Bordeaux 2009: in vino veritas?

POSTED ON 22/02/2010

Not a shot has been fired yet, nor a glass lifted in anger, pleasure or uncritical assessment, but the hype has begun. Welcome to Bordeaux 2009 en primeur and the annual circus that now seems routinely to surround a new Bordeaux vintage when there's a sniff of something interesting in the air. And there's no doubt that Bordeaux 2009 looks like being every bit as interesting in its own way as the other three successful vintages of the noughties, 2000, 2003 and 2005.

Sarah Ahmed's 50 Great Portuguese Wines - The Whites

POSTED ON 15/02/2010

Was it just coincidence I wonder that on the same day Vini Portugal put on a tasting in London of ‘50 Great Portuguese Wines’ chosen by Sarah Ahmed, the news from Lisbon was that researchers are working at finding a practical new use for cork: making the wings of a plane from compressed cork as a response to losing market share (to 70 – 75% from 90% in the 1990s) to screwcaps and plastic closures. Not that there was a screwcap or plastic closure on one single bottle of the 50 selected for the tasting.

Amarone della Valpolicella hits the G-spot

POSTED ON 09/02/2010

If you know your Italian wines (but don’t worry if you don’t: a recent survey found that even 70% had no idea where amarone was from), you'll know that amarone is the third and perhaps least well-known of Italy’s triumvirate of great reds: Chianti Classico/ Supertuscan and Barolo / Barbaresco being the other two.

Looking towards the Valpol hills from VeronaLooking towards the Valpol hills from Verona

Amazing Malbec

POSTED ON 01/02/2010

I am away in Italy for the tasting of the 2006 vintage of amarone (on which more soon), so meanwhile, instead of the usual weekly blog, here is my piece, Amazing Malbec, for Preferred Hotels Magazine, Vol V, Issue 2.

How Many Wines... The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

POSTED ON 25/01/2010

I have just come from a tasting of 64 champagnes put on by Fine & Rare Wines. The tasting was blind and the results of the wines tasted by Fine & Rare, myself and Her Majesty Jancis Robinson MW (unpaid I should make clear) will soon form part of an offer to be made by Fine & Rare Wines based on growers’ champagnes. Good for them. We’re so subservient to the Grandes Marques in this country that we rarely take the time out of our comfort zone to look for really interesting and characterful champagnes made by growers.

New Zealand's Sweet Nothings

POSTED ON 17/01/2010

It was all going so well. New Zealand wine was up 30% last year (to October) with an average bottle price of £6.25 compared to the next country, France, with £4.82, and whoa!, at the bottom of the Big 10 pile, South Africa at £3.84. Just before this year’s annual New Zealand tasting came the announcement of a raft of New Zealand sweet wines for tasting. These were only admitted to the UK on 14 December after the European Union had banned them for having more than 15% potential alcohol.

A Little Learning

POSTED ON 11/01/2010

Government advisers have been coming out of the woodwork with some pretty alarmist statements about alcohol. First we had David Nutt who said that ‘if you want to reduce the harm to society from drugs, alcohol is the drug to target at present’. Not a very happy choice of words. We now have the government’s chief doctor, Liam Donaldson, telling parents not to give their offspring alcohol, even watered down because ‘the more they get a taste for it, the more likely they are to be heavy-drinking adults or binge drinkers later in childhood’. Is that so?

MacMurchy, McIntosh and McArdle: a Wine Gang winner in Rioja

POSTED ON 14/12/2009

I am afraid I have had a problem with the server, who has lost my material back to August. As a result, I am having to upload this blog, and articles and blogs back to August, again. So please bear with me, and I hope to have normal service resumed asap.

MacMurchy, McIntosh and McArdle: a Wine Gang winner in Rioja

Gaia Gaja is no Lady Gaga

POSTED ON 08/12/2009

Gaia Gaja breezed into town yesterday to put on a tasting with her importer Armit at the Soho Hotel, celebrating the 150th year since her great, great grandfather Giovanni Gaja, founded what has become today one of Italy’s most famous wines, if not the most famous. Lady Gaja? Hardly. Gaia Gaja is unusual not just for her rather extraordinary name. Some of the world’s leading families have produced great figures that bestrode the 20th century world stage like giants, among them Miguel Torres, Piero Antinori, Robert Mondavi and one of the greatest egos of them all, Angelo Gaja.

Adelaide Hills Gold

POSTED ON 21/11/2009

Thank you, Paul (Henry), for the introduction. At the London Wine Trade Fair this year, I was being introduced as the speaker at a seminar on the wines of South West France by a Frenchman, who was asked to introduce me as Anthony Rose of the Independent and He promptly informed the assembled audience that they were about to hear from 'Anthony Rose of ze Independent and ze'. I can't speak for the quality of the information on the, but I can vouch for the wine website, the I share with four other British writers.

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