Beyond Burgundy: The New World finds its way with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

From big-fruit ‘varietal wines’ to joyless Burgundy-lite pastiches, the New World has taken a while to get its head around Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But there is a third way – and it’s working. What does New World Chardonnay taste like? What about classic New World Pinot Noir? It’s a question that was easier to answer in the 1990s, when the ‘international style’ was easy to spot among leaner,…

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Images of Lirac, March 2019

Eric Pfifferling, Domaine L'Anglore   Carbonic maceration lessons with Eric   Ermitage de la Sainte Baume   Plateau de Vallongue, Lirac   Limestone pebbles, Saint-Laurent-Les-Arbres   Rodolphe des Pins, Domaine de Montfaucon   Bush vines planted in 1870, Domaine de Montfaucon  

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Images of the Luberon, February 2019

View from Bonnieux Valentine Tardieu-Vitali, Château la Verrerie Clay limestone bench under the Montagne du Luberon Nathalie Margan, Château La Canorgue Bonnieux from Château La Canorgue Philippe Tolleret, Marrenon

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The kingdom of the blind

Most wine professionals have a story of when they aced a blind tasting, a well-worn tale of olfactory deduction that would have Sherlock Holmes slack-jawed in amazement. It inevitably concludes with a self-deprecating comment along the lines of ‘normally I get it completely wrong of course’ in the hope that the taster can both impress and not come across as a shameless show-off. Blind tasting is…

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Images of Vinsobres, Feburary 2019

Vinsobres, the most northerly Cru of the Southern Rhône In the village of Vinsobres L-R: Laurent Reinteau, Cellier des Dauphins; Anais Vallot, Domaine Vallot; Philippe Chaume-Arnaud, Domaine Chaume-Arnaud; Pascal Jaume, Domaine Jaume; Mickaël Jaume, Cave La Vinsobraise (standing far right). Lieu-dit Les Préaux, on the Plateau Cédric Guillaume-Corbin of 6-ha Domaine La Péquélette - 'the smallest'…

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Images of Séguret, February 2019

Séguret Different terroirs: mountain, première terrasse, vin de pays at the bottom On the slope near the village, Domaine de Cabasse   A view of the Dentelles from the top of the mountain     Domaine Jean David, co-owner and winemaker Jean-Luc Auffrut in the background   Christian Voeux, Domaine de l'Amauve   From the mountain All images © Matt Walls

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Images of Beaumes de Venise, January 2019

Beaumes de Venise Beaumes de Venise terroir, near Lafare Rocalinaud The view from Rocalinaud Romain and Elisabeth Hall, Domaine des Bernardins Romain Hall, Domaine des Bernardins Sabine and Isabelle de Menthon, Chateau Redortier All images © Matt Walls

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Crab brains and Cabernet

The last twenty metres of road aren’t yet tarmacked on the way to He Jin Zun winery in Ningxia, northern China, so we get out and crunch over the gravel on foot. Consultant winemaker David Tyney bounds out to greet us and walks us through the building site past rows of gleaming steel tanks into the noisy winery. He’s from New Zealand but most other employees are locals. A dozen women in…

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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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