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, […]

Out with the alt, in with the nieuw

A few days before the end of 2013, I said goodbye to Eisenstadt, the tiny Austrian town that has been my home for most of the year. New adventures in Amsterdam are calling – but this blog isn’t supposed to be autobiographical, so let’s get back to the wine. Eisenstadt may be small, but it’s […]

Seven reasons why I love Moscato d’Asti

Look, I’m not after anything serious. Let’s just flirt and enjoy each other’s company – we don’t have to be relationship material do we? We both know it feels good . . . oh but it does feel good. I love your undemanding effervescence, your fresh, charming yet captivating perfume – mmm, elderflowers, grapes, peach […]

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 […]