My first week in New Zealand

Sunday 29th January New Zealand is a friendly place. Before I’d even landed in Auckland, a guy in…

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Decanter Regional Profile: Hermitage

It's hard to beat Syrah from the greatest sites in the Rhône, but I've tasted a few from New…

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How the other half drinks

Is there a quicker way to get to know someone than by flicking through their music collection or…

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2015 Rhône: bargain buys from a stellar vintage

The best value Rhône I've drunk this year "I do believe that it is a year where the 'lesser'…

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Producer profile: Clos des Papes

Vincent Avril, owner and winemaker of Clos des Papes, on the right I'm currently putting the…

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A travel guide to the Northern Rhône

As you may have gathered by now, I have a bit of a soft spot for the Rhône. I spend more and more…

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Lost in translation

What fabulous nectar does the following tasting note conjure up? “…notes of tangerine, candied…

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2015 Rhône: my week in the South

I’m currently in the Rhône researching my annual report for timatkin.com; this will be the fifth…

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The Gold Standard

On the first day of the Hunter Valley Wine Show, Major Al Lynch, in full military fatigues,…

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Ventoux: wild wild East

“Bonjour!” beamed the skinny young monk as he hurried past me down the steep dirt path, his brown…

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The Hunter Valley Wine Show

I’ve just returned from a week’s judging at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, a couple of hours north…

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Two Decanter tastings: Germany and Rhone

When it comes to organising tastings, Decanter, as you might expect, are pretty adept - their…

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Less tasting more drinking

Genwine Until recently, being a wine enthusiast has been up there with collecting Benny Hill…

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The 2016 London Steak Awards: rare qualities

Last week was exhausting. In the course of judging the 2016 Graffigna London Steak Awards I had to…

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German Syrah: Some like it cool

At the first wine course I ever took the tutor explained that Syrah and Shiraz are actually the…

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Chapoutier 2015 Sélections Parcellaires: the best vintage since 1990?

Every spring, Rhône ringleader Michel Chapoutier comes to London to unveil the new vintage of his…

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Beefed-up beef

For those of you reading who have children, just consider this fact for a moment. Some parents of…

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In your glass in sixty minutes

Whizzing home in my driverless car, I zip past yet another boarded-up wine shop. I suspected this…

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The shock of the new

When tasting my way through a large number of unfamiliar wines, there are a few tell-tale signs…

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The wine trade’s annual health check

Every year, after an overindulgent Christmas, the wine trade books an appointment with me for its…

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Wine matching: Apricot and almond tart

The recipe Serves: 8 Use a rectangular tart tin or a 23 cm round tart tin. 280 g packet sweet…

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English wine: too much of a good thing?

Sitting in the October sunshine, chewing on the corner of my baguette, I wonder how many others…

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Wine matching: Chicons Flamands

  There are three different coloured chicory; red, green and white. The white variety is…

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Breathable drinks

Like most kids of my generation, I was obsessed with Star Wars. My favourite scene was the Mos…

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Wine matching: Twice baked Bleu d’Auvergne soufflé

The recipe Unlike its once baked cousin, the best thing about this bistro classic is that,…

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A month steeped in Rhône

November is my favourite month. It’s when I research and write my annual Rhône Special Report. I…

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International Wine & Spirit Competition Blogger of the Year – I won!

  Is four years a long time in blogging? I suppose it is. After all, every blogger gets it…

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A new style of wine list

The UK restaurant scene has never been more rich and diverse, not just regarding the types of food…

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Do you want wine with that?

I still remember the first time I was offered a glass of wine at the hairdresser’s. I thought this…

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A Rhône diary – week 1

Sunday 25th October November is a lovely time to visit the Rhône. It’s still sunny but the air has…

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Romania: getting back on its horse

Standing at the baggage carousel in Timişoara Airport in western Romania, I was approached by a…

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Mr Vine September Panel Tasting: the results

September’s panel tasting took place at Winemakers Club, a wine bar/shop/events space that…

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Wine matching: cherry clafoutis

  Recipe 350g cherries, pitted 3 tablespoons caster sugar 2 tablespoon kirsch For the…

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“Where are the new people? Come on, step up to the plate.” An interview with Oz Clarke

Oz on the left, me on the right Growing up in 1980s Britain, there wasn't much wine on UK…

