Barraco Vignammare 2013, an incredible Sicilian white

Dear readers, I hope you don’t tire of my hyperbolic descriptors. ‘Remarkable’, ‘Sensational’, ‘Incredible’. I’m beginning to sound like a Daily Mail wine critic. After all, one route to success as a wine writer is to lavish everything you taste in effusive praise. The recipients of this praise, who usually don’t bother to check all [...]

Massolino Barolo 2010

One of my many themes of 2014 was an attempt to get to grips with Nebbiolo, which I’ve always found one of the trickiest of grape varieties to love, as opposed to just admiring. It’s like a brilliant friend with a prickly personality. You like to hang out with them, but about half the time [...]

Monsanto Il Poggio Chianti Classico Riserva 2009

Chianti. I’ve struggled a bit with it. It can be great, but often it’s a bit difficult and surly. It’s like a moody friend: you have to wait for the right time to approach it, but get it right and things can be great. More often than not, they are complicated. This is a lovely [...]

Ageno la Stoppa, a distinctive orange wine from Italy

This is one of those distinctive skin contact white wines that I think I liked quite a lot. But I wasn’t totally sure. If you’ve never tried Brettanomyces in white wine, this might be a wine to check out, because I think it has quite high levels. Why wasn’t I sure about it? It’s just [...]

Don't spit great wine!

In the wine trade, we taste. And then we spit. Have to, really, otherwise we’d all be permanently drunk and would die young.

Sometimes, though, a wine is too good to spit.

When I was tasting through the icon wines that The Sampler has just put on its enomatics, I found myself instinctively spitting the wines. But [...]

Cascina Degli Ulivi A Demua - a lovely natural white from Piedmont

This natural Piedmont white is really interesting. It’s a blend of several local varieties, fermented on skins for a month using native yeasts in barrel. Then the wine is pressed and returned to barrel for a year. No sulfur dioxide is added at any stage, and total SO2 is 13 mg (which means the bottle [...]

Two superb whites: Radikon 1993 and Shobrook Giallo 2013

So, on Wednesday evening I had one of the best pizzas I have ever experienced. I met up with buddy and fellow Beer Anorak Daniel Primack for a spot of dinner at Pizza Pilgrims. We each bought a bottle, both white it turns out, and they were both fantastic. It was such a nice evening.

Radikon [...]

Some highlights from the Waitrose Press Tasting

We wine journos are in the middle of press tasting season at the moment, with all the major supermarkets showing off their ranges. Buying standards for UK supermarkets are very high, but what makes life difficult for the buyers are their margin requirements, especially in the days of 25% off entire range special offers. So [...]

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. [...]

Bochis Francesco Langhe Barbera - remarkable value from Piedmont

So enjoyed this wine. It’s a Piedmont Barbera aged for four months in large botti, from limestone soils at 420-460 m.

Bochis Francesco Langhe Barbera Dogliano 2012 Piedmont, Italy
13% alcohol. Lovely black cherry and plum fruit: sleek, pure and fresh. Fine and elegant with some grippy structure and a bit of damson to complement the [...]