Lunch with two great South African wines, and a good northern Rhône

Had a lovely long lunch yesterday. It was at Bread Street Kitchen, part of the Gordon Ramsay empire, located next to St Paul’s Cathedral.

The dining room is huge. Really huge. Impressively huge. It’s beautifully finished in a faux vintage, semi-industrial style, but it’s really noisy. We could hardly hear the waitstaff as they talked to [...]

Southern Rhône, I have neglected you - Brusset Les Hauts de Montmirail 2012

Southern Rhône, I have neglected you.

We used to be good friends.

When I first got into wine you used to give me a lot of pleasure. Vieux Telegraphe and Beaucastel, in particular, were happy wines for me.

But then you started getting all spoofy on me. You chased points, you got rich, you started driving expensive cars, [...]

Vidal Fleury Crozes Hermitage 2012

Regulars here will probably know that the northern Rhône is one of my favourite regions, and that I am crazy about cool-climate Syrah. It would be fair to say that negociant Vidal Fleury is not one of the northern Rhône’s elite producers, but they seem to be getting better, and this is a very smart [...]

Les Griffons de Pichon Baron 2012, a serious effort

This is a super wine. It’s a new launch from Bordeaux superstar Pichon Baron. Christian Seely describes it thus: ‘It is a second wine, made from grapes from the intermediate parcels that might sometimes make it into the Grand Vin, sometimes into Tourelles [previously regarded as Pichon's second wine]. Les Tourelles itself comes mostly from [...]

A day in Paris

Although I’m often travelling through it, and have stayed a few times on business, I realized that I hadn’t been a tourist in Paris since I was 15. And some super cheap Eurostar deals created the opportunity: spend a day in this great city doing some really touristy things.

So after a very early start, we [...]

Fine wines with lunch, old-school wine trade style

These wines were recently tasted at a rather fine lunch at La Trompette, which is a great restaurant. It went on a long time, as you can imagine. I’m always struck by how well older bottles of top Bordeaux show in these situations, and how inconsistent red Burgundy can be. And the Rhône can be [...]

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 [...]

Lunch with Olivier Bernstein

Had lunch on Thursday with Olivier Bernsteinm (above), along with some other journos and the fabulous Simon Staples at Berry Brothers & Rudd.

Olivier was born in the Loire, and his grandfather founded a music publishing house. It was while he was working in international management that Olivier caught the wine bug and did a [...]

On the road in Provence, some pictures

I’m currently on the road in Provence. It’s a beautiful time of year to be here. Harvest has just begun in many areas; in others it is a week or two away. It’s sunny but not scorching hot, and the bulk of the tourists have gone home, so it means that the roads aren’t permanently [...]