A really nice Loire Pinot: Eric Louis Sancerre Rouge 2013

I’ve never really been all that interested in Sancerre Rouge before. But when you look at the terroirs, and then consider that it wasn’t all that long ago that this used to be a predominantly red wine appellation, you begin to think that there’s potential for some good Pinot Noir here. This is a lovely [...]

Why Social Wine & Tapas is one of my favourite places to eat

On the spur of the moment stopped in for a late Friday lunch at Social Wine & Tapas. This is such a good place to eat. The food is superb: creative, flavoursome and comforting. And the wine list is exceptional, especially if you are of the brave inclination, prepared to give wines with a bit [...]

Cabernet Franc: Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Champigny 2014

Cabernet Franc is a grape variety that has been growing on me. It’s often thought of as in the shadow of its talented son, Cabernet Sauvignon. But in some ways, Cabernet Franc is a more complete grape. People are realizing its virtues: in Bordeaux, in South Africa, in Argentina. And in the Loire, it’s always [...]

Gamay focus, 10 - Puy de Dôme Gamay 2013 from the Auvergne

I recently wrote about the wines from Caves Saint Vernay in France’s Auvergne, a volcanic terroir in the south of the Loire. Well, next stop on my Gamay journey is the Auvergne, and their varietal Gamay. Reds here are typically a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, but on its own, the Gamay really shines. [...]

Two lovely volcanic wines from the Cotes d'Auvergne

Cave St Verny make some lovely wines, from the Côtes d’Auvergne, a really interesting but obscure wine region pretty much in the middle of France, which is counted as part of the Loire. It’s based around a volcano,  Puy de Dôme, at the edge of the Massif Central, which makes for some interesting terroirs. The [...]

Les Terres d'Ocre Saint-Pourcain, a delicious Gamay Pinot blend

Located in the Auvergne, Saint-Pourçain actually has more in common with the Maconnais than the Loire, with Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir the main varieties. (You can read more about this small but interesting appellation on Richard Kelley’s site.) This is an inexpensive but delicious wine that’s a 60/40 blend of Gamay and Pinot. Worth [...]

A nice fine wine dinner with Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire and South Africa

Last night we had a lovely dinner at Terroir, hosted by Keith Prothero. This is the restaurant on the Kleine Zalze estate, and the food was very good. The wine and the company were better though. In attendance Gary and Kathy Jordan, Rianie Strydom, Nicolette Waterford, Greg Sherwood and Keith and I. As usual, notes [...]

Le Clos de la ‎Févrie Muscadet 2013

Normally, I find it hard to get too excited about Muscadet. But I’m beginning to change my mind. On a recent trip to Canada I tried a Melon de Bourgogne (the Muscadet variety) from Malivoire, and it was really interesting. It reminded me straight away of good Muscadet in its flavour profile. And this wine, [...]

Two lovely whites: Vincent Carême Vouvray Sec 2013 and Ganevat Grusse en Billat 2012

I have just been in the Netherlands, presenting a talk and tasting to wine professionals here over two days, with the same 10 wines both days. I met some really great people and enjoyed talking about organic/biodynamic/sustainable/natural/authentic wine. It was also nice to look at the wines over two days. Interestingly, the wines seemed all [...]

Two amazing wines from François Cotat

He’s the total star of Sancerre. François Cotat (note, there’s a relation, cousin Pascal Cotat, and the wines of the two shouldn’t be confused) is one of the Loire’s most revered producers. Based in Chavignol, he has just three hectares, of which 0.5 ha is Pinot Noir. The Sauvignon is picked quite late, and then barrel [...]