12 years of Xinomavro

SUMMER 2003, CRETE. I’m staying in a self-catering apartment hidden away on one of Chania’s many labyrinthine alleys.  Almost right opposite is a local shop where I stock up on pasta, vegetables and olive oil. The owner is super friendly and doesn’t speak a word of English. On my first visit he points to a giant […]

Seeing the world through orange-tinted glasses – Radikon & Paraschos

Orange wines have been on my mind lately, having spent the last few weeks writing an article for Decanter. Needing inspiration, I pulled the cork on two rather fine examples of the genre. They were so good, they deserve some blog love here… Radikon Oslavje First up was Radikon’s Oslavje 2003 – a blend of Chardonnay, […]

Calmel & Joseph – classy wines from Languedoc Roussillon

The Languedoc-Roussillon still has a bit of a name for being cheap – it’s France’s most important wine region in terms of quantity, with an extraordinary 299,000 hectares under vine (that’s three times the size of Bordeaux, also not exactly small), but you have to hunt for the quality. There are increasing numbers of overperforming […]

Wine out of context – tasting blind at DWCC 2014

Many of us have had this experience – while holidaying in a hot sunny paradise, you taste a fantastic wine (let’s say it’s a rosé) and decide to fill up the suitcase. Uncorking the same wine back at home, it’s utterly disappointing – thin and acidic, instead of the fruit-filled, lip-smacking gem you remembered. This is context – or […]

Load of old bull – does biodynamics need to explain itself?

“When I taste this wine, I imagine I’m walking up the dry river bed next to the Tatou vineyard, just after the rain. The smell of the wet stones is utterly distinctive.” This is the way that Colin Ross, vineyard manager at Seresin, likes to describe wine – no fruit descriptors, no talk of tannins, structure or pH. During a […]

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 […]

Neuburger en vacance

The thrill of the mysterious exerts an irresistible pull. Take a tall, dark handsome stranger, or flowers delivered with an anonymous love letter. Or in my case, a bottle of wine so obscure that all I could do was to uncork it and hope for the best. Yep, I’m a real romantic. It all started in a small […]

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 […]