My Gamay leg…

I have long wondered why I have never been able to taste a Gamay from New Zealand.

Some New Zealand Pinot Noirs seem to me to be like a really good Beaujolais ought to taste –  but hardly ever do!

So, by extension I have often  thought that Gamay itself  might well produce some worthwhile results down in New Zealand.

This belief somehow survived my trip to Beaujolais last year when I tasted some truly awful Gamays – bad enough to almost put me off the grape altogether – as well as enough lovely examples to help me keep the faith!

So, when I saw a New Zealand Gamay for sale today in Waitrose I just couldn’t resist buying it! Continue reading

What consumers actually drink: Part 1

kumala shirazI go through life truly believing myself not be elitist or a snob. In all walks I respect people’s views and their preferences, I might disagree, but what they like is what they like.

I am happy that you people enjoy all sorts of things that I fail to appreciate myself.

Live and let live is my motto.

I am so liberal and open minded; except……when it comes to wine. That is a real blind spot. I want to immediately convert people who drink very basic wine to something more interesting and exciting. I want them to see what I see in a wine.

The truth is that most consumers see wine quite differently from us trade and keen amateurs. We think about the complexity of wine, the artistry of it, the finesse of it, the elegance – much like classical music pundits really. We also think about what food a wine would partner. In truth I wonder how often we actually think whether it is yummy or not! Continue reading

The Virginians

I really enjoy stumbling across wines that are new to me from places and grape varieties that seem unlikely. So recently I was excited to try some intriguing wines from Virginia.

I know that every state of The United States, except Alaska, grows grapes and makes wines from them, but apart from a sea of branded California wines and the occasional offering from Oregon or Washington State I never actually see any for sale. Even in New York I was hard pressed to find New York State wines.

The beautiful Keswick Vineyards in Monticello

The beautiful Keswick Vineyards in Monticello

So, it should not seem surprising that Virginia, home of Washington and Jefferson, makes wines, but it does. Virginia was not the first state to grow grapes and make wine, that honour, strangely, falls to Florida (I have never been able to find a wine made from grapes from Florida, so if anyone wants to send me one to review – feel free). Continue reading

Wines from Madrid

Vinos de Madrid presented their first ever London event on 1st July 2009. It took place in the Century Club on Shaftesbury Avenue and was a great chance to try some wines from a region that was entirely new to me.

Firstly there was a mini wine fair tasting with wines from 9 of the 45 producers in the region. This was followed by an excellent tasting and presentation led by John Radford.

I found the wines to be generally of high quality and with some real flashes of elegance and refinement. Although wine has been made here for centuries, for the most part these were not traditional wines, but stylish, well crafted modern wines with abundant fruit and good balance. There was not a single over extracted, over oaked Parker points follower amongst them – although some acheive pretty high Parker points anyway! Continue reading

Pink basque – no stockings

As you know, I love Chacoli – those white wines from the Basque region are so lively, refreshing and delicious.

Well a few years ago Ameztoi created the first rosé Chacoli and it is a lovely, if rare wine. I was fortunate enough to try the 2008 vintage recently and I highly recommend that you beg, steal or buy a bottle – it is splendid summer drinking. Continue reading