On Champagne bubbles

I was reminded last night about how bubbles aren’t really a property of a Champagne (or sparkling wine). I poured the same Champagne into two different glasses. In one, the bubbles were fine – a steady stream. In the other, they were big and clumsy looking. The same wine.

It’s common to hear wine professionals comment [...]

Top new world fizz from Graham Beck and Josef Chromy

Super-impressed by these two sparkling wines from the ‘new world’ – specifically South Africa and Australia. They’re both available from UK retailer Marks & Spencer (I strongly suspect that the Rhona is the re-badged Blanc de Blancs from Graham Back; M&S like to have exclusive labels).

[A side note on scoring. I hate the 100 point [...]

Hart of Gold English Sparkling Wine

I was impressed by this new English sparkling wine, made by Justin Howard-Sneyd, high-flying wine buyer and owner of a small domaine in the South of France. Justin sourced the grapes – a mixture of all three Champagne varieties – from a vineyard in Ross on Wye, Herefordshire (soils chalk and clay), and the wine [...]

A day in the English vineyards

Spent the day today driving round English vineyards with two Canadian wine peeps, Andrew and Nicole. We visited three of the finest English producers, and each visit was quite special in its own way. Full write ups to come (of course), but for now some quick notes and a few pictures.

First visit was Nyetimber. Probably [...]

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 [...]

Coates & Seely's remarkable La Perfide

This is one of the UK’s best sparkling wines yet, I reckon. It’s a newly released vintage bottling from Coates & Seely, and is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir/40% Pinot Meunier grown on Hampshire chalk. This vintage wine was subsequently aged for four years sur latte before disgorgement in March 2014. Christian Seely has [...]

The Sixth New Year Blind Champagne/Sparkling Wine Tasting Video

So here it is. The sixth annual blind Champagne tasting video. It was, as usual, really interesting to see the results. Lots of surprises here.

The wines were, in order of their appearance:

Justerini & Brooks Champagne 250th Year Anniversary NV
Almeida Garrett Brut 2008 Beira Interior, Portugal
Champagne Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs NV
Champagne Drappier Quattuor NV
Champagne de [...]

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs Late Disgorged 2007

This is amazing. One of the best sparkling wines I’ve tried from the UK. It has been aged on its lees for 70 months. It shows what’s possible in England with a bit of extra time on lees, especially with Chardonnay. I understand the economics, but too many wines are being released before they’ve really [...]

Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2010, another fine English sparkling wine

I’m getting quite excited by the progress of English sparkling wine. Here’s another good one. Gusbourne Estate is one of the most highly reputed of the English producers, and they’ve got sizeable vineyard holdings: 40 hectares in Kent and 22 in West Sussex. Gusbourne was founded by Andrew Weeber in 2004, and first vintage was [...]

Lunch at Mission E2 with some nice Californian wines

On Thursday I had lunch at one of London’s most exciting new wine destinations: Mission E2, the second venue from Sager & Wilde. It’s a beautiful space in a nicely converted railway arch near Bethnal Green tube station. Lots of dark wood, good natural light and a palm tree! The food was really good. I [...]