Natural wine could be a problem: might the emperor need his robe?

We’re all familiar with Andersen’s 18th century tale turned popular idiom. The emperors subjects daren’t speak their truth for fear of being branded stupid. It takes the unrestrained tongue of an outspoken child to declare the Emperors obvious nudity. Natural wine can be a funky old place (no pun intended) What started life as a well-intentioned, philosophically-sound approach to holistic viticulture and winemaking may have past its use-by date. Narcissism of small differences, an undertone of pontification, lack of definition and a determination to overlook faults may leave the emperor feeling a little exposed. In this article I explore the issues as I see them.

PerUS wine; an exploration of ethos and quality

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 …

Napa Valley; a perspective on vintage at 67 Pall Mall

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.

Tackling the 2019 MW Exam Part 3: Consider the growth in demand for vegan, organic and sustainable wines. What can and should the wine industry be doing in response?

As consumer interest in wellbeing, sustainability, and environmental impact increases, in turn there exists a rising demand for organic, biodynamic & vegan wines. All of the aforementioned are hot topics in both the popular media and social media, and whilst they are not exclusive to the wine industry, winemakers are most certainly responding to this demand by increasing production and availability of wines in these categories. Andrij Jurkiw joins me this week and contributes his attempt at tackling this topic from the recent MW exam …

Manchester wine bars: where to stop in the almost second city

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 …

Tackling the 2019 MW Exam Part 2: Discuss the role of the following factors in the production of high-quality grapes: aspect, vine density and row orientation

It is often said that one can produce bad wine from good grapes but cannot produce good wine from bad grapes. There is little room, if any, for debate when it comes to the importance of viticultural decision-making in producing high-quality wine. From the very beginning of a vines life the decisions taken in the vineyard, from planting to clonal selection, will go some way toward determining the quality of the finished wine. Factors often principally touted amongst fact sheets are aspect (direction) vine density and row orientation. But exactly what role do these factors play when it comes to producing high-quality grapes …

Tackling the 2019 MW Exam Part 1: Are yield restrictions necessary to produce high-quality wine?

Fruit thinning, green harvest, restricted yield, whichever name it may go by there are few canards as distinctly pervasive as yield-restriction. Across Europe, the belief that yield restriction is directly correlated with amplified wine ‘quality’ is so widely held that one can almost predict the nature of questioning at any tasting, visit or seminar. Let’s stop for a second; just how accurate is this belief? Is yield restriction really a fundamental requirement of high-quality wine production or is this hypothesis flawed?

Microsoft Excel tasting note template

Protracted, confusing, challenging and intrusive. Writing tasting notes is not always an enjoyable experience. Whether you’re taking notes for personal record, independent learning, employment requirements or in order to teach others, I want to help you make the process more efficient, valuable and effective, giving you more time to enjoy the wine in hand. What started off as a personal project is now available to you all for FREE …

Burgundy Masterclass with Nicolas Potel at Tanners

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.