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Weekly Digest

Our weekly newsletters with current thoughts on the world of wine as well as our wine pick of the week.

Mendoza Vineyard

Mendoza

Argentina spent the majority of the 20th century shrouded in trouble and political instability. Despite having all the key elements to create a wine industry worthy of taking on the old establishment, investors never felt secure enough to really put the time and money into the areas that showed real potential.  However the 1990s saw a …

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Mischief and Mayhem Chambolle Musigny

The Joys of Being Wrong

Being wrong about something should be approached with grace and humility which is why we will hold our hands up and say that we, wrongly, judged a wine solely on the basis of its name.  A gaudy wine label or an off the wall name has a tendency to make us wary of the wine it …

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Rhone vineyards

Cornas

Camping with small children is fairly torturous. After a week in a frequently rain soaked campsite in Brittany we were in dire need of some vestige of relaxation.  A brief trip into the local town gave us the chance to investigate the local wine merchants and we emerged (after the only 5 minutes the children …

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1940s Antonio de la Riva Viejisimo Oloroso

Antonio de la Riva

19th Century Sherry I am a big fan of Sherry. It reminds me of growing up in southern Spain where the old men would be in permanent position at the rickety tables in front of the local bar slowly working their way through the afternoon heat with endless sherry and animated chat. But they are …

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Rioja

Reacquaint yourself with an old friend  There’s something comforting and familiar about Rioja. It’s like the old friend you perhaps don’t see very often but when you do it’s like old times. Whether you drink it regularly or not most people could happily come up with a couple of adjectives to describe Rioja that will …

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New World Wanderings

We don’t spend a huge amount of time in the New World; we have a tendency to gravitate towards France, Spain and Italy because most of what we know and like comes from there. But we would be doing ourselves and the wine world a disservice if we didn’t occasionally look outside of Europe. Argentina, …

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Chateau Angelus Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A

Angélus vs. Pavie

Achieving first growth status is the holy grail in Bordeaux so for two chateaux to achieve it in the same year is a rather astonishing feat. Especially as one has been the subject of a transatlantic war of words. St Emilion developed its own classification system in the 1950’s but, unlike the 1855 classification in …

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Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay

White Christmas

That time of year has rolled around again where everyone wants to tell you how to enjoy the cold weather and the festivities. Wrap up warm and soak up the winter sun before heading home to celebrate in front of the fire with a nourishing and warming glass of red wine. As the average person benefits from …

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spanna 1977

Russian Roulette

Opening a bottle of wine to discover it’s too old, too young, faulty, or worse, just distinctly average, is fairly irritating. But it shouldn’t put you off trying something new. We like to experiment and take risks with wine, that’s how we started out and we continue to open weird and wonderful bottles on an …

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Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino

A classic Italian wine that has all the attributes one would expect from this part of the world – big, bold and comes with its very own scandal. Brunello di Montalcino is made from a strain of Sangiovese that was a localised clone recognised as such in the late 1800’s. It gained DOCG status in …

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Chateau Pape Clement Pessac Leognan Grand Cru Classe

Pessac-Leognan

Is there value to be found in Bordeaux? This is a question that gets asked frequently and answered in a myriad of ways. But it is not a question that should be asked in such broad terms: Bordeaux produces an incomprehensible amount of wine, some good, some great, some terrible. Its many tiers of quality, …

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Oporto Vineyard

Single-Quinta Port

Terroir and Character in the Douro Valley Port is one of the mainstays of any drinks cupboard. It always makes an appearance at Christmas and, depending on whose house you’re in, may well have been there since the dawn of time. It is fairly easy stuff to come across and the main Port houses, whether Portuguese or British, …

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California vineyard

California ABC

California and Cabernet go hand in hand: Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, Scarecrow are all top producers that have been in pursuit of perfection for many a decade now and, for some, they achieve it. As wonderful as they may be, one cannot survive on £3,000 bottles of wine. Our daily rations must come cheaper and …

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Number two balloon

Second Best?

Second wines are second best. You can argue the point all you like but their purpose in life is to take second place after the grand vin. Nearly all of the big chateaux in Bordeaux have a second wine, a wine supposedly made from the grapes not deemed quite good enough for the top claret. …

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Market spices

Riesling With Your Curry?

What to do with an Auslese Riesling? Is its only purpose as a dessert wine? What’s all this talk of sweet wine with curry? There are always trends in wine and food and luckily for Auslese Rieslings the trend is working in their favour. Cuisine from across Asia that encompasses spices and flavours that our …

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Champagne glasses

Bollinger vs. Krug

Embarking upon the task of getting to know Champagne is a bit like going down a rabbit hole. It is a world of twists and turns that take you from Champagne houses, to growers, to cooperatives, to arguments over prestige and fashion, and the question of how many vintages are in each cuvée. It feels …

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Burgundy Shield

Demystifying Burgundy

They say it takes a lifetime to really “know” Burgundy which is rather unhelpful. Most of us have about 5 minutes of head space per day to think about something as frivolous as wine. The good news is that they’re wrong. Those in the “know” might like to think that only they hold the secrets but …

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Barossa Valley

South Australia

South Australia has the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to wine and if you’re not careful you can easily find yourself drinking overpriced and average plonk. But it is also a place where serious winemakers have gone to make seriously top class wines. There are also plenty of them, so, instead of listing them all, …

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Corkscrews

Surplus to Requirements

There is often a moment when my partner and I are out for dinner that we know may cause confusion or offence. This is the moment when the waiter brings over the glasses to go with the bottle of wine we have chosen, glasses so big as to engulf our faces. They then proceed to pour half the bottle …

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Leoville Las Cases Entrance

Leoville: Head to Head

History Originally one estate Domaine de Leoville in St-Julien, Bordeaux became three in the 19thcentury: in 1826 Hugh Barton purchased a quarter of the estate and named it Chateau Léoville-Barton; in 1840 the remaining vineyards were divided between Pierre-Jean Las Cases, who founded Chateau Léoville-Las Cases and his sister Jeanne Las Cases whose daughter founded …

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Chardonnay

A Rose by Any Other Name

It’s easy to be rude about Chardonnay. It’s the grape variety people love to hate – the bad reputation it gained many moons ago thanks to cheap, over-oaked, synthetic tasting offerings make it an easy target.  But so many of those that say a blanket no to Chardonnay are quite happy to drink Blancs de Blancs …

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Gaja, Piedmont

Piedmont

Piedmont seems to bring out the poet in people – paragraph upon paragraph is written about the scenery and its endless gastronomic offerings, wine included. It is a beautiful part of the world and the Piedmontese certainly know a thing or two about good food, wine and generous hospitality. If you find yourself in a little …

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