The trials of being organic

Here’s my latest column for US online wine magazine Palate Press  – focusing mostly on organic producers in Graves. Last week, the New Zealand Organic Focus Project gave a public presentation on three medium to large NZ wineries who participated in a side-by-side organic versus conventional agriculture trial. The aim was to demonstrate the relative ease […]

Blank de Blanc

I visited Graves & Pessac-Léognan during harvest this year, and was really struck by the relative (for Bordeaux) good value that some wines represent – and by how invisible the white wines are in the UK – a great shame. My piece for Tim Atkin’s site goes into more detail: Browsing the wine selection at Bordeaux […]

Wine is more than just a product

I’m quite proud of this short hymn to artisan wine producers, written for Palate Press after returning from holidays in Slovenia and a wine conference in Switzerland – even if I realised later that “commodity” would be a better word to use than “product”. Wine has a vast cultural history and diversity, and in many wine producing countries […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]