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 [...]

Writing up my sherry adventure, and a special plug for Bar Arturo

I have just written up the first two parts of a five part series on my sherry adventure in October, when I got to visit Jerez and helped blend the spectacular Las Palmas sherries for Gonzalez Byass. The remaining three parts will be up tomorrow.

I wanted to highlight a remarkable meal I had on this [...]

Four great wines at The Remedy: Jura, Sicily and Tenerife

Was at The Remedy wine bar last night, with a couple of dudes. We had some lovely wines, including two stunning bottles from Tenerife. The red in particular was quite sensational. It was a lovely evening, and I was impressed by the food. We had some great cheese and meat, and also lovely smoked mackerel [...]

Mas Candi: making the most of Catalan grape varieties

Mas Candi is a fairly new project (established 2006) that’s a collaboration between four viticulture and enology students who wanted to make wines from their families’ vineyards. The focus is mainly on indigenous Catalan varieties. They’re really interesting. UK agent is Indigo Wines.

Mas Candi Desig 2013 Penedès, Spain
13% alcohol. This is made from Xarel-lo planted [...]

So what does a 89 year old table wine taste like?

I have just written up a Marques de Murrieta Rioja tasting, where we got to drink, among other lovely older wines, a bottle of Castillo Ygay 1925. It was remarkable.

Tasting old wines like this can be a bit random. By the time a wine is more than 20 years old, there’s no such thing as [...]