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Exclusive – A new white from Delas: Saint-Joseph Blanc ‘Sainte-Épine’ 2014

It’s not every day you get to witness the birth of a new star. That’s why I wanted to share with…

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Three recent Decanter articles

I've been writing a fair few pieces for Decanter magazine recently, covering my three favourite…

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Mr Vine July Panel Tasting – the results

This was the best panel tasting yet. Normally we select the five wines most deserving of your…

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Chapoutier 2014 Sélections Parcellaires: a difficult birth

The vintage I moved to London in August 2003 on one of the hottest days in living memory. Not the…

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Wine matching: Lamb with spring vegetables

The recipe 1 kg best end neck of lamb 2 tablespoons plain flour 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence 250…

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Mr Vine Tasting Panel #4: the results

It was another eclectic tasting for the panel in June, this time in the private room at 10 Greek…

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Guerrilla winemakers

One wine, in one place, for one year only. It's hard enough making wine in the same place each…

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Mr Vine Tasting Panel #3: The results

Here are the top five wines from a tasting of 14 at the last Mr Vine panel tasting. This is the…

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Wine matching: oeufs en cocotte

  The recipe 250g small mushrooms wiped clean 50g butter 4 free range eggs 500ml double…

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Mr Vine Tasting Panel #2: The results

The second Mr Vine Panel Tasting was another eclectic mix of wines from a variety of different…

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Lidl Wine Cellar magazine: how many?!

Six million copies. Six meeeeeeeellion copies. That’s the print run of the Lidl Wine Cellar…

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What I learned whilst judging The London Steak Awards

Hawksmoor Knightsbridge Over the past four weeks I've been helping to judge the 2015 London Steak…

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Introducing the Mr Vine Tasting Panel

Yesterday saw the launch of a new wine app: it’s called Mr Vine. Say Hello to Mr Vine Mr Vine is an…

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UK vermouth and amaro: you bitter believe it

In the UK we can be a bit prejudiced against flavoured wines and spirits. It’s not hard to see why…

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Wine matching: Chocolate fondant

The recipe 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing 100g dark chocolate 2 eggs, plus 2 egg…

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Anosmia: The smell of silence

When visiting an art gallery, I prefer to wander alone rather than in company. To be left to…

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Wine matching: Daube de Boeuf à la Provençale

  This is a really handy recipe to have up your sleeve. It's not expensive, it's easy to…

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Marlborough: The Fear of France?

If you like Sauvignon Blanc, you'll love Marlborough in New Zealand. Of its 22,903 hectares of…

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Wine matching: Poulet Vallée d’Auge

    After sketching out portraits of over 30 different French wine regions for my…

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Braver New World

“Sorry I’m late sir. Ignore the bandage, I had an unexpected visit to the hospital to get my ear…

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Chinon: Word to the wise

Cellar door, Domaine de la Roche Honneur, Chinon Chinon straddles the Vienne, a small tributary to…

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South Africa: Vote Yes

Sometimes it takes events like the Scottish Referendum to make you realise that however ancient…

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Cornas: Elemental force

Olivier at Domaine Clape, one of the best estates in Cornas   Syrah is a versatile grape. At…

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2013 Rhône Report – out now

Tasting with Philippe Guigal, July 2014 I spend one month every year compiling my annual Rhône…

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Picpoul vs. Muscadet: When life gives you Melons

Picpoul or Muscadet? Like a weathered George Michael cynically observing a shiny young Justin…

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Saumur: Precious stone

  Fruits, herbs and spices are fairly common, but can you detect minerals in a wine? Certain…

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Split infinity

What do you feel like drinking tonight? Red or white? Still or sparkling? Dry or sweet? With an…

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Cafe Below: my latest wine list

After drinking it and writing about it, my next favourite wine-based pursuit is producing wine…

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Bandol: Here be giants

    The classic seaside town of Bandol, 20 miles to the east of Marseille, is a peaceful…

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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),…

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Gigondas: Châteauneuf’s little brother

There is a hierarchy within the family of villages that makes up the Southern Rhône.…

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Decanter article: The New World of the Northern Rhône

I contributed an article to the recent Decanter Rhône Special (July 2014 issue) on Crozes-Hermitage…

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Early drinking

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m beginning to miss the huge off-licence chains we had in the…

