The red badge of honour

Lukas Plöckinger picks me up in Eisenstadt at 6.30am prompt, on a chilly October morning. Lukas is the winemaker and vineyard manager at Weingut Tinhof, in Austria’s red wine heartland Burgenland, and he’s my teacher today as I pop my grape-picking cherry. Why am I doing this? Because I’m hoping that a day’s physical immersion […]

Seafood Grillo, Barraco style

It’s a gorgeous late summer evening on Sicily’s west coast. But instead of admiring the sea, our group of wine writers and bloggers are looking slightly perplexedly at what appears to be a patch of weeds. Actually this is Antonino “Nino” Barraco‘s prized hectare of coastal Grillo, practically growing on the beach and preciously handed […]

Austria’s Weinviertel: Districtus Austriae Confusius?

Ask most Austrian winemakers about their country’s “Appellation Controlée”-like DAC regulations and you’ll be lucky if you get so much as a luke-warm response. Few are comfortable with the fragmentation, label confusion and lack of consumer recognition that the nine regional DACs have as their current legacy. Austrian wine marketing board head honcho Willi Klinger […]

Et tu Brut? Tarlant and zero dosage Champagne

A few months ago, a discussion about “zero dosage” Champagne erupted onto my twitter feed. Robert Joseph typically voiced it with brevity and force: “There’s NOTHING hedonistic about zero dosage wine. At least not to non-masochists.” What was this all about? Well, most Champagne, and notably all of the big non-vintage brands (The “Grand Marques” […]

Permaculture in Slovenia: Visiting Miha and Ivan Batic

There’s an almost reactionary view that winemakers who practice organic or biodynamic viticulture end up having to be more, rather than less interventionist in the vineyard. The theory goes that instead of a single (noxious) spraying to knock out mildew/pests/anything else living, the organic or biodynamic vigneron will have to tramp through their vineyard countless […]

Georgian qvevri wine: If it’s good enough for God . . .

The 8,000 year old culture of wine in Georgia is extraordinary – a very good book could be written about it (and I hope someone will do that soon!). I visited Georgia in November 2012, as part of an EWBC press trip. Here’s an article I contributed for Tim Atkin’s site: For Father Gerasim, whether to treat his […]

Eulogising about Etna

Following a hugely inspiring trip to Sicily’s Mount Etna region back in September, here are links to a  couple of articles that I wrote on the subject:  Exploding onto the Scene: Realising the potential of Etna wines When Ciro Biondi announced that he was going to abandon his career as an architect, in order to revive the […]

Fulvio Bressan – Taking the long-term view

Winemaking has developed significantly in the last few decades. Winemakers now routinely draw on a vast canon of research, learning and technology to help ensure that they produce consistent wines and harvest fruit in prime condition, year in, year out. Vintage variation, of the sort that wrote off most early 90′s Bordeaux, is almost a […]

Modernist traditions of Istria

Most people will have a view about the classic “old world” wine producing nations – France, well it’s expensive, the name of the grape isn’t on the bottle, they’re still the greatest wines in the world, and so forth. Spain – they use a lot of oak, it’s all about Rioja, er..  and they make […]

Dalmatia Part 3: Korta Katarina

In my previous post I wrote about a family wine-producing micro-enterprise. The Bura winery produces only around 2,000 bottles each of their key wines, Bura Dingač and Mare Postup. I visited Boris Mrgdić and the Bura family in the morning. That afternoon, by way of contrast, I spent a few hours at Korta Katarina, an […]