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 […]

Celebrating intoxification at Domaine Canet-Valette

“Did God set grapes a-growing, do you think, And at the same time make it sin to drink? Give thanks to Him who foreordained it thus– Surely He loves to hear the glasses clink!” Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, 91st quatrain, translated by Richard Le Gallienne Alcohol has become one of society’s demons. It may be […]

Everything you ever wanted to know about New Zealand wine

I admit it, I’m not an expert when it comes to New Zealand wine, despite having enjoyed a fair number of bottles over the years. I love the intensity of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, even if the style has become a little clichéd – and I wouldn’t kick the Pinot Noirs of Martinborough or Central Otago […]

Orange wines – Significant or not?

This is the title of a  workshop I’m presenting at Vinisud on 25th Feb 2014. Here’s a short introduction to the topic, relevant if you plan to attend or equally if you’re an Orange wines fan and just want to know more. What’s in a name? First, some nomenclature: The term “Orange wines” is a crude descriptor, […]