On the first day of the Hunter Valley Wine Show, Major Al Lynch, in full military fatigues, explained to the wine judges what was expected of them: “if you are given an order you will follow it without question.” I’ve judged wine competitions in many different settings but this was my first time in […]
“Bonjour!” beamed the skinny young monk as he hurried past me down the steep dirt path, his brown habit flapping behind him. It turns out the local monastery had only been finished 10 years ago. I’d have thought there were sufficient monasteries in France to house today’s crop of aspiring monks, but apparently not. […]
I’ve just returned from a week’s judging at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, a couple of hours north of Sydney. It was a fascinating week, both in terms of the wines themselves and the Australian approach to judging – I’ll be writing about both in more detail in due course. The last day […]
When it comes to organising tastings, Decanter, as you might expect, are pretty adept – their tasting room in London is one of my favourite places to work through a lot of wines. I’ve participated a couple of panel tastings there recently, covering two of my favourite styles. The first is ‘Value Rhone’ […]
Until recently, being a wine enthusiast has been up there with collecting Benny Hill memorabilia or indulging in Dungeons & Dragons cosplay: a slightly suspect but essentially harmless eccentricity that your mates will put up with as long as you don’t tell their work colleagues. A bit like being a member of the Campaign for […]
Last week was exhausting. In the course of judging the 2016 Graffigna London Steak Awards I had to visit four of London’s best steak restaurants on four consecutive nights. I mentioned it on Twitter in the hope of some sympathy and support, but for whatever reason I received none. The world can be […]
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 […]
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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- Clos Cibonne 'Tradition' Tibouren Rouge 2014, Provence, France
Made from the rare red Tibouren grape (along with 10% Syrah) near Toulon in Provence, this is a savoury, chiselled red that’s worth tracking down. There’s some blackberry and black cherry in the background, but this brings to mind Herbes de Provence and hot stones sooner than fruit. It has a tight tannic frame and crunchy, fresh finish. Just about fairly priced at £23.99 at Red Squirrel.
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