Chinon straddles the Vienne, a small tributary to the south of the Loire between Saumur and Tours. It’s pretty in parts; rolling wooded hills, sunflowers, birdsong. The unassuming landscape doesn’t declare its potential like the more dramatic wine regions of France. However to notice a bottle of Chinon in a friend’s wine rack is to [...]
Sometimes it takes events like the Scottish Referendum to make you realise that however ancient and permanent the old order appears, the status quo could suddenly change. It’s no different in the world of wine: in fact, there’s one anomaly that I’ve been increasingly aware of recently. South Africa [...]
Syrah is a versatile grape. At one end of the scale, it can make light, fresh, quaffable tonics, bright purple, scented with violets and tasting of blackberries. Cornas, however, lies at the other extreme. These are mightily powerful, black wines of thunderous intensity. It’s a storm surge in a bottle.
This tiny appellation lies [...]
I spend one month every year compiling my annual Rhône Report, so it’s always a great feeling when it’s finished and ready to read. I hope it’s fair to say that it’s the most useful and most readable guide to the new vintage that money can buy. You can download a copy here: http://www.timatkin.com/reports/2013-rhone-special-report
Since I spend [...]
Like a weathered George Michael cynically observing a shiny young Justin Bieber, Muscadet must be thinking to itself ‘been there, done that’. After its 1980s heyday of wild success, Muscadet has seen some hard times, but young upstart Picpoul de Pinet seems to have everything going for it. In many ways, however, they [...]
Fruits, herbs and spices are fairly common, but can you detect minerals in a wine? Certain individuals pick up aromas associated with rocks like struck flint or chalk dust; others, the smell of seashells. Some drinkers perceive a kind of saltiness on the tongue. It appears to be a more widespread phenomenon [...]
What do you feel like drinking tonight? Red or white? Still or sparkling? Dry or sweet? With an endless number of wines in countless styles to choose from, it’s necessary to segment this unwieldy mass to help yourself (or someone else) make a choice. But as the world of [...]
After drinking it and writing about it, my next favourite wine-based pursuit is producing wine lists. Cafe Below is a restaurant in the crypt of St Mary-le-Bow Church in the heart of the City. Apparently if you’re born within earshot of the church bells, that means you’re a true Cockney, and when the building was [...]
The classic seaside town of Bandol, 20 miles to the east of Marseille, is a peaceful if touristy destination. But the terraced vineyards on the wooded hillsides behind the town are home to some fearsome beasts. When certain local grape varieties are grown in this crucible under the scorching Mediterranean sun [...]
Decanter asked me to write a piece on London wine bars, it’s in the current issue (November 2014), available now. It lists the ten bars that define the contemporary scene (and five excellent bars from the rest of the UK). You can download it using the link below.
Shortlisted for Harpers Wine & Spirit French Wine Awards Best French Wine Writer/Critic 2014
Shortlisted for International Wine & Spirit Competition Blogger of the Year 2014
Shortlisted for International Wine & Spirit Competition Blogger of the Year 2013
Off Licence News Top 25 Policy and Opinion Formers 2013
Winner of The Drinks Business Awards Communicator of the Year 2013
Winner of Fortnum & Mason Food & Drink Awards Newcomer of the Year 2013
Shortlisted for International Wine & Spirit Competition Blogger of the Year 2012
Matt Walls is part of a new generation of modern young wine writers who are more interested in mind-blowing flavour than etiquette. Having first got into wine working in off-licenses in Brighton, he has since worked for Bollinger Champagne and helped manage and buy wines for The Sampler, a wine shop in London where you can try the wines before you buy. He is a judge for three international wine competitions, and his first book has just been published by Quadrille – Drink Me! How to choose, taste and enjoy wine. He works as a freelance writer and consultant and is based in London.
From time to time I put on various types of wine events; some are free, otherwise cheap, mostly in London. If you want to be added to the mailing list just send an email to mw(at)mattwalls.co.uk. No wine knowledge or experience required - just a thirst for something interesting.
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