Wine

You’ll find everything from individual wine or producer reviews to reports from tastings or winery visits in this section. Here is a selection of recent posts about wine:

Interview with the Circle of Wine Writers S imon has been a member of CWW for less than two years, but being not a person to sit on the sidelines he is already a committee member and the circle’s webmaster. English, but currently based in Amsterdam, he lives a double life with an IT job that pays a few more bills than his wine writing work does, I imagine. As most who have started to write about wine within the past decade, Simon began writing about wine online, with his own blog that he started in 2011 when he was living in London. Within a couple of years he was writing for PalatePress.com and TimAtkin.com and was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Emerging Wine Writer of the Year 2013. He now writes in print too, for Decanter. Simon has embraced the world of organic and natural wines, but is pragmatic enough not to restrict his studies and explorations to these categories. Like many of us, he seeks out the obscure by preference, especially when it comes to grape varieties.With apologies for the unusually narcissistic post, here is an interview I did for the Circle of Wine Writers quarterly magazine. I’m publishing it here in case people find it interesting to know a bit more about who’s behind The Morning Claret. Thanks to Wink Lorch who wrote the introduction, conducted the interview and allowed me to ...

An extreme Ribolla Gialla from Renato Keber Renato Keber - Ribolla Gialla Extreme 2008Keber is typical of many small producers in Friuli Collio, in producing a range varying from the more conventional fresh, fruity varietal wines, to the more traditional. Keber’s Ribolla Gialla Extreme is a nod to the long skin maceration technique that has been embedded in Friuli’s wine traditions for centuries.

Benvenuti’s homage to a previous generation – Anno Domini 2010 Nicola BenvenutiSome varieties take to skin maceration like a duck to water. Malvasia Istriana is one of those, and there are a handful of producers in Croatia’s “Northern Tuscany” who are exploiting this quite delightfully -Giorgio Clai, Kabola and Benvenuti are the ones I’ve discovered so far.

Dario Prinčič – no ordinary Pinot Grigio Think Pinot Grigio, think insipid, water white cheap glugging plonk? Think again. Here is a 100% Pinot Grigio from Friuli Collio which confounds everything you ever knew about the variety.Dario Prinčič’s version macerates on its skins for around eight days during fermentation.

Sepp Muster – Erde 2012 Large oak barrel in Sepp Muster's wineryIf you made a list of the world’s most vertiginous wine regions, Southern Styria would certainly be amongst them. Vineyards sprawl up and down extraordinary gradients, at unlikely angles to each other. It’s a breathtaking, individual landscape, and therefore quite fitting that the area is home to some of Austria’s most unconventional wines and producers.

Nino Barraco – Cataratto 2013 Barraco - Catarratto 2013, at The Remedy, LondonWhen life gives you oysters, break out the bubbles. Or crack open the Muscadet. That is at least the conventional wisdom. But last Thursday, life (well, The Remedy to be precise) gave me a stunning skin contact Catarratto from Sicily, followed seconds later by a large plate of my favourite molluscs. Was this going to ...

Čotar – Malvasia 2004 Branko Cotar opens a wine in the tasting roomBranko Čotar has a very straightforward answer for me when I ask when he started using extended skin macerations for his white wines: “I’ve macerated my wines for 40 years – it’s the tradition here (in the Slovenian Kras region)”.

Andreas Tscheppe – Hirschkäfer Erdfass 2006 Andreas Tscheppe - Stag Beetle Erdfass 2011 + 2012The production methods for Tscheppe’s Erdfass (“earth barrel”), also known as Hirschkäfer (Stag beetle), seem bizarre at first glance. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc & Chardonnary ferments on the skins for two weeks, and is then transferred into a 600 litre oak barrel which is buried in the ground over the winter months. After the ...

Orange Weekly: Arndorfer – Neuburger “per se” 2013 Arndorfer Neuburger Per se 2013I’ve heard many stories about why winemakers have returned to traditional skin maceration for white wines – or why they were inspired to experiment with the style. But Martin Arndorfer’s is quite unique: “It was actually my Danish importer who suggested I start making an orange wine – his clients were demanding the style, ...

Orange weekly: Renčel – Cuvee 2001 Rencel - Cuvee 2001I employ a crude rating system when I’m jotting down tasting notes in the field. A wine gets either no stars (anything from terrible to quite good), one star (very good/excellent), or very rarely two stars (outstanding). 2015’s first two star wine was Josko Renčel’s stunning white blend, simply called “cuvée”.

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