My recent article about Alsace has moved me to try more from that lovely region and my efforts have been rewarded with a most extraordinary wine.

It is produced by the wonderful Domaine Zind-Humbrecht – an incredible producer and not one to rest on its laurels. Like so many of the great Alsace estates they have been at it a long time, the Humbrecht family have farmed here since 1620 and in 1959 Leonard Humbrecht married Genevieve Zind. From that moment the reputation of the house really took off with concentrated wines being produced from a scattering of great vineyards. Leonard’s son Olivier now runs the domaine and he has taken Zind-Humbrecht to new heights of fame; he is France’s first Master of Wine and has developed an extraordinary understanding of his terroir and his grapes and has become a passionate advocate of Biodynamic viticulture. Continue reading

Alsace – time for me to rethink

I am currently rekindling my love affair with Alsace wines. Alsace is a fascinating place, it is very beautiful, has wonderful cuisine and produces wines that are never less than interesting – even if you don’t like them – oh and it makes some of the best lager in the world too! Continue reading

What’s in a name? The famous wines of France on the cheap…

Chablis is one of the most famous wines in the world – and it is the most widely available white Burgundy appellation in the UK. Most people who drink wine will have heard of Chablis and may well have tried one.

I have a theory about many of the really famous appellations of France – that they are often too famous for their own good. So famous and so expensive that the majority of people simply do not taste the real thing, without realising it most consumers drink examples that are made to a price. Continue reading

Nature or Nurture – Terroir or Technology?

I had a very interesting experience the other day. I attended a tasting hosted by the Australian Wine Research Institute. This is a highly respected body that supplies the infrastructure and skills to give the Australian wine industry the research that keeps it at the forefront of technological and market developments in wine.

The AWRI does good and interesting work in the science of wine, giving greater understanding, more choices and potential to wine makers. I am all for that and of course no one is forced to use what they do, but I was slightly uncomfortable about the potential of some of the things that I heard. Continue reading

What’s Another Year?

I contemplate alcohol levels, laying wine down and vintage variation…

I like people to enjoy their wine, drinking wine is all about pleasure. I also want people to think about what they are drinking and to appreciate what makes their wine enjoyable, so I thought that I would deal with three topics that are frequently raised with me – vintage, laying wine down and alcohol levels.

Alcohol levels in wine:

In my opinion alcohol levels, whether high, low or middling are supremely unimportant. What is important is the balance of the wine – if the alcohol is high, but tastes right and feels right, then all is well. If a wine has alcohol levels that make it taste out of kilter, then that wine is not a success. Continue reading