Sandeman Vau Vintage Port 2003

I remember the excitement of discovering that Oddbins were selling the 1997 version of this wine for just £5 for a half bottle back in 2001. This was in the early days of wineanorak, and I recall drinking quite a few of these. Now the 2003 vintage (a very good one for Port) is being [...]

Altano Organic Douro Red 2012, a brilliant bargain

This is a brilliant bargain! It’s a grown-up, proper Douro red for less than a tenner. The Symingtons are the largest organic farmer in the Douro with 126 hectares of organic vines (clearly, there is some way to go in a region with around 36 000 hectares – the chief problem is weed control on [...]

Wine & Culinary forum: the Primum Familiae Vini tasting

The Primum Familiae Vini are an association of top European wine domaines, and we were treated to a tasting of some of their wines, presented by Christophe Brunet, wine ambassador of the PVF and Fiona Beckett, food and wine journalist. They were providing the chat, with Fiona’s brief being suggesting suitable pairings for the wines. [...]

Some remarkable older wines: 1937 Noval Colheita, 1975 Deutz and a 1919 Sherry

Three nice older bottles opened at the Gonzalez Byass 10th anniversary dinner last week:

Champagne Deutz Blanc de Noir 1975 France (magnum)
This Pinot Noir comes from Grand Cru Aÿ, and the wine was resting on lees for 37 years before bottling in 2012. A yellow colour, this has a taut citrus nose with subtle pear and [...]

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2012

So, Noval has done another ‘eccentric’ declaration, this time of the 2012, and it’s quite early, too. Christian Seely announced the declaration on his blog, earlier this month. His logic – if the Port is good enough, it will be a Vintage declaration, even if it means that selection results in smaller volumes being released. [...]

Some great wines at lunch, including Cristal, Faiveley Corton and Schlumberger GC Saering

After judging the Roederer Awards on Tuesday, we repaired to Chez Buce, where – naturally – we popped a couple of bottles of Roederer’s Cristal. This was followed up with some other gems from the Roederer portfolio (they own MMD, who distribute Roederer and other wines in the UK). Yes, these bottles were a little [...]

Churchill's Quinta da Gricha Vintage Port 2011

OK folks, a real-time tasting note. I’m off early in the morning, but for some inexplicable reason I thought it would be a good idea to open a bottle of a really good Vintage Port (a sample half-bottle, to be precise), before going to bed. I’ll have to drink it all.

It’s Churchill’s Quinta da Gricha [...]

In Lisbon with the young winemakers of Portugal

So I was in Lisbon. For one night only. The occasion? The ‘Young Winemakers’ tasting. Vadio, Conceito, Hobby, Clip and Carmelao are five young-ish Portuguese producers (with six winemakers in the group – Hobby has a couple) who have collaborated together to market their wines jointly. It’s a really good idea.

Joint marketing efforts like [...]

A lovely affordable Douro red from Churchill

Very impressed by this 2011 Douro red from Churchill. It’s not expensive, but it offers a real taste of the region, combining ripeness with definition. It’s stocked by Majestic and Tanners in the UK, both of whom still seem to be on the 2010, but will soon switch over to 2011. The 2010 is really [...]

The wine boats of the Douro, a film from 1923

Just stumbled on this on YouTube. It’s a film dating from 1923 showing the wine boats of the Douro bringing the wine down river to Porto. This rabelos would have been navigating a river that had fast-flowing rapids, and it would have required skill and courage to do the journey. These days the Douro is [...]