Ruggabellus: remarkable wines from the Barossa

I have a soft spot for the Barossa. It was the first wine region I ever visited. I’ve been there a few times now, and know it a bit. But I have struggled with some of its wines, which have expressed a bit too much ripeness, a little too much added tartaric, and a generous [...]

Testalonga King of Grapes: precise elegance or 'cranberry flavoured wheat beer'?

I was thrilled by this. It’s the latest red from Craig Hawkins in the Swartland, and it has been a bit controversial in the wine press. Andrew Jefford, normally a hero of mine, seems to have it in for Craig, and in a very mean swipe in his Decanter blog he described it as ‘fermented [...]

Wind Gap Syrah and Grenache - class from California

I’ve written recently about Pax Mahle’s Wind Gap, giving his Trousseau Gris a positive review. Now it’s the turn of two Rhone varieties, Syrah and Grenache. They’re both beautiful, but my preference is for the remarkable Syrah.

Wind Gap Old Vine Grenache 2012 Sonoma County, California
13.75% alcohol. 420 cases made in two concrete eggs. Sweetly [...]

Domaine Camp Galhan 'Les Pérassières' 2012 - a brilliant, affordable Rhone red

This is a really super wine, made from a lesser known IGP on the edge of the Cevennes, not far from Avignon and Nimes. One of the best value reds I have had of late.

Domaine Camp Galhan ‘Les Pérassières’ 2012 Vin de Pays Duché d’Uzès, Rhone, France
13.5% alcohol. A blend of fresh cherry [...]

Two lovely Ligurians from Bruna

The wine world is big. And though I have been drinking wine in earnest for a long time, there are some bits that are new to me. These are the first two Ligurian wines I’ve drunk (Liguria is in the far west of Italy, down on the Mediterranean coast, near the French border). They’re full [...]

A superb, inexpensive Ventoux

Continuing in my theme of brilliant wines under £10, here’s a Ventoux that I was seduced by. It’s one of those wines that manages to hold the sweet fruit and savoury notes in tension. It’s almost Burgundian, in a southern Rhone sort of way.

Gonnet La Jeannette Ventoux 2011 Rhone, France
14.5% alcohol. Not too deep in colour: [...]

Old vine Garnacha from Domaines Lupier, Navarra

Two impressive, potentially ageworthy Garnacha (Grenache) wines from Navarra. They’re quite difficult to assess right now because they are just so tannic and primary, but I think they will be special with a decade in the cellar.

They’re from Domaines Lupier, which is the project of Enrique Basarte and Elisa Úcar whose mission has been to [...]

A lovely Grenache Gris from Domaine Jones

A while back I was enthusing here about Grenache Blanc, and several people told me to keep an eye out for Grenache Gris. Well, I found one – it’s from Domaine Jones, whose wines I reviewed a while back. The packaging is very stylish and so is the wine. Presumably Grenache Blanc, Gris and Noir [...]

Serious Spanish Garnacha from Artadi

Impressed by this. It’s made by high-end Rioja producer Artadi’s Artazu estate in Navarra. It’s expensive, yes, but not when compared with its qualitative peer group.

Artadi Santa Cruz de Artazu Garnacha 2007 Navarra, Spain
A single-vineyard wine made from 80 year old vines at an elevation of 750 metres. Bright red/purple colour. Lovely pure, sweet nose [...]

A brilliant, natural California Grenache

Now this is a superb wine. Before opening it, I admit I was expecting something very sweet and ripe, in the new world mould. But what I got was something thrilling, elegant and amazingly drinkable. It’s from a vineyard planted in 1910, with vines on their own roots. Birichino, pronounced biri-kino, seems a very interesting [...]