At the first wine course I ever took the tutor explained that Syrah and Shiraz are actually the same grape but under different names. It felt like an illuminating nugget of knowledge at the time, but it turned out to be fool’s gold. At their extremes, these two styles are so different that […]
Every spring, Rhône ringleader Michel Chapoutier comes to London to unveil the new vintage of his top single vineyard wines, the Sélections Parcellaires. It’s a hotly anticipated tasting for a number of reasons. Firstly, because Chapoutier’s wines are consistently among the best in the region. Secondly, because he shows his new vintage six […]
For those of you reading who have children, just consider this fact for a moment. Some parents of young children don’t drink wine. Hard to believe isn’t it – who are they, and how do they survive? Perhaps they don’t: I’ve never met a teetotaller with kids.
One reality of having young children […]
Whizzing home in my driverless car, I zip past yet another boarded-up wine shop. I suspected this one wouldn’t last much past 2020. You couldn’t sample the wines or buy food, and they didn’t have any wines you couldn’t find elsewhere. Some small chains are still going strong, but you can’t actually enter their […]
When tasting my way through a large number of unfamiliar wines, there are a few tell-tale signs that I’ve encountered something special. Firstly, an involuntary smile creeps over my face. Secondly, I find myself hurriedly writing a long note. But I know that I’ve come across something truly singular when scoring the wine feels […]
Every year, after an overindulgent Christmas, the wine trade books an appointment with me for its annual health check. Though most of its vital signs are entirely typical for a patient of its age, it suffers from a certain… anxiety. Normally I just let the patient talk – and my god can he […]
Use a rectangular tart tin or a 23 cm round tart tin.
280 g packet sweet shortcrust pastry (or even better, make your own).
100 g unsalted butter
100 g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sitting in the October sunshine, chewing on the corner of my baguette, I wonder how many others have witnessed this timeless scene: pickers working their way up rows of vines, loading their baskets with bunches of grapes. But this isn’t Sancerre, it’s Sussex, and the baguette was from Greggs. There are now 135 wineries […]
There are three different coloured chicory; red, green and white. The white variety is forced in dark cellars or under a dark barrel, a practice that originated in France in the 17th century and was taken up in Belgium around 1850 where the plant was known as witloof meaning white […]
Like most kids of my generation, I was obsessed with Star Wars. My favourite scene was the Mos Eisley Cantina, where Luke Skywalker meets Han Solo in a violent dive bar teeming with various rubber-headed aliens drinking bubbling concoctions and inhaling noxious vapours. So the idea of inhaling a drink rather than […]
Shortlisted for Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards 2016 Online Drink Writer
Shortlisted for The Louis Roederer International Wine Writers' Awards 2015 Online Communicator
Runner Up in the Born Digital Wine Awards 2015 Best Editorial/Opinon Wine Writing
Shortlisted for Harpers Wine & Spirit French Wine Awards 2014 Best French Wine Writer/Critic
Shortlisted for International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014 Blogger of the Year
Shortlisted for International Wine & Spirit Competition 2013 Blogger of the Year
Off Licence News Top 25 Policy and Opinion Formers 2013
Winner of The Drinks Business Awards 2013 Communicator of the Year
Winner of Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards 2013 Newcomer of the Year
Shortlisted for International Wine & Spirit Competition 2012 Blogger of the Year
Matt Walls first got into wine working in an off-licence in Brighton. He has since worked for Bollinger Champagne and helped manage and buy wines for The Sampler, one of London's best wine shops. He now spends half his time writing about wine and the other half collaborating on various wine-related projects. His first book, Drink Me!, was recently published by Quadrille and has sold over 10,000 copies.
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- H J Fabre Malbec Barrel Selection 2014, Patagonia, Argentina
I often find Malbec to be a bit two-dimensional and heavy, but this is not your average example. It’s from the cooler region of Patagonia, and the freshness is evident in the wine. It has real aromatic finesse – black cherry, dark plum, just-ripe blackberry and some herbal blackcurrant leaf in the background. Medium-bodied, fresh, pure, easy to drink. Easy to see why this won a trophy at the Decanter World Wine Awards last year. Great value at £11.99 from Laithwaites if you buy six.
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