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St Péray: Cut from a different cloth

St Péray on the left; Cornas on the right A quick intro to the wines of St Péray... Like a beauty…

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Madiran: Blood reds

The vineyards of Madiran are hidden away in the foothills of the Pyrenees in Gascony. They stretch…

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Newcomers on the scene

They wouldn’t have got past the elevator pitch in Dragons’ Den. “So you want to sell premium…

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Tavel: Don’t judge a wine by its colour

  A quick intro to the wines of Tavel...   Of all the colours of the rainbow, the colour…

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Chapoutier’s class of 2013

If the majority of the press surrounding the 2013 vintage in Bordeaux is to be believed, most en…

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Gascogne: Of coops and co-ops

A quick intro to the wines of Gascogne... The Côtes de Gascogne, south of Bordeaux, is a sprawling…

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Madeira quake

I always find it strange how fortified wines – Sherry, Port and Madeira – are so often portrayed…

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Digging Graves

A quick intro to Graves... Every year, the two titans of Bordeaux – the Left Bank and Right Bank –…

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Spend less, drink better

The UK is a nation of bargain hunters. There are more pound shops on Britain’s high streets than…

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Grignan-Les-Adhémar: A red and white wedding

Often referred to as a single entity, the Rhône really consists of two distinct regions. The…

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Recent articles: 2012 Rhône Report, White Rhône, New World wines and food

Here are links to three recent articles I've written that appear elsewhere on the web. Firstly, for…

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Searching for the perfect Pinot Grigio

It’s OK, you can admit it. We’re all friends here. You don’t like Pinot Grigio, do you? To say so…

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Saint Mont: Weird and wonderful

The vines behind the monastery at St Mont Some wine regions make it easy for us, planting…

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Supergrapes vs. Evil Greegeo

Whenever I hear about a new graphic novel based around wine like The Drops of God or The Initiates,…

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Minervois: press rehearsal

A brief intro to Minervois... Underneath the glowering Montagne Noire, due east of Carcassonne,…

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape: critical mass

A quick intro to the wines of Châteauneuf... Exploring the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape can…

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Contemporary drinking

Here's a link to a piece I wrote for The Wine Society's newsletter on changing attitudes to…

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The First Rule of Wine Club

Over the past twenty years book clubs have become part of the social fabric of the UK. A recent…

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Meursault: the fat of the land

A quick intro to the wines of Meursault... Meursault has a curious effect on me. I only need to…

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Cold Rush

It was a crude but effective way of making a wine buying decision: Old World vs. New World. You…

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Wine Buying Options Part 2: Supplementary channels

Yesterday we looked at the three primary channels for commercial wine buying in the UK:…

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Wine Buying Options Part 1: Wholesalers, Agents, Direct to Producer

Here's a recent article I wrote for wrote for trade magazine Harpers Wine & Spirit on…

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Cornas: the sweet smell of success

Olivier Clape Of all the red wines of the Rhône Valley, there is one that has an unfortunate…

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No place like Beaune

A brief introduction to the wines of Beaune... If you’re new to Burgundy, the handsome city of…

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Castillon: cast iron bargains

A brief introduction to the wines of Castillon... In terms of both reputation and prices Bordeaux…

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No grannies allowed: proper sherry

Here's a link to an article I wrote on the rise of proper sherry for Imbibe magazine:…

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Wedding wines – bling vs. bargain

When planning the wines for your wedding, sometimes it pays to look beyond the big names if you…

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A wine lover’s guide to Granada

The Alhambra, the jewel of Andalusia, stands proudly overlooking the town of Granada. Constructed…

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Vouvray: a class act

A brief introduction to Vouvray... The celebrity grape of the Loire Valley is Sauvignon Blanc.…

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London’s wine scene: a tale of two cities

Considering its total lack of vineyards, London's long-established position in the wine world might…

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Perfectly formed: the art of the short restaurant wine list

Many wine lists start out like ornate market gardens, with everything neatly laid out in sections…

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Confessions of an English Condrieu drinker

A short introduction to Condrieu... There are few wines as wantonly hedonistic as Condrieu. It’s…

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Canada: you can’t build an industry on Icewine

I wonder how many people buy themselves a second bottle of sparkling Icewine. Fun to try once, but…

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We need to talk about sherry

Sherry butts. Wrong answer. Last year you wouldn’t be seen dead ordering a sherry. It was drunk…

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Médoc: Reassuringly expensive

A quick intro to the wines of the Médoc... It not just the owners of Tarmac who have made a fortune…

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We’re all going on a summer holiday… diary of a #frenchwinetrip

Saturday 1st June Day 8, homeward bound. After an enlightening, exhausting and thoroughly…

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The Wine Snob: an endangered species?

