Learning to love Welschriesling, the Hungarian way

There are some things in life that cause me to come over all opinionated. Battery chicken farming and Montsanto spring to mind. Add to that climate change deniers …  and Welschriesling. Maybe I just need to get out more. Be that as it may, I don’t claim that Welschriesling is evil, just terrifically dull - Especially compared to its […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Seven reasons why I love Beaujolais

Gamay, you are a charmer. That deceptively simple yet elegant perfume, your lightness of touch, and supple texture. Yes, you went a bit girly during your “nouveau” phase (circa 1980s), but that’s all water under the bridge now. Now you’re all grown up – mature and assured, and that much more attractive. I know you’ve […]

Great places to buy wine: Dvine Cellars

Something rather wonderful is happening with wine retailing in the UK. It didn’t begin well: Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen virtually all our mainstream wine merchants go bust – something catalogued by Tim Atkin in his recent article “The Fall of the British Wine Empire“. It’s been goodbye Unwins and Peter Dominic, adieu […]