Sunday, 19 December 2010

Claret not blue

The weather's getting colder, the food is getting more substantial, and we're all getting into a more celebratory mood. In this season of snow, steak and Christmas trees, claret is the ideal wine. 

Claret is French, of course, but it has always been a favourite of the English, going right back to the happy times when we actually ran a large slice of the vineyard-packed south-west of France.

This Haut-Medoc from Chateau Tour Du Haut-Moulin has all the typical characteristics. Not a lot of fruit and the dry slightly mouldy tone may not be to everyone's taste. However, those spicy, woody aromas and the long, grape flavour works for me.

My claret-wearing football team may be bottom of the league this Christmas but after watching their hard-won draw at Blackburn I celebrated with few glasses of this Medoc. It's difficult not to feel things can only get better.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Go West!

When I think of Oregon I think of wagon trains about to tip off the west coast of America. But of course it's also host to some of the most sophisticated and pioneering new media folk in the world. So no surprise that this is a smooth, clever and rich wine.

I am a fan of Pinot Noir. Not to Sideways levels of fanaticism. But you will see from this blog that I enjoy its different manifestations according to climate and culture.

This one is velvety but with a lot of adjectives to follow: blackcurrant, warm, dry, full, deep but not too sweet. Perhaps not complex enough to be a classic but for a rounded and characterful drink. Well worth the wagon ride.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Eiswein Cometh

The grapes for this sweet German Riesling are harvested early in the morning around Christmas when temperatures drop to as low as minus eight degrees near the Rhine in western Germany.
I love sweet pudding wines like Sauternes. But what is magical about this Eiswein is the combination of sweetness with a refreshing fruitiness that almost sparkles on the palate. Like ice.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Schloss Vollrads - glass stopped gold

This Rheingau Riesling was a beautiful colour - I described it as 'thin gold', my partner used the word 'urine'. 
As it says on the label this was dry. But it had a good grapey flavour. 
Oddly it has a glass stopper under the foil. What's that about? 

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Kloster Eberbach

German reds are unfamiliar in the UK but this Pinot Noir from Hesse is a good example of why we should be drinking more. If you enjoy New World Pinots then this dry red with a lovely berry taste might suit. It's from a vinyard near the Eberbach Abbey where Name of The Rose was filmed. Rather more romantic than Frankfurt Airport where I bought this.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Swiss Rolle

This is a very Swiss wine so it was appropriate that I drank it on the terrace of the European Broadcasting Union's HQ in Geneva with a fine view of Mont Blanc. This Mont Sur Rolle comes from the shores of Lake Geneva and is made from the Chasselas grape, believed to originate in Switzerland.
It's a wine that reflects Switzerland's make-up. It's fruity but not as sweet or rich as a German wine. It's dry but not as crisp as a good French Alsace, for example. And it has something slightly eccentric about it like some of those more obscure north Italian varietals. A little too sweet for my taste but very good drinking in the autumn sunshine and, I am told, with fondue.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Pago de Carraovejas

A lovely Ribera Del Duero. The perfect superior party wine enjoyed at a reception at the Hay Segovia Festival where it captured the semi-serious mood in the Marques' rather lovely mansion. Great colour, good cool or warm, with a light but round berry flavour.


This Albarino was the perfect Gallician companion for the sea-food from the wonderful Ribero do Mino restaurant on Calle Santa Brigida in the Chueca district of Madrid. Medium light, dry with some acidity to help the shell-fish down.

Saturday, 11 September 2010


London, September, 2010

Very good value Tuscan red - soft, full-bodied, with a lovely curranty flavour but some depth and quite dry, too. Like a good Montepulciano.

Saint Aubin (white)

London, Sumer, 2010

Mineral, full-bodied white

Chateau Beaumont

London, Summer 2010

Ever dependable, good value Chateau Beaumont. Balanced claret with good fruit and a firm, dry base. Possibly needs a year or two more.

Gevry Chambertin

London, Summer 2010

Classic Gevrey - full, fruity Burgundy, well-rounded with a slight edge.


Bilbao, Spring 2010
Light and slightly fruity but with a clear and dry taste.