The snob may look just like you and me, but it is parasite in disguise. It leaves its victim…

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Chablis: Ice queen

A brief introduction to the wines of Chablis... You’d have trouble making drinkable wine further…

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2011 Rhône: the George Harrison vintage

The Faravel brothers at Domaine de la Bouïssière © Søren Gudiksen Who was the best musician out of…

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Gevrey-Chambertin: Deep Burgundy

A brief introduction to the wines of Gevrey-Chambertin in Burgundy… With over 600 vineyards across…

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Communion wine: forbidden fruit

If Jesus had chosen something other than the fruit of the vine for his followers to worship him…

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Bottles of paradise

A brief introduction to the wines of Corsica... In Corsica, the regional wine is designated ‘Vin de…

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Everyday value? The best and worst of supermarket own label wines

Lined up against the wall in my hallway, they stood quietly like forlorn commuters queuing for a…

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Hermitage: Hidden Dragon

A brief introduction to the wines of Hermitage... Some of the most eminent winemaking villages of…

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Gaillac the Tortoise

Say the word ‘Gaillac’ and what does it conjure up? Not a lot. Florent Plageoles of leading estate…

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Champagne: the smallest stars shine the brightest

A brief introduction to the wines of Champagne... Most of us have a favourite Champagne, the label…

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Eleven Shades of Nebbiolo

To begin with I didn’t get it. Drinking Nebbiolo seemed like trying to swallow a cube, cut from a…

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Thinking outside the shop

Some interesting things have been happening to the wine shop over the past few years. Evolutionary…

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Alsace: snow whites

Alsace has a split personality. Tucked behind the Vosges mountains in north eastern France, this…

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Christmas wines – which wine for which roast

I wonder what Scrooge’s idea of the perfect Christmas lunch would be? Roast pauper with all the…

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The young tearaway of the south

Named after the local Occitan dialect (langue d’oc), the Languedoc is a huge swathe of land running…

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A sketch of four German wine regions

I went over to Germany a few weeks ago to get a feel for the different regions and what was…

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Northern Whites: wine in a cold climate

Inspiration can come in many forms. For Anders Selmer, his lightbulb moment was at a café in…

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Beaujolais – beau et joli

Take a gentle walk around the diminutive Beaujolais region in eastern France and you can’t fail to…

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Champagne: where the party’s really at

Sometimes I feel very lucky to be living in the UK when it comes to getting hold of good wine.…

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The Grape Day Calendar

It all started a few years ago with Cabernet Day. So far in 2012 we’ve seen Carignan Day (29th…

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Start drinking Furmint

To be sung to the tune of ‘Start Wearing Purple’ by Gogol Bordello:   “Start drinking Furmint…

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What the wine trade could learn from natural wines

“Wine’s not my kind of thing… it’s a bit, well, posh.” “It’s too complicated, I don’t understand…

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St Emilion: Liquid Luxury

St Emilion, in a nutshell: first published in Living France magazine, but this is longer. For many,…

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Pierre Mansour: Wine Society Selector

It does not sell Armand de Brignac ‘Ace of Spades’ Champagne, nor does it sponsor the drinks at…

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Wine Sampling Session: Internet Face Off

If you buy the weekend newspapers you’re bound to see promotions from time to time for cases of…

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Naked Wines – should you redeem that voucher?

Everyone loves a bargain. And there’s one little offer that keeps catching my eye – a voucher for…

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Slovenia: Cracking wines

Driving across Slovenia doesn’t take long. About three hours from one corner to the other; it’s…

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How to organise a wine tasting

When you arrange to meet your mates for an evening down the pub, no-one calls it a ‘beer tasting’,…

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Sherry: Collision Course

Last week I posted a crash course on sherry. Sherry is a relic, a throwback from an earlier age of…

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See you later Prometheus, here’s the trailer to Drink Me!

