Two from Handford: Schaal Confluence and Garnacha not Guerra

I popped into Handford Wines yesterday to say hello to Greg Sherwood, and have a look round. If there is a merchant in London who has a better array of really interesting wine, then I’d like to see it (and London is full of good wine merchants). Greg opened a couple of bottles to taste […]

Thistledown The Vagabond Old Vine Grenache

Giles Cooke at Alliance wine is the dude behind this wine from Thistledown, which is a really beautiful expression of old vine McLaren Vale Grenache. It’s not showy, but just really elegant and with potential for development.

The Vagabond Old Vine Grenache 2016 Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, Australia
14.5% alcohol. Single site, 80 year old dry grown […]

Marelise Niemann's Momento wines, Bot River, South Africa

Marelise Niemann

Marelise Niemann is a champion of Grenache. Her label, Momento, began officially in 2013, when she was still working at Beaumont in the Bot River region of South Africa. Beaumont was her first proper job as a winemaker, although after university she did 8 months in California in 2007. She began at Beaumont […]

The amazing Vanguardist Wines, from South Australia

I was really pleased to try these wines (thanks to Christina Rasmussen for getting these samples to me). They’re from a relatively new project, Vanguardist, which is a collaboration between three people, Alexandra Maurisset, Edouard Maurisset-Latour and Michael Corbett. Corbett is the winemaker, and is based in the Clare Valley, but he’s a Kiwi: the three […]

Fugazi! A lovely McLaren Vale Grenache from Ochota Barrels

Had this bottle the other night at Noble Rot. You can tell times are changing if I’m going out and ordering (a) a Grenache (b) from the McLaren Vale. Both grape  variety and region are underestimated, and it takes a producer like Ochota Barrels to show their potential, with the strong imprint of winemaking and […]

The Bee-Side Grenache from Domaine of the Bee

Justin Howard-Sneyd’s Domaine of the Bee is based on three small plots of old bush vines in Cathar country, deep in the south of France near the village of Maury. Normally, the wines are made in a rich, bold, opulent style, but with this new release, a Grenache, they’ve opted to aim for a more […]

Mother Rock and Force Majeure: brilliant wines from Stompie Meyer

Johan Meyer

Johan ‘Stompie’ Meyer is one of the most highly regarded of South Africa’s new wave winegrowers. He makes the wines for Mount Abora (as a consultant), and has his own project, JH Meyer Wines. And this is a new venture for him: Mother Rock/Force Majeure, a joint venture with his UK agent Indigo […]

Garnacha not Guerra 2015

This is a new wine. Naturally made Garnacha (deliberately chosen as the name to indicate a style difference, rather than the local Cannonau), just 360 bottles produced! It’s such an indulgence to write about wines like these, but this is what keeps wine interesting. It’s just great that someone cares enough about wine to make […]

Some treats at 67 Pall Mall: Pignan, Montebello, Villard, Vazart Coquart

Had a lovely evening last night with a small group at 67 Pall Mall, the wine-friendly club that opened last year. It was my first time at 67 Pall Mall, and they seem to get most things right: the space is beautiful, the wine list excellent, the food spot on and the Zalto glassware just […]

Some reflections on ProWein 2016: bubbly Brits, grower Champagne, Canada, Provence and Grenache

ProWein is a massive wine and spirits fair, held each year in Dusseldorf, Germany. It’s enormous. 6200 exhibitors, and 55 000 trade visitors. I’ve just returned, and these are some of my impressions. But it’s impossible for any one person to be able to give anything more than a personal perspective gained by merely scratching […]