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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Oh Balls! (Or how customer service saved the day)

Picture the scene – four old friends, and we’ve just passed a convivial evening in a restaurant. It’s Thursday night, 9.30pm, no-one’s ready to go home but at the same time a change of scenery is called for. Oh yes, and we’d like good wine please. The trouble is, we’re in Victoria. A quick look on […]

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 […]

Julie’s Jurassic Jaunt (or “how to buy wine for 40 people”)

So, I have a friend, we’ll call her Julie. Julie says to me, please can you buy the wine for my upcoming 40th birthday celebration – a weekend house party on the Jurassic coast (near Lyme Regis), with 40 guests (including the Morning Claret, off duty of course). I ask for guidance, and luckily it’s […]

Molto passione vino

This week, my favourite mild-mannered winemaking genius Sandi Skerk  was in London, at a stellar tasting organised by Italian specialist importer Passione Vino. I’d previously tasted many of the Skerk wines at the vineyard as barrel samples, so it was great to compare that with the final bottlings – in this case all from the 2009 vintage. The […]

Hotel du Teran

Winemakers can be a tricksy bunch. There are the natural showmen and marketeers, keen to show you their “icon” wines and boast about how much new oak is used for the premium cuvees. Then there are the quiet taciturn types who, you suspect, would rather be out in the fields than talking to you. Somewhere […]

Smoke on the water – Hungarian Wine House tasting

Any bon-viveur worth their salt will be familiar with Hungary’s most famous vinuous export – Tokaji Aszu. This luscious yet refreshing nectar has assured Hungary’s place on the international wine map for the last 400 years. Additionally, those of a certain age may remember when Eger Bikavér (AKA “Bull’s Blood”) was king. Sadly this deep-hued, […]