At the Real Wine Fair

Carla Kretzel and Craig Hawkins, Testalonga, South Africa

Today was a glorious day. Not only was it one of those rare English spring days with a vivid blue sky and freshness in the air, but also it was the day of The Real Wine Fair. It’s a wine fair that brings together producers of natural [...]

Champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV, comparing 2012 disgorgement with 2005

This was an interesting excercise. The same NV Champagne – the excellent Charles Heidsieck – from disgorgements seven years apart. The older bottled had been professionally cellared in the interim. The younger wine was laid in the cellar in 2008 and disgorged in 2012; the younger laid in the cellar in 2001 and disgorged in [...]

Three top Bordeaux wines from 2009: Pichon Lalande, Las Cases and Pontet Canet

At the Tesco press tasting on Friday we were presented with three rather smart Bordeaux wines from the 2009 vintage. They’re available from Tesco’s online operation, and they were (I suspect) included as a sort of reward for slugging round 140 or so wines from the regular range (although if you want to preserve your [...]

Two lovely own-label French wines from Sainsbury's

Credit where credit is due. I wouldn’t usually find myself recommending you to hot-foot it to your local supermarket to buy wine, but here are two good own label wines from Sainsbury’s that I really enjoyed. The regular prices are 25% more than what they are on the shelves for at the moment (the prices [...]

Le Rêveur: two Burgundies from Gavin Monery's new micronegoce project

Gavin Monery is a winemaker currently working with Roberson in London, where he’s also been overseeing the fun London Cru urban winery. Today he has released two of his own wines, from Burgundy, under the Le Rêveur label, which is his micronegociant project.

These wines both come from the 2012 vintage, and they’re pretty good, [...]

A remarkable fine wine dinner at Majeka House

Tuesday evening was special. Keith Prothero invited Greg Sherwood and I to join him, Nicolette Waterford, Sam Suddons and Ryan Mostert at Majeka House restaurant in Stellenbosch for a special wine dinner. We each brought along a decent bottle (mine was one of my stash of 99 Jamet Côte Rôtie), and the restaurant had prepared [...]

A brilliant cheap Gamay from the Ardèche

This is fabulous, and it’s cheap. It’s a £5.49 wine that has more than a hint of seriousness, as well as a lot of fun.

Marks & Spencer Vin de Pays de l’Ardèche Gamay 2013 France
12% alcohol. Made by Cave Saint Desirat, this Gamay has lovely aromas of cherries, herbs and flowers. The palate is juicy [...]

Five from Saint-Amour, Beaujolais

Saint-Amour is the most northerly and the second smallest of the Beaujolais crus, and 115 growers farm its 308 hectares. The soils here are a bit different: the region’s granite soils give way to the clay and limestone of the Maconnais, so presumably there’s a bit of a mix in some of the vineyards (Saint-Veran [...]

A unicorn wine, the Clos Joliette Jurancon

I have just written up a tasting of Jurançon Sec held at The Sampler a while ago. You can read it here.

One of the wines was truly remarkable. It’s what is known as a unicorn wine: people hear of them but they never see them. The Sampler’s Jamie Hutchinson reckons he has all the available [...]

A serious Languedoc red from Mas Belles Eaux

I am a huge fan of the Languedoc. It’s a region that possesses some serious terroirs, and where winegrowers have the motivation, they can use these to make serious wines that usually represent great value for money. The potential of the Languedoc has attracted the attention of larger wine companies: AXA Millesimes purchased Mas Belles [...]