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Revisiting 2006

Grapes are grown and wine is produced across the globe. Many regions share the same climatic conditions but the climate experienced and the subsequent quality of the wine produced each year will vary from one area to another, possibly even close neighbours. This may seem a simple and obvious point to make but there is …

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Chateauneuf du Pape

Whites From Reddish Areas

There are certain wine producing areas that are synonymous with red wine: Bordeaux, Rhône, Rioja. It is easy to forget that white wine is produced in these regions not least because they tend to get overshadowed by the well-known reds. Yet there has been a gradual shift over the last decade and the quality and availability …

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E. Guigal La Doriane Condrieu

Autumn Wines

During the spring lockdown a cosy night in was still a luxury, but after six months, it has rather lost its sheen. This time last year we were relishing the changes that autumn brings and the prospect of hunkering down for the winter with plenty of good food and wine. We were slowing down after …

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South island, New Zealand

Donna Olimpia 1898

Bolgheri, on the Tuscan coast, is littered with the greats from the Italian wine making world: Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Antinori, Gaja. These behemoths have set the bar high for both quality and price for the region. So when you find yourself surrounded by the them you may be excused for feeling a little intimidated as proximity …

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Donna Olimpia Orizzonte

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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1940s Antonio de la Riva Viejisimo Oloroso

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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Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay

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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Oporto Vineyard

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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Number two balloon

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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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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Summer Vibes

I think we can all safely say that summer has arrived and, although we dislike being told that we should be breaking out the barbecue and bathing in rosé, we will freely admit that a fair number of our wines are not really tempting us in this weather. So for the next few weeks we …

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summer vibes


Growing up in a large wine drinking family I always presumed my approach to wine was perfectly normal. I realised its abnormality when I reached university and my peers were confused by my love of dessert wine (or pud wine as we’ve always referred to it). Whenever we had a family celebration an uncle, parent or third cousin once removed would …

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1996 Chateau Nairac Barsac

A Question of Climate

The more time you spend looking at wines from around the world the more you realise there is a pattern to the whole thing. Aside from the odd anomaly you start to recognise why certain regions are more revered than others, why certain blends command higher price tags than their contemporaries, and why the terms …

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California, USA

Vieilles Vignes

Given the recent revelation that grape varieties grown today are so closely related to those grown by the Romans 2,000 years ago, we thought that this week might be a good week to talk about old vines. Vieilles Vignes (old vines) is a term used in France to denote a wine that is produced from vines usually older …

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