Broc Cellars Valdiguié 2012

This is a lovely wine. It’s made from the Valdiguié grape variety, a rather unremarkable variety from southern France that once was popular in California because of its disease resistance, where it was known as California Gamay. However, it was judged to make rather ordinary wine, and now only 300 acres or so are left. [...]

Wind Gap Trousseau Gris

This is a really interesting wine from Wind Gap, an exciting Californian winery making elegant, balanced wines.

It’s from Trousseau Gris, a rare colour mutation of the red Trousseau, which is the same as Portugal’s Bastardo. The red version makes pale-coloured, fragrant, sappy reds (in Portugal it is one of the Port varieties, and is rarely [...]

Kitten Swish Chardonnay 2012

One of the highlights of judging the Canadian Wine Awards a couple of weeks ago was hanging out with the fellow judges. One of them was sommelier Brad Royale, who possesses the most amazing language for describing wine. If you were to read his notes you’d find them far fetched, but when you are tasting [...]

Some great wines with Professor Scholefield

For my first three days in British Columbia, Canada, I was being shown around by David Scholefield (aka ‘The Prof’, pictured above). He’s a total dude and we shared some nice bottles together, which I thought I would write up.

Sea Star Siegerrebe 2013 Pender Island, British Columbia, Canada
Not the greatest wine in the world, but [...]

A great evening at The Quality Chop House

So Ferran Centelles, super somm from Spain, was in town. Seeing as he treated Richard Hemming, Xavier Rousset and me when we were in San Sebastian last year, we thought it was appropriate to reciprocate with dinner at The Quality Chop House.

This was my first visit to Quality Chop, which has a deservedly good [...]

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 [...]

Some highlights from the New California tasting

Yesterday’s New California tasting, organized by Roberson, was remarkable. So many great wines, with the hallmark being detail, sense of place and balance – traits not always associated with Californian wine. Jon Bonne, who has authored a brilliant book on the subject (The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a [...]

10 Californian Pinot Noirs that will blow your mind

It’s official. California is exciting place for Pinot Noir, and there is now now shortage of elegant, detailed, supple, world class Pinot Noir here, if you look in the right places. The In Pursuit of Balance tasting held in San Francisco in March 2014 showcased the top Pinot Noirs from California, and from the many [...]

Drinking California Pinot Noir history

On Sunday night I was lucky enough to drink two wines that are important bottles in the story of Pinot Noir in California. I was with Raj Parr, Sashi Moorman, Jasmine Hirsch and Jamie Kutch at Zuni, and these remarkable wines were brought out. It was an immense privilege to be able to drink them.

Sanford [...]

The apothic-alypse - the rise of sweet red wines

There’s a new red wine that’s becoming a bit of a hit. But the wine writing fraternity are up in arms. It’s Apothic red, from California, and leading UK critic Tim Atkin has described it as ‘undrinkable’.

The problem? It’s sweet. It has 16.4 grams per litre of residual sugar. It certainly isn’t the first red [...]