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 [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

Some great wines at lunch, including Cristal, Faiveley Corton and Schlumberger GC Saering

After judging the Roederer Awards on Tuesday, we repaired to Chez Buce, where – naturally – we popped a couple of bottles of Roederer’s Cristal. This was followed up with some other gems from the Roederer portfolio (they own MMD, who distribute Roederer and other wines in the UK). Yes, these bottles were a little [...]

Insoglio del Cinghiale, an impressive Tuscan red blend

I’m not usually a huge super-Tuscan fan, but this is really good. There’s a purity and focus here that I don’t often get from Tuscany. Tasted blind, I reckon I’d have put it in the new world, but elegant new world. I followed this over a couple of days, and it was just as good [...]

Some amazing fine wines at The Sampler

Latour 1961 in the glass

Each Christmas The Sampler puts some rather special wines on its sampling machines, and this year is no exception. I popped into the South Kensington shop to try them; Islington has a different set of wines on. They aren’t cheap, but for many of these wines it’s a once in [...]

A pair from Tenuta di Trinoro

These are remarkable wines that are very hard to pigeonhole. On paper, they aren’t really my thing: we are looking at Bordeaux grape varieties, grown in Tuscany, and weighing in at 15.5 and 16% alcohol. And they cost a LOT of money. But they are compelling wines, even though the price tags are hefty indeed.

Andrea Franchetti [...]

A brilliant Tuscan Cabernet Franc

Regular readers will know that I’m not really a super-Tuscan kind of guy. But here’s one that enticed, despite its ripeness and richness. It’s a varietal Cabernet Franc, and it’s lovely – although they don’t really give it away, at £40-ish a bottle. Mind you, compared with its peer group, it’s well priced for such [...]

Reports of vandalism at Soldera

One of Italy’s great wine estates. Soldera, making some mindblowing Brunello di Montalcino, in the south of Tuscany. I reviewed these rare gems a few years ago, after a fantastic lunch at The Square (here).

Apparently, Soldera’s winery has been vandalized, with the loss of six vintages (these are wines that age for a long time [...]

Fighting jetlag with Querciabella

Now this is my style of Sangiovese. It’s savoury, but it has elegant fruit, too. Both elements are held in lovely tension. It’s helping me fight my body clock, which is rather messed up at the moment. There are all sorts of circadian cycles that go on in the body, and when they are out [...]