Bacchus makes hay while the sun shines

How about this? A boutique festival set in beautiful woodlands, a sunny day, bands, DJs… and a massive choice of top quality wines served in a real wine glass. It almost sounds too good to be true – but this was what Amsterdam’s first Bacchus Wijnfestival offered for three days between 5-7th September. So bos I […]

Istria’s best wines – a brief round up

Decanter magazine’s September 2014 issue features my regional profile of Istria, arguably Croatia’s finest wine region – an area deserving a lot more attention than it currently gets. The wines and producers recommended in that article were necessarily constrained by what was available on the UK retail market at the time of writing. Here’s a more […]

Learning to love Welschriesling, the Hungarian way

There are some things in life that cause me to come over all opinionated. Battery chicken farming and Montsanto spring to mind. Add to that climate change deniers …  and Welschriesling. Maybe I just need to get out more. Be that as it may, I don’t claim that Welschriesling is evil, just terrifically dull – Especially compared to its […]

When slurping isn’t natural

I looked at the bottle three times, picked it up, took a photo on my phone. Something didn’t feel quite right. “This is simply a fabulous French no-nonsense natural wine…” screamed the label. And then further down, there it was again: “This wine is 100% natural as well as gorgeous to drink”. At €4.99 in […]

Lakeside view – musings on Lugana

“Our wines are made in the vineyard”. If I had a penny for every producer I’ve heard trot out this clichéd phrase, I’d be rich enough to buy a hectare of vines in Burgundy. This statement is safely out of scope in Lake Garda’s Lugana region, an area with a singularly focused approach to both grape […]

From the horse’s mouth – A short interview with Isabelle Legeron

I’ve just returned from a hugely enjoyable weekend spent at Rawfair, London’s biggest celebration of natural wines. In the space of three years, this event has become a must in my calendar. Every year, I’ve made exciting discoveries and every year I leave feeling hugely optimistic about the wine industry. Raw is never boring, there’s […]

The background to my natural wine challenge

Last summer, I wrote an enthusiastic article about rawfair – a hugely popular natural wine tasting about to run its third edition this weekend. My enthusiasm centred on the unstuffy atmosphere and the amount of vinous adventure that could be had in the space of a few hours. Well known wine writer, marketeer and non-mincer of words […]

Going Dutch – Apostelhoeve Cuvée XII

There isn’t much that the Dutch don’t grow – a glance at my weekly vegetable box reveals a predominance of homegrown produce. And no, I don’t mean something you can smoke. In the five months since I moved to Amsterdam, I’ve eaten Tomatoes, Carrots, Leeks, Peppers, Kohlrabi, Aubergines, Apples, Strawberries, very fine cheeses and cooked meats, […]

Amphoras ahoy in Tuscany – Fattoria di Sammontana

Tuscany, and more specifically Chianti isn’t somewhere I associate with diversity. This isn’t the wine region to pick if you want the thrill of discovering unheard of grape varieties, finding weird and wonderful orange wines or small, wacky estates. What Chianti does have is an unshakeable position in the annals of fine wine, even if the region […]