A couple of weeks ago we filmed a trailer for my new book, Drink Me. The idea behind it is to give…

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Sherry: Crash Course

Who knew squid testicles could be so delicious? More to the point, which lunatic tried cooking with…

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How to choose the wine for your wedding

When it comes to buying wine, if there’s one time you need to get maximum bang for buck it’s when…

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Describing grape varieties: white grapes

Last week I tried to describe the character of the most common red grape varieties; party by…

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Describing grape varieties: red grapes

Right, just a bit of fun this week. If there’s one good way of trying to guess what the wine in a…

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When I hear ‘cult wine’ I reach for my revolver

I was walking around the recent Annual California Wine Tasting in London the other day and one…

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The most widely planted grape in Japan: Koshu

It’s not every day I have the excuse to start a blog post with a haiku, but I do today, so here…

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Dudley & de Fleury Wines: “it’s easy to fall in love with Fanny”

It has clearly been a hectic few months for the two Richards, Dudley and de Fleury. Operating for…

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Austrian reds: don’t laugh

Supplier: “Hello Matt, what would you like to taste?” Me: “The St Laurent – I’m just tasting St…

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The Art of Spitting

If you go to a lot of wine tastings, it’s easy to forget just how strange the whole spitting thing…

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Oregon: Stunning Pinot Noir, suspect Pinot Gris

The most expensive bottle of wine I ever bought was a Pinot Noir. A Burgundy from a great vineyard,…

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Mr Lawrence’s: a quietly inspiring wine merchant in southeast London

Sitting down, I ask Mr Lawrence to describe what Brockley was like when he first opened his wine…

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En primeur: How to taste unfinished wines

As months go, we all know that January is a tedious windbag. But what it does have going for it is…

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New Cru: the cream of the Languedoc

Powerful words, ‘Grand Cru’. Referring to a wine or a vineyard of the highest quality, this tiny…

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Carignan the Barbarian

The Trailer (1982) For centuries, the gentle giant wandered carefree amongst the foothills and the…

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Yes, THAT Lebanon

Some countries are on the fringes of wine production, and Lebanon is certainly one of them. Most…

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Why there has never been a better time to get into wine – or Does Decanter magazine make you blush?

There was one magazine above all that I found embarrassing to buy as a student. I used to…

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Wine Drinking No. 2: Biodynamic vs. Conventional, this time in Manchester

Last Friday, I made my way from a foggy London up to Manchester by train with a clinking suitcase…

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Wine Drinking No. 1: Biodynamic vs. Conventional

A week ago, a bunch of us got together with the intention of opening a load of bottles. I prefer to…

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Corison: elegant, drinkable, remarkable

For a producer with a well established, albeit understated, reputation, we were surprised to find…

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Terroir in California: A New Hope

There were more than 2,500 wineries operating in the United States before Prohibition was instated…

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Wine Rack: Back to the Future

Unwins; deceased. Threshers; defunct. Victoria Wine; departed. The era of the off-licence chain is…

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Lea & Sandeman: Classic but up-to-date

Charles Lea and Patrick Sandeman set up their first shop 23 years ago, and now they have four, all…

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Tesco Wine Fair: the good, the bad and the ugly

I’m not going to lie to you. The masochist in me just couldn’t wait to go to the Tesco Wine Fair.…

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The future of wine packaging part 2: Bag-in-box, bang up-to-date

In yesterday's post, I mentioned a company called Sfuso who supply a couple of the shops in London…

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The future of wine packaging part 1: None at all

I took a stroll down Amwell Street in Islington a couple of days ago and discovered a rather…

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Majestic Wine Warehouses: Last man standing

There have been a lot of changes on the high street over the past few years when it comes to buying…

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Why Californian wine is so expensive in the UK

It’s easy to forget how new California is to making wine. Whilst in Napa Valley last month, I had…

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Waitrose: Still the best supermarket for wine

This year Waitrose have won all four major drinks awards for ‘Supermarket of the Year’…

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The Wine Society: Impressive value

In a world of Enomatic machines, crowd sourcing and Twitter fire-sales, The International…

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New trends in California: Moscato and Primitivo

White Zinfandel is dead. Long live Moscato! It is ubiquitous, and uniformly awful. It tends to have…

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