Wine out of context – tasting blind at DWCC 2014

Many of us have had this experience – while holidaying in a hot sunny paradise, you taste a fantastic wine (let’s say it’s a rosé) and decide to fill up the suitcase. Uncorking the same wine back at home, it’s utterly disappointing – thin and acidic, instead of the fruit-filled, lip-smacking gem you remembered. This is context – or […]

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 […]

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 […]

Great places to buy wine: Park and Bridge

“I would never have done this if I hadn’t started writing a wine blog”. So says Paola Tich, ex-journalist, blogger, communications supremo – and now owner of Acton’s newest independent wine merchant, Park and Bridge. Paola’s blog Sip Swoosh Spit is well known and well loved. Her writing is unstuffy and consumer focused. Paola explains that she […]

Raw, real or just natural? (Reflections on the Raw and real wine fairs of May 2012)

So, London is sitting back and relaxing (baking in a heatwave no less), after possibly one of the busiest weeks in the annual wine calendar – ever. We had two “natural” wine fairs running back to back, and merging seamlessly into the four day London International Wine Fair (which I didn’t attend). I’ve been trying […]

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 […]

Rock the Carso (Friuli Part 1)

Friuli-Venezia Giulia is Italy’s most North-Easterly region. Like many European border areas, Friuli has a composite identity made up of Italian, Slovenian and Teutonic cultures. Those borders, which can seem so trivial now (on our visit, we drifted into Slovenia and back, with nary a battered sign to remind us), have been hard fought over […]

Bubbling up in Brescia

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Lombardy is an attractive, stately city, untouched by major tourism and unhyped by the guide books. Brescia is the de facto capital of Franciacorta, a sub-region specialising in the production of sparkling wine. Brescia was also the location for this year’s superb European Wine Bloggers Conference, a friendly […]

Zucca and Brazan

Mrs. Claret and I have developed a cunning modus operandi for eating out at fine restaurants – rock up to the hottest ticket in town, without a booking, but at a slightly non-standard time (perhaps 6.30pm, or 9pm). Accept any seat, even if it is at the counter (which is frequently the case). Think you […]