In praise of Chenin Blanc

The greatest advantage that Chenin Blanc has may also be its downfall. This was one of the thoughts that came out of a discussion following a tasting masterclass of Chenin Blanc from around the world organised by Armit Wines. “Around the world” was actually the Loire, South Africa (so far, so expected), New Zealand and…

Alentejo

The Alentejo region covers 30 000 square km and though only 5% of Portugal’s population lives there it produces 17% of the country’s wine. The wines have a spicy minerality and savoury character, more reminiscent of Italy than neighbouring Spain. The tumultuous history of the region has seen the uncertainty of decline as well as…

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The Wine Show – Chelsea

A new consumer wine show has been curated by Drinks Business – a trade magazine – to bring the most exciting developments in winemaking styles to the public. I think this is a fantastic idea mainly because we in the industry have the opportunity on several occasions, especially at this time of year which is…

Big Wave Surfing in South Africa

Far from the safe shores of large scale production to sate the thirst of drinkers who neither know nor care what slips down their throats, are a growing and vociferous band of adventurers. Looking for pure adrenaline in vinous form. Forget New Wave South Africa – these guys have been honing their skills for some…

Villa Mon Rêve

Vincent Chansault the winemaker at Domaine Gayda told me he has been waiting 10 years to make this wine. But the dream in the name does not come from this delayed gratification, it is rather more poetic. The wine was named to honour the vignerons and villagers of La Livinière who have supported and helped them…

Rosé des Riceys

The commune of Riceys in the Aube department of Champagne is a magical place and closer to Burgundy than to its northern Champagne compatriots. We drove down from Reims through forests and glades before arriving in the most picturesque village with beautiful stone buildings, some homes, some wash houses, lots of small chapels and modest…

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Georgian wine 8000 years on

  I went to Georgia in March, and it was without doubt the highlight of my year. The Georgians themselves are so full of good humour and energetic hospitality. There’s a sense of magical realism about the place, from Shota Rustaveli’s “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” to the enigmatic mountain ranges which quietly watch…

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Chêne Bleu – a profile

It’s stunning, right? This was a labour of love that rose from rubble, rubble that was profoundly caked in bird and animal excrement. Painstakingly restored from that to the picture above took a decade and a priceless amount of patience.   I first met Nicole Sierra-Rolet on a flight back from Vinexpo, the international trade…

Cristal

Emperor’s New Clothes or fit for a SuperTsar? I was recently asked to host a vertical tasting of this most prestigious Champagne from the private cellar of a generous collector. I was thrilled to be doing it but curious as to whether the group would be as enthralled by the actual wine as the reputation…

( Bertani Domains )

The parentheses are important, they signify the parent company’s guiding hand over the new properties which have been added to their portfolio over recent years. These newer additions however have their own dedicated teams making their own decisions in order to bring out the best in each individual terroir. The only constant is that they…