Bandol: Here be giants

    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 the results can be staggering. This is the land of giants. Over half the…

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London wine bars – what you need to know

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. Decanter London Wine Bars Nov 2014 issue I've also produced an iPhone app in conjunction with the wonderful Blue Crow Media called The…

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Gigondas: Châteauneuf’s little brother

There is a hierarchy within the family of villages that makes up the Southern Rhône. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is famous the world over, and achieves heights of excellence that make it the pride of the region. This firstborn son is prone to take itself a little seriously however, and sometimes its bullish behaviour can go unchecked: flyaway alcohol levels, excess new oak and unreasonable pricing. To…

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