Domaine Carneros – haven of calm and elegance

Whilst in the Napa Valley I was fortunate enough to be invited to visit Domaine Carneros. This is a dramatic and beautiful winery surrounded by vines and perched on a hill overlooking the rolling Carneros countryside.

It was created in 1987 as a partnership between US wine company Kobrand and Champagne Taittinger. Indeed Claude Taittinger had been looking for a suitable site for a Californian sparkling wine vineyard since the 1970s. Continue reading

Getting to grips with Nebbiolo

Not long ago I wrote about an exciting white wine from Barolo country – the Nascetta from Rivetto. I had been so thrilled to try it that I had failed to taste any of Signor Rivetto’s red wines. Being the charming man that he is he offered to send me the three bottles of my choice from his range. I saw an opportunity to do something that I had wanted to do for a while, compare different Nebbiolos from the various parts of Piemonte. Continue reading

A taste of Japan

As mentioned before in these pages, I have a fascination for trying unusual wines. Sometimes that is a wine grown and made in an unlikely place, or a wine made from a grape variety that is new to me.

Well, recently I really hit the jackpot! I have long looked at the lists of wine producing countries and wondered; I have had Israeli, Zimbabwean, Bolivian, Peruvian, Texan, Virginian, Dutch, Chinese, Turkish and East German wine, among other oddities, but had never seen, let alone tried a Japanese wine.

Thanks to one of my students giving me a bottle to taste that has now been rectified. Continue reading

Deep in the Heart of the Loire – tasting a Cour-Cheverny

Whilst in the Napa Valley recently, I was fortunate enough to try a rather unusual wine.

Not long ago in these pages I wrote about a Cheverny wine that I had enjoyed – read about it here. Well, whilst looking at the wine list of a rather swanky Napa eatery I spotted an example of its rare near relative – Cour-Cheverny.

As far as I am aware I have never been in a position to try this before, so I leapt at the opportunity. Continue reading

Fine Dining – I contemplate the fine food gene

As readers of these pages may be aware, I travel a fair amount.

As a consequence I eat in all sorts of places and often on my own. You can read about some of the great places I have eaten here, here and here.

Eating out alone is an odd thing. It serves several purposes, only one of which is to feed yourself. The other, equally important reasons are; to experience the place and culture, to sample a particular cuisine or restaurant and, of course, to fill time and relax. The last reason is why, when alone I almost always end up in a proper sit down restaurant rather than going for the fast food option.

I have come to the conclusion that I am something of a shallow traveller. As soon as I know that I am going to a particular destination I start Googling restaurants there. Not attractions, not cultural sites – just restaurants and bars. Continue reading