London Cru, an urban winery in Earls Court

It’s 8 am on a Wednesday morning in September, and I’m in a slightly sketchy part of west London, just down the road from the Earls Court exhibition centre. There’s an articulated lorry waiting in the street.

I think I’ve found what I have been looking for. Yes, tucked in behind a block of council houses, there’s a lock-up [...]

An ambitious high-end English sparkling wine

I was very impressed by this new single-plot English sparkling wine from Nyetimber. It claims to be ‘the first single vineyard sparkling wine from England with all the grapes specifically selected from a single vineyard site’. The idea for this wine was prompted by the discovery of an extraordinary parcel of Pinot noir, and Chardonnay [...]

Another new English sparkling wine, Digby Fine English

Here’s another new English sparkling wine. It’s cleverly branded, and the winemaker is Dermot Sugrue, a specialist sparkling winemaker who worked for Nyetimber for three years. Dermot is now based at Wiston Estate and does contract winemaking for a number of operations. I like this wine a lot, although it’s still pretty primary. Perhaps taking an ’NV’ [...]

In pictures, a photoshoot at Denbies

So I spent this morning with the lovely crew from The Sunday Express S Magazine for a photoshoot, which took place at Denbies, the largest vineyard in the UK. It’s a beautiful settings. I had to wear three different outfits. Including, with one, a hat. It was OK. Last time I did one of these [...]

Some interesting wines at cricket

On Friday I spent the afternoon playing cricket. Yes, more play. Less work. Still striving after the elusive balance. It was for the Wine Trade XI, against a touring Aussie team, Canterbury Cricket Club from Melbourne, at Hampton Wick. In a 40 over game, a relatively strong Wine Trade bowling attack kept them to 157-9, [...]

Ambriel Classic Cuvee, a new English sparkling wine

Now this is interesting. It’s the first release of a new English sparkling wine, called Ambriel. It comes from a 9.5 hectare vineyard in West Sussex, planted as recently as 2008, so this is the first crop from those vines. Considering this, it’s fantastic. It’s a blend of 70% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir and 3% [...]

Hoffmann & Rathbone, a new English Sparkling wine

Impressed by this new English sparkling wine from Hoffmann & Rathbone. Mine was bottle 84 of just 1500! It’s predominantly Pinot Noir with a bit of barrel-fermented Chardonnay, and it’s beautifully packaged. It comes from West Sussex.

Hoffmann & Rathbone Rose Reserve 2010 Sussex, England
Bright pink in colour with a hint of orange. Lovely vivid cherry [...]

An English white Pinot Noir and an Aussie Topaque

Headed over to Denbies wine estate today, in Dorking, Surrey, for a meeting of Elevage. Elevage is the organization I’m involved with that runs the International Sparkling Wine Symposium (ISWS). The last one was held last November, and we are in the stages of planning the next. (If you’d like to get hold of a [...]

Two very nice sparkling wines: New Zealand and England

Two very nice sparkling wines: one from Kiwi land and one from over here. Both pretty serious, and not expensive.

Huia Blanc de Blancs 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand
I’d been very impressed by the 2004, so I was keen to try this, the follow-on vintage. Just as good. Attractive, rich, toasty nose with a sweet creamy edge. [...]

World Malbec Day, an English salute

Table 9: hard working, uncomplaining!

Day 2 of the International Wine Challenge, and it was a big one. The team I was working with tasted 160 wines today. A lot by any standard, and by the end we couldn’t have done many more and still have done a good job. This is week 1, where [...]