Louis Jadot – a tasting of their 2008 vintage


Recently I attended a wonderful tasting of fine Louis Jadot Burgundy wines from the 2008 vintage. They were young and need to develop a little, although some were drinking surprisingly well already – but it is so unusual to try such a wide range of famous wines from a single producer and  a single year that I think it is well worth telling you about the experience.

Like the preceding 2007 vintage, 2008 was a difficult year with a wet spring and quite a cold, wet summer making ripeness pretty tricky to achieve. In the end it came down to care in the vineyard and very rigorous selection of the grapes used.

Jacques Lardière

Continue reading

I Like a Drink

I don’t know about you, but I find it quite hard to understand society’s relationship to alcoholic drinks.

I work in the world of wine and strange as it may seem I do not regard wine as alcohol. I know it has alcohol in it, but using the word alcohol to describe it makes it sound so terrible, evil and frightening – like something from the pages of the Daily Mail.

The media talks about alcohol as a substance – I never, ever ask for alcohol. I never actually want alcohol. If something that tastes exactly like good wine could be made and it had no alcohol in it at all, then I would be happy – I look forward to that day. Continue reading

A Great Wine from Rioja

The Beautiful Contino Estate

I got the chance to try a wine the other day that simply took my breath away – it was that wonderful. I have tasted previous vintages of it before and it has always impressed me and always makes its presence felt. It was a Spanish wine and some of you will know of my admiration of fine Spanish wines – see here and here.

The wine in question was made by the great Contino Estate in Rioja, which is part owned by C.V.N.E, when Contino was created in 1973 it was the very first single estate wine produced in Rioja and it has blazed a trail ever since. Continue reading

Red delights from New Zealand



I promised you more on New Zealand wines, so here are some red wines that really impressed and pleased me at the tasting the other day.

I have long been keen on red wines from New Zealand and have often wondered why so many consumers are hesitant to try them and persist in regarding New Zealand as solely a white wine producing country and look to Australia for their reds. I do my best to win them round, but even at the Annual New Zealand tasting I spoke to two men who did not even want to try a Kiwi red – despite my best efforts.

Well it is their loss as New Zealand is capable of producing some sensational red wines from quite a few different grape varieties and blends.

I have a particular affection for the Merlot-Cabernet blends from the Gimblett Gravels area of Hawkes Bay, but Syrah is fast becoming a speciality grape and some other regions are making some super wines too, so experiment – there are many lovely red wines for you to try.

Continue reading

New Zealand delights

January is always a busy time in the tasting calendar and this year seems especially frantic – I went to three very different events yesterday.

The major one was the New Zealand Annual Trade Tasting at Lords and it was an excellent tasting, offering some 700 wines to try.

The standard, as you might expect, was very high with excellent wines from a wide array of grape varieties and regions. I will mention some of the more interesting over the next few weeks, so keep coming back.

However, three white wines stuck out as being especially enjoyable and delicious and I thought I would share those with you straight away. Continue reading

Christmas Cheer – QED

When meeting me people often assume that I live a relentlessly hedonistic lifestyle – drinking nothing but the rarest and finest wines.

This is especially true around Christmas, my students often ask me what I am going to drink over the holidays and seem to expect a list of famous wines by way of reply.

It is true that with Christmas approaching my thoughts often turn to the great wines in my collection and I usually start to plan which bottles to dig out. I did it this year, I brought the reds into relative warmth ready to be drunk and planned which wine partnered each dish. Continue reading