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Courage of Our Convictions

The Applegate Valley in Southern Oregon A winemaker in Bordeaux has a universe of five. In Burgundy a winemaker has one, maybe two varieties that demand their focus. In Beaujolais they live by gamay. In Barolo nebbiolo defines the reputation of a winemaker. Show More Summary

Vinography Images: Another Load

Another Load PESSAC, FRANCE: A worker unloads another load of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes on harvest day at Château Haut-Brion in Bordeaux. The estate dates back to the year 1525, with the main chateau building begun in 1549. Haut-Brion...Show More Summary

i4C school of cool part 2, winemaking and Chardonnay

Earlier I reported on session 1 of School of Cool, part of the 2017 international cool climate Chardonnay celebration here in Niagara, Canada. Session 2 delved into winemaking decisions with Chardonnay. Winemakers on the panel discussed their winemaking choices and how these were reached, and what the effect on the wine is. These included Adam Mariani [...]

i4C School of Cool, part 1: the influence of soil on the flavour of Chardonnay

The opening event of the Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4C), School of Cool, kicked off with a session on soil. Dr Paul Anamosa began the session talking about the impact of soil on wine flavour. What does the soil provide to the vines? What does vineyard management have to do with this? Paul talked about what the [...]

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2015

Quinta do Noval have lately become known for what the English wine trade describe quaintly as ‘eccentric’ declarations. They released a vintage Port in 2013, for example. Now they’ve released 2015. It’s not a surprise, because 2015 was a really good vintage, and I’m surprised more people haven’t declared it. Of course, these days there’s [...]

Sidecar Tinto NV Portugal: a bi-regional, amphora-aged beauty

This is a lovely wine. It’s a collaboration between Susana Esteban (who works in the Alentejo), and Filipa Pato and William Wouters (who work in Bairrada). Half of the wine comes from Portalegre in the Alentejo, and half is Baga from Bairrada. It’s made in amphora. Susana created the Sidecar brand with a view to working [...]

Mr Glover Wilde Vineyards Agent Field Blend 2016

I tried this with its creator, Ben Glover (previously of Accolade, now focusing on family business Zephyr and other projects), in Scotch Bar in Blenheim a few weeks ago. I’d just been speaking at a biodynamic and organic conference and I’d urged New Zealand producers to take a few more risks and make the odd [...]

Two orange wines from Spain

Last night I drank two orange wines from Spain. Both different in style, but both very good. The first, a distinctive Albillo, was on the list at the brill Morito. The second was a Macabeu in a distinctive ceramic bottle, which was purchased at Furanxo, a lovely Spanish deli and bar in Dalston. Alfredo Maestro Lovamor Albillo [...]

Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 7/16/17

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

The Wine Dinner Advocate

On 5 July, the tyre company (and restaurant guide publisher) Michelin announced their ownership of a 40% stake in wine critic Robert M Parker, Jr's The Wine Advocate for an undisclosed sum. The press release issued by Michelin concerning the purchase is remarkably short on strategic intent. Show More Summary

Grower Champagne: Vouette & Sorbée Brut Nature Fidèle NV

Champagne Vouette et Sorbée is one of the star growers in the Aube, in the south of the Champagne region. Bernard Gautherot was persuaded to begin making his own wines by Selosse back in 2001, and the first release was in 2004. Based in Buxières-sur-Arce, he has 5.5 hectares in the Côte des Bar, which [...]

Video: in the spectacular Mosel region with Ernie Loosen

The Mosel is one of the most remarkable wine regions of all. Here, I’m in the vineyards with Ernie Loosen, visiting the Erdener Prälat and Urziger Würzgarten, before heading back to the winery for a tasting. The steep slopes are quite terrifying.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of July 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's wines, after several weeks of being a bit red heavy, lean towards the white end of the spectrum. Show More Summary

A couple of lovely Kiwi Pinots: Ma Maison and Yealands

Continuing my journey into the wonders of Kiwi Pinot, here are two lovely bottles recently consumed. The first was new to me. The second, Yealands, wasn’t a surprise: I always like these wines, and they are underpriced. Ma Maison Cuvée Two Richards Pinot Noir 2014 Martinborough, New Zealand 14.5% alcohol. A blend of equal parts Abel, 667 [...]

Gamay 32, François Rousset-Martin J’en Suis Gaga 2015

I had this wine on Wednesday night at the fab Westerns Laundry. It’s a Gamay from the Jura, but is labelled as Vin de France. François Rousset-Martin grew up in Burgundy where his father was a medical microbiologist at the Hospices de Beaune. But the family had some vines in the Jura: 12 hectares in [...]

Vinography Images: The Approach

The Approach MARGAUX, FRANCE: An early morning mist filters light down the driveay approaching Chateau Margaux in Bordeaux. Margaux is one of four original Premier Grand Cru classé wines according to the famous 1855 Bordeaux Classification. Show More Summary

Tasting six inexpensive Pinot Noirs on camera, and with tasting notes

Pinot Noir is one of my very favourite grape varieties. It’s a tricky grape, though, and finding good affordable Pinot can be a challenge. So I tried six inexpensive Pinot Noirs on camera, and gave my robust, honest opinions of them. Mr Noir Pinot Noir 2016 South Australia 14% alcohol £11.99 Virgin Wines Very fresh and supple with a [...]

One of the weaknesses of the growing degree day concept, and similar climatic indices

I remember back in my old job, when we had a scientific conference on the nature of intelligence. It’s a topic you approach with caution. Nature versus nurture? Genetics versus environment? Which wins? One of the concepts that got me was that we assume that two kids living side by side would be exposed to a [...]

Quinta do Monte d’Oiro, Lisboa, Portugal

Monte d’Oiro translates as mountain of gold, and it refers to the golden colour taken in early evening by the hill on which many of the vineyards are planted. The vineyard is in the Alenquer sub region, with the Atlantic 20 km to the west and Lisbon 50 km to the south. Climate is Mediterranean [...]

Hail strikes Burgundy and Beaujolais — again

Climate change is a bitch. Severe weather events have roiled wine growing areas with depressing regularity in recent years. Burgundy seems to be on the forefront of this plagued by floods, hail storms, late frosts and other events that have reduced (or in some places even eliminated) the crop. Show More Summary

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