2017 Rhône Report – results now live

Is 2017 a great Rhône vintage? The shortest answer is 'sometimes'. No vintage is 100% consistent but 2017 is particularly variable, oscillating from the phenomenal to the undrinkable. It was a very warm and exceedingly dry year, yielding a small crop of powerful wines, the best of which will last for decades. My take on the vintage and a selection of the Top 300 most notable wines (from over…

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Decanter article on sweetness in wine

The Mosel Valley in Germany - home of some of the finest sweet wines in the world Here's a recent article that I wrote for Decanter on sweetness in wine - how do you know how sweet your wine will be before you pop the cork? I spent a few weeks tasting loads of different wines of various sweetness levels from all over the world, and it delivered some of the most memorable drinking experiences of…

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Eccentric current

English sparkling wine producers collectively present a terribly well-to-do appearance, all smart chinos and glasses of fizz on the lawn. But Pythonesque tendrils are creeping through the cracks in the patio… From Sussex Pinotage, to Tooting rosé, all the way to orange wine from Surrey, the irrepressible English sense of eccentricity is alive and kicking in its increasingly peculiar and wonderful…

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I’ve made a wine documentary for BBC’s Inside Out!

Despite the fact so many of us regularly drink and enjoy it, wine rarely features on UK television. So I’m really pleased to be part of a 10-minute documentary on the historic 2018 vintage in England and the advent of London’s urban wineries for BBC London’s Inside Out. Watch the video here. As a nation, we can still view wine with suspicion, like it’s some kind of ‘elitist’ drink compared to…

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Undeniable class

Imagine trying to buy a bottle of Burgundy if appellations didn’t exist. You’d have the producer, the vintage, maybe a brand name. But with no agreed village boundaries, let alone Premiers or Grands Crus, how well could you really get to know the region? Wine classifications may not be the sexiest topic, but admit it – you’d be lost without them. Not long ago there seemed to be as many different…

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Wine bar chains: missing link

Davy's Boot & Flogger, London Bridge The UK is home to over 400 branches of Nando’s. Greene King runs over 3,100 pubs and restaurants. There are over 2,300 Costa cafes; 12 in Chelmsford alone. We British love a chain. So why are there so few sizeable chains of wine bars? Only three spring to mind with over 10 outlets: Davy’s, All Bar One, and newcomer Veeno. How do they compare, and is it…

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The future of wine: trend predictions from the experts

New amphora at Clos du Caillou in Châteauneuf-du-Pape   In the 1990s, we drank Aussie Chardonnay. In the 2000s, it was Pinot Grigio. The 2010s have been mostly pink or sparkling. So what’s next? I’ve spoken to some wine industry trendsetters to build a picture of what we might be drinking in the 2020s. Bubbling up At the start of the 2010s, we suddenly realised that we didn’t need a special…

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Urban wineries: capital ventures

When London's first urban winery opened in 2013, I was cynical. But London Cru is still going strong, having since won multiple awards for its wines and gained listings in Michelin-starred restaurants. A second winery, Renegade Wines, opened in Bethnal Green in 2016 and a further two are opening in the capital this year. With fruit being sourced from as far afield as Spain and Italy, it’s a…

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Flower power

Domaine Albert Boxler, Alsace The following is an article written for on-trade drinks magazine Imbibe. In a world of Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, floral whites are a tough sell. Matt Walls asks top somms which varieties might be ready for a summer of love... The tastes of sommeliers are sometimes at odds with the wine-drinking public. I’m talking about what they wear, of course – formal…

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The perfect 8/10 vintage

Last week I opened a bottle of 2010 Bordeaux. Nothing fancy – Château La Tour de By, a reliable Cru Bourgeois from the Médoc. Nope; still not ready. It hardly tasted of anything. It’s a ‘great vintage’ in the region, and eventually the wines will be wonderful; but in the meantime, nothing disappoints like a great vintage that’s not ready to drink. They might receive a 10/10 on vintage charts,…

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