Cabernet Franc: Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Champigny 2014

Cabernet Franc is a grape variety that has been growing on me. It’s often thought of as in the shadow of its talented son, Cabernet Sauvignon. But in some ways, Cabernet Franc is a more complete grape. People are realizing its virtues: in Bordeaux, in South Africa, in Argentina. And in the Loire, it’s always [...]

Washington State wine, day 1

So, the first full day of my adventures on the Washington Wine route has ended. I’m travelling with a jolly band – Richard Hemming, Treve Ring and Kate Sweet, and we have a full itinerary that should allow us to get a real feel for this region. We began in the city, and nearby Woodinville, [...]

Château Angélus and the paradoxical 2010

I have just written up a vertical tasting of Château Angélus that I attended last week, courtesy of the IMW. It was very interesting, as these sorts of vertical tastings always are. Not all the wines are as incredible as they should be, given the hype that they receive, and there are some surprises. The [...]

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 [...]