

I still buy wine, even though I could drink myself to oblivion on free samples. A while back I blogged on Druet’s Cent Boisselees 2003 Bourgeuil, and on the back of this I have just bought six of the 2005 Cent Boisselees and six of this current wine, also in the 2005 vintage.

Now these are [...]

Cabernet Franc ambassadors tasting

Very enjoyable day’s work today, judging 103 Cabernet Franc-based reds from the Loire.

Sam Harrop has been working with InterLoire for a few years on the Cabernet Franc project, which aims to increase the profile of this wonderful variety, as well as encourage producers to make better wines through developing a winemaking protocol.

One aspect of the [...]