Selecting a date upon which to begin harvest is arguably the most pressing, influential and troublesome decision required of any vigneron during the annual growing cycle. There is the romantic notion that growers arrive at this decision as a result of intuitive tasting of selected grapes picked randomly from a particular plot or row. Whilst intuition often proves invaluable, particularly in tough vintages, times are changing and the role of technology in tracking optimum grape ripeness is proving increasingly valuable. In no region are they pursuing optimum ripeness quite as comprehensively than in Champagne. I got to grips with just how this pursuit is evolving with Frédéric Panaïotis, Chef de Cave at Ruinart.
There are few more colourful, vivacious and spirited individuals than Ernst Loosen. Those who have spent any amount of time with him will know well the personality of which I speak. Since the 1980’s he has produced world-class Riesling from the Mosel to Washington State, experimented with Pinot Noir in Oregon and shared his knowledge as far afield as New Zealand. Ernie is an innovator, he pushes boundaries, but most of all he rejects defeatism. Despite a host of existential challenges, with an open mind and curious inquisition Ernst has continued to evolve. I spent an evening exploring this refreshing outlook …
Bold and pure with velvety tannins. I asked Katya Kurtbek (Director of Sales and Marketing) to describe PerUS in a few words as possible. After tasting through their 2017 vintage, I can confirm that she hit the nail on the head. This small-production, quality-focused Napa winery is a star in the making. We spent the afternoon with Tatiana Livesey (Brand Ambassador) getting to grips with PerUS …
43,000 acres of planted vineyard, 400 wineries (95% family owned) and 16 sub-AVA’s. Napa Valley is the epitome of diversity. The region sees the annual hosting of the prestigious Premiere Napa Valley. Premiere is a showcase, the ethos is that wineries offer a one-off wine style to trade-only bidders. Each year, prior to Premiere Napa Valley, Napa Vintners hosts a perspective on vintage. This year, Emma Wellings PR, working with Napa Vintners, offered this unique perspective tasting to the UK trade at 67 Pall Mall.
Birmingham is officially the most populous city outside of London; however, polling shows that most Britons consider Manchester to be the nation’s second city. You may remember last month, we discussed Birmingham’s best wine bars. Well, this month we look north and explore the go-to spots for wine lovers in Manchester. Francesca Gaffey lives just outside Manchester and is a wine hobbyist in her free time. Check out her selection of corking wine bars in the city centre …
PwC and think tank Demos recently named Birmingham the most rapidly improving city in the country in which to live
Returning to Piedmont was inevitable, my first visit in October of 2019 lit an unquenchable flame. The region is captivating. For many of the same reasons as Burgundy, wine lovers are drawn like moths to a flame. Generations of history, innovation, stylistic turmoil and nuanced intricacies between vineyard sites. Piedmont is also home to some of the most influential women in the world of wine and I was lucky enough to meet two of them this week.
Burgundy, oh Burgundy. There are few, if any, regions which are more desired, romanticised and fascinatingly complex as Burgundy. With a total of 100 AOCs, for me at least, it is the concept of terroir which most attracts wine lovers to Burgundy. Rich and enticing history, vast communal diversity, subtle intra-communal vineyard nuance, juxtaposition of winemaking styles and plenty of colourful characters are amongst a few of the reasons we wine lovers seem so drawn to Cote. Whether you’re at the very beginning of your wine journey or already someway down the rabbit hole, there really are very few people to better guide you through all things Burgundian than Nicolas Potel.
The most fantastic of experiences often occur out of chance encounters. After being impressed by the several great reviews I had read about Champagne Paul Launois, his philosophy and his wines I decided to try my luck and request a last-minute visit with him.
Fantastic evening with Dom Perignon at the Michelin starred Simpsons in Birmingham. During the evening we tasted DP Vintage 09, Rosé 05, DP P2 2000, 99 and 98. Check out this post in which I explain exactly what the Dom Perignon P2 series is and also share my tasting notes from the evening.