Domaine Clavel Le Mas: excellent value from the Languedoc

Not to be confused with the Côtes du Rhône domaine of the same name, Domaine Clavel has vineyards in four different Languedoc terroirs: Pic St Loup, Grès de Montpellier, La Méjanelle and Saint Christol, with 33 hectares in all. The farming is organic.

This, their entry level red, is really smart. It’s from Grès de Montpellier, [...]

A Chenin Blanc seminar at Texsom

Patrick Cappiello and Pascaline Lepeltier presented this Chenin tasting at Texsom.

‘I deeply believe that Chenin is the best white grape in the world,’ says Pascaline, a very highly regarded sommelier. She’s been working in New York for the last eight years, but she grew up in the Loire, and is a keen evangelist for Loire [...]

In Beaujolais: Jean-Marc Burgaud, Domaine Roquette, Frédéric Berne

Jean-Marc Burgaud is based in Villié-Morgon, in the heart of the most celebrated of the crus. We had a beautiful early evening visit here that had an energy of its own. It’s so interesting following the dynamics of producer visits. Often they don’t really know who you are (many producers are so busy making their [...]

In Beaujolais: Chaize, Lapierre and Lapalu

Day one in Beaujolais began at Château de la Chaize in Brouilly, the largest and most diverse of the crus. It’s a proper Château, too. Grand and ornate with beautiful gardens, and a separate, exceptionally long winery. This has to be one of the longest wineries I have ever seen, and I have seen a [...]

A lovely wine lunch at La Colombe, Cape Town, with Coche, Raveneau, Jamet and Montrose

It was great to catch up with Keith Prothero, Ryan Mostert and Sam Suddons on Wednesday for lunch at one of Cape Town’s most celebrated restuarants, La Colombe. It was my first time there, and I was impressed. It’s in a beautiful setting high up in the Constantia valley, located in the grounds of the [...]

Bordeaux: some reflections

I’ve just spent a very enjoyable couple of days in Bordeaux. The first was a free afternoon (I walked and walked), followed by dinner; the second a big tasting of the 2014 vintage. So here are some thoughts about Bordeaux, in no particular order.

First, this is a lovely city to visit. The changes enacted under [...]

Three lovely wines: Testalonga, Commando G and Domaine Labet

Had lunch at Moro today with Emily Harman and Laura Rhys. Mark Andrew was supposed to join, but he had to fill in for someone at Noble Rot, so after lunch we headed down to meet him there. Moro: the food is amazing, always, and it didn’t disappoint today. And between Moro and Noble Rot [...]

The Guigal La Las from 2001

Tried these three at The Sampler. Guigal’s single-vineyard Côte Rôties, known colloquially as the La Las. These are often thought of as the ultimate expression of Côte Rôtie, and they certainly attract the highest prices at auction. I’ve had a few in my time – not all that many, though – and while they have [...]

Champagne Pierre Péters Rosé for Albane

Had this at lunch yesterday, off the list at the excellent Kensington Wine Rooms. It was stunning. Champagne Pierre Péters is a Blanc de Blancs specialist located in Le Mesnil sur Oger, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs. Under the direction of Rodolphe Péters since 2008, this sixth generation family firm just makes wines [...]

Champagne Taittinger 2008

2008 is looking like a very good vintage in Champagne. The summer was a cool one, and the season was saved by beautiful sunny days just before and during harvest. The result? A healthy crop with high levels of acidity, which is usually good for producing ageworthy fizz, even if they can be a bit [...]