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 […]

Seven reasons why I love orange wines

I’m drawn to outsiders – people who dare to be different, who stand proudly out from the crowd. That makes orange wines – and the winemakers who produce them –  an easy sell. This is a style that can shock, surprise and thrill. A stand-out orange wine tasting at Styria’s Ploder Rosenberg winery reminded me of how much […]

Et tu Brut? Tarlant and zero dosage Champagne

A few months ago, a discussion about “zero dosage” Champagne erupted onto my twitter feed. Robert Joseph typically voiced it with brevity and force: “There’s NOTHING hedonistic about zero dosage wine. At least not to non-masochists.” What was this all about? Well, most Champagne, and notably all of the big non-vintage brands (The “Grand Marques” […]

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 […]

Feeling (Green and) Blue

You don’t expect to end up on the dance floor with the proprietor at the end of a wine tasting, but that’s what happened at last Sunday’s wine and music matching event at Green and Blue. The concept seemed simple enough – six wines to be tasted, each one with a specific piece of music […]

Fulvio Bressan – Taking the long-term view

Winemaking has developed significantly in the last few decades. Winemakers now routinely draw on a vast canon of research, learning and technology to help ensure that they produce consistent wines and harvest fruit in prime condition, year in, year out. Vintage variation, of the sort that wrote off most early 90′s Bordeaux, is almost a […]