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Video: pruning a grape vine

A quick video of a grape vine being pruned a couple of weeks ago in the Coteaux du Giennois, in the centre Loire. It was late to be pruning: the vines had already started budding. This is single guyot pruning, leaving just one cane that is then tied down to the fruiting wire, which here [...]

The new releases from Château d’Esclans, star Provence winery

Tasted through the new releases from Sasha Lichine’s Château d’Esclans in Provence. This winery has been a remarkable success story because of its very smart strategy. High quality wines, with impeccable packaging and good marketing, starting with the multi-million bottle Whispering Angel and then leading up to the super-expensive Garrus. Rosé is the main story [...]

Half way in the International Wine Challenge

Week one of this second tranche of the 2017 International Wine Challenge is over. Except for the crew, that is: they have to stay the weekend doing the immense job of reflighting all the thousands of wines that have made the cut into week two. When we get back to the Oval on Tuesday, we’ll be [...]

Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 16, 2017

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week included...Show More Summary

Chile, Fires, País and Pinochet

In this month's Feiring Line, the natural wine newsletter you'll want to read about rebirth of the real wines of Chile and how a plot to reforest has created havoc on the wine industry and the natural richness of the country. For more on the issue of the land, you'll want to read Luis Gutiérrez reporting in... yup... The Wine Advocate. Subscribe!

Vinography Images: Sun Powered

Sun Powered YAMHILL, OR: Gran Moraine Winery, located in the Yamhill Carlton District AVA, generates its energy from solar panels. Dundee, Carlton, McMinnville, and Newburg, all small towns located in the Willamette Valley wine production...Show More Summary

Eight decades of Kopke Colheita ports

After judging at the IWC on Thursday there was a chance to try some more wine. Normally after a busy day tasting hungreds of wines, the last thing I feel like is more wine. But these wines were different: eight Kopke Colheita Ports from 2007 back until 1937. A Colheita is a tawny port from a [...]

Have We Hit Peak Somm?

A handsome young man in stylish glasses sits in an empty restaurant, his vividly coloured sleeve tattoo curling artfully out from underneath his designer T-shirt. At ease in front of the camera and with only the slightest hint of irony...Show More Summary

The fab 2015s and 2016s from Alheit, one of South Africa’s star producers

Chris Alheit and Franco Lourens Chris and Suzaan Alheit’s story is one of discovering great vineyards, and then making wine from them, very simply (see my article from a visit three years ago, when they were just starting out). ‘I’ve spent innumerable hours looking on google earth and driving around, looking for the best sites,’ [...]

Alexandre Jouveaux Combarnier (2010) NV Vin de France

This is quite a wine. It’s seven years old, made in a very natural way, and it’s still incredibly reductive, with a strong matchstick/mineral character. There are some subtle oxidative notes, too, but overall the wine is very fresh. This is a wine that clearly demonstrates that reduction is not simply the opposite of oxidation, [...]

Beginning two weeks judging at the International Wine Challenge

I’m on my way to day 2 of the second tranche of the International Wine Challenge judging at the Oval. For two weeks we will be sifting through an unspecified number of wines (the number isn’t publicized because otherwise the two major competitions get sucked into a ratings war, but it’s in the range of [...]

Grower Champagne Focus: Chartogne-Taillet Cuvée Sainte Anne

This is really good. And it’s just £24 at The Wine Society. Stunning value for money. Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Cuvée Sainte Anne NV France 12% alcohol. 60% 2014 and 40% 2013, disgorged in December 2016. Equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Merfy in the Montagne de Reims, with sandy clay soils over chalk. All the wine comes [...]

Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 4/16/17

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, here's everything I've strained out of the wine-related...Show More Summary

Tasting some interesting South African Chenin, with a video

Tasted some nice Chenins lately. It’s such an interesting and adaptable grape variety. Raats Granite Block Chenin Blanc 2015 Coastal Region, South Africa Very fruity mandarin and lime notes with some pear richness. Hints of herbs with a nice bright mineral edge to the fruit. Lovely precision to this bright wine with plenty of flavour but a [...]

Lovely wines at Noble Rot

Was in Noble Rot on Friday night with Mark and Dan. It ended up becoming quite a big evening and we had some nice wines. How did we manage in London before Noble Rot came along? Three Champagnes. Jacques Lassaigne Nature Blanc de Blancs 2007 was fine, mineral and detailed with a citrus core. I really [...]

Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 9, 2017

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week included...Show More Summary

Little Farm Pied de Cuve Chardonnay 2015 Similkameen Valley, BC, Canada

I’ve been impressed by the wines from Rhys Pender and Alison Dredger’s Little Farm winery in the Similkameen Valley. This is a valley next door to the Okanagan in Canada’s BC,  and their 4 acre organic vineyard is in in Cawston. I reckon this is their best yet. It’s the first release of this naturally [...]

Vinography Images: Taste of Green

The Taste of Green SANTA YNEZ, CA: Vineyard workers pick ripe Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the 2016 vintage in a Happy Canyon vineyard before sunrise near Santa Ynez, California. The 2016 grape harvest in California got off to another...Show More Summary

The new non-vintage Classic Cuvée from Nyetimber

Popped into Waitrose yesterday and picked up a bottle of this: the new non-vintage Classic Cuvée from England’s most famous sparkling wine producer, Nyetimber (it’s currently on offer at £25, which makes it a very good buy). They’ve made the very wise move to shift from a vintage model for their main production wine to a [...]

The world’s flintiest vineyard?

I have seen a lot of vineyards in my relatively short career, but this one was one of the most remarkable. Flint on flint. Sébastien Redde Back in 2009, Domaine Michel Redde (Thierry and his two sons Sébastien and Romain), decided that they wanted to produce a remarkable vineyard. In their region, Pouilly-Fumé, silex (flint) is [...]

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