A maceration masterclass at Il Carpino – Ribolla Gialla 2011

If you want to have a masterclass in how skin contact affects white wines, there’s probably no better place than Franco and Anna Sosol’s tasting room. Il Carpino is their 17ha estate, situated on the same winding hill road as Radikon and Gravner, in Friuli Collio.

Cornelissen’s way – Making wine without sulphur

I’m delighted that this feature was awarded “Best editorial/Opinion wine writing” in the 2015 Born Digital Wine awards. It originally appeared on Tim Atkin’s website in March 2014. Mount Etna’s most controversial winemaker, Frank Cornelissen, is a hard man to track down. After a first failed meet up (my tardiness partially to blame) and a number […]

Master of the Carso: Sandi Skerk – Ograde 2012

Sandi Skerk must have one of the most idyllically sited vineyards in Friuli, if not the world. Grassed terraces curve gently around the contours of the Carso hills, and lead your eye out towards the Adriatic coast. I’m profoundly happy to be standing by his albarello-pruned Vitovska vines, almost four years to the day after a previous eye-opening visit in 2011. Sandi is of course the same as ever – gentle, rather shy, yet somehow dogmatic and politely forceful when he needs to be.

Sepp Muster – Erde 2012

If you made a list of the world’s most vertiginous wine regions, Southern Styria would certainly be amongst them. Vineyards sprawl up and down extraordinary gradients, at unlikely angles to each other. It’s a breathtaking, individual landscape, and therefore quite fitting that the area is home to some of Austria’s most unconventional wines and producers.

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, […]

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 […]