Lunch at Mission E2 with some nice Californian wines

On Thursday I had lunch at one of London’s most exciting new wine destinations: Mission E2, the second venue from Sager & Wilde. It’s a beautiful space in a nicely converted railway arch near Bethnal Green tube station. Lots of dark wood, good natural light and a palm tree! The food was really good. I [...]

More new California highlights

So, as promised, some more highlights from Tuesday’s New California tasting.

Matthiasson Napa White 2012 Napa Valley, California
A curious blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Semillon and Tocai Friulano that really works. Floral and pretty with aromas of herbs, tea, spice, grapes and melon. The palate is fresh, pure and detailed with nice finesse, and flavours [...]

Gandolini 3 Marias, a brilliant Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo, Chile

Stefano Gandolini’s winery focuses solely on Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo Valley. This wine was new to me: nicely packaged, in a big heavy bottle, it made me a little wary. I was worried it was going to be very sweet, rich and quite alcoholic. What a nice surprise to pour it and find freshness, [...]

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 [...]

La Petite Vigne Amazing Grace Cabernet Sauvignon, Franschhoek, South Africa

This wine is really impressive. It’s from a Franschhoek winery I was introduced to through a friend (the brother of owner and winemaker Kevin Swart), who also make wines under the Black Elephant label. This is an estate wine made in their home cellar from grapes grown on the property, which borders Chamonix. 10 000 [...]

Reyneke Reserve Red 2010 one of South Africa's finest

This is probably one of the best South African reds I have tasted. And I have tasted quite a few. It’s a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and a third of the Syrah fraction was whole bunch, crushed by foot, with the remaining destemmed grapes added on top. It was wild yeast [...]

Two lovely, full-on wines from First Drop

I love the packaging of the First Drop wines. The labels seem to resonate with the wines.

And while I’m all for elegance, sometimes it’s great to have full-flavoured Aussie wines from regions like the Barossa and McLaren Vale, when the bigness is allied to freshness and definition, and appropriate oak use. Big can, of course, [...]

Two Cabernets from Napa Valley: Silverado and Grgich Hills

I’ve only visited California’s most famous wine region – Napa Valley – once. But I was quite taken by the place. It’s actually a really good place to grow wine grapes, and makes some really superbwines. You can’t bash the wine region for the stylistic extremes and bad taste of some of the wineries, while [...]

Another serious Napa wine

So, after my good experience with Cain’s Five, here’s another serious Napa wine – this time, a varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. Again, this was drunk, not tasted. It also passed the drained bottle test – after tasting it, I took it along to dinner at my friend Rob’s place (he’s a fellow Man City fan, btw), [...]