On the road in Spain and Portugal

Today is the third day of a brief three day trip taking in Galicia (Spain) and the Minho (northern Portugal). I’m travelling with Nick Oakley, visiting his agencies in the region, so we’re covering quite a bit of ground, and I’m visiting these producers for the first time. I’m pressed for time, so a proper [...]

Some highlights from the Wine Society

I headed down to Stevenage today for a tasting at The Wine Society. It was amazing: such good wines at really good prices. Here are a few wines that I’ll be buying. But there were just too many highlights for one post!

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Gracher Domprost Riesling Spatlese 2001 Mosel, Germany
Lovely wine – rich and [...]

Jaspi Blanc, a lovely affordable Spanish white

I love it when I find a really nice wine at an everyday sort of price. This fits the bill: a Catalan white wine from Coca i Fitó in Terra Alta, and it’s mainly Grenache Blanc. I really like Grenache Blanc and Gris – these varieties just seem to do so well in warm-ish climates. Old [...]

Alvaro Palacios, the Decanter man of the year

Ever since 1984, UK wine magazine Decanter have bestowed an accolade on a figure from the the world of wine, crowning them man of the year. The first recipient was Serge Hochar. The most recent, and a very popular choice, was Alvaro Palacios, who at the age of 50 (he’s 51 on Monday) is still [...]

Meeting Pepe Raventós

I popped into Mission E2 last night before dinner to meet up with Pepe Raventós. What a dude.

His family have been super-important in the development of Cava – until recently they owned giant producer Cordorniu. But in 2012 he decided to do something brave and quite drastic. He took his highly regarded family winery (Raventós i [...]

Two from Spain: Basconcillos and Sandoval

After posting on two Portuguese wines yesterday, I thought I’d stay in the Iberian peninsula and write up two Spanish bottles. The Basconcillos is a low-SO2 red that’s brilliant value for money, and although there’s some American oak here it doesn’t dominate at all, although there’s certainly some oak evident. The Sandoval is made by [...]

Do Ferreiro Albariño Cepas Vellas from 200 year old vines

This was a remarkable Albariño, made from a one-hectare plot of vines that’s over 200 years old. It’s made by Gerardo Méndez of Do Ferreiro, who farms 10 hectares, split into numerous small plots, more or less organically. This Cepas Vellas is from a hillside vineyard with sandy granitic soils. The grapes come in with around [...]

Viña Tondonia Reserva 2002, in a supermarket near you

López de Heredia, who make Tondonia, is one of the classic old Rioja houses. They are super-traditional, and make fabulously old fashioned and brilliantly ageable wines. They are not for modernists: winemaking here is quite oxidative with extended ageing in oak before release. It’s not quite up to Musar levels, but these wines are a [...]

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 [...]

How sherry is transferred from cask to cask

A short film showing the way that sherries are transferred from cask to cask in the solera/criadera system. This is biologically aged sherry (fino), so a special device is used so that the flor isn’t damaged when fresh wine is added. The fresh wine adds nutrients that helps maintain the flor layer in a healthy [...]