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 [...]

On raw tasting ability: is there a Messi of wine tasting?

As a Manchester City fan, it was a little uncomfortable watching last night’s game against Barcelona. The Catalans were much the better team, and had it not been for the heroics of Joe Hart, the City goalkeeper, the scoreline could have been a lot worse than the 1-0 it ended up as. Lionel Messi, one [...]

The perfect wine critic, and assigning confidence to scores

Yesterday I tasted 62 different Brunellos from the 2010 vintage. I wrote short tasting notes, and gave each wine a score.

But it’s quite a task tasting 62 wines like this together in a short space of time. Do I think I got all the wines right? And how much confidence do I have in my [...]

In action: the video from my talk on minerals and terroir in Barcelona

So the video of my talk from the Wine and Culinary Forum (nice review of the forum here from top Canadian wine journo Treve Ring) is finally live and posted to Youtube. Here it is:


The effect of herbicides on soil structure

I’m just preparing a presentation I’m giving in the Netherlands tomorrow, and I came across two pictures I took in the vineyards at Waterkloof in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The first is of one of their vineyards that has been managed biodynamically from the start, which is above. [It's not an old vineyard.] The soils had [...]

Comparing the same wine sealed with cork and screwcap

The closure debate has moved on quite a bit since the days when it was practically pitched warfare between the screwcap advocates (mainly Australia and New Zealand) and those who liked the traditional solution of natural cork. Now there’s a sort of truce.

For commercial wines, few have a problem with screwcaps. They’re taint free, they [...]

Pressing under nitrogen, the Inertys system

One of the things I saw in Provence was the way that many of the wineries are projecting the juice by pressing in the absence of oxygen. Pictured above is the press at Chateau Gassier, which has been fitted with the Bucher Inertys system.

The big bag (pictured below is one at Chateau Jas d’Esclans) [...]

Research suggests fruit flies could be responsible for wine's pleasant aromas

Could fruit flies be responsible for the nice smell of most wines? This is a really interesting idea suggested by a research paper just published in scientific journal Ecology Letters. It’s by a New Zealand group, led by Dr Mat Goddard, who have already published some really interesting research on yeast ecology, showing that the [...]

Some thoughts on GM technology

York Station

So yesterday I took part in a careers session for the brightest and best undergraduates in plant sciences at the Gatsby summer school. Held at the lovely Hawkhills centre near York, the idea is to enthuse these students about a potential career in plant sciences, and area which is vitally important but which [...]

Introducing my new book, Wine Science, with a short video

Here’s a short video in which I introduce my new book, Wine Science/The Science of Wine

The UK version is available now; The US version will be available in April.

To buy from amazon.co.uk: Wine Science: The Application of Science in Winemaking

To buy from amazon.com: The Science of Wine: From Vine to Glass

If Amazon doesn’t [...]