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General

General chatter about wine, and other news.
  • It is often noted that the best wines come from the very limits of vine growing capabilities – the coolest climates, the most extreme terroirs – and mountain wines are no exception. You might think that snow capped mountains seem like a stupid place to plant vines, but there is certainly method in the madness! Continue reading

  • Ahead of our upcoming Portuguese wine tasting, with Niepoort wine maker Nick Delafore, we thought we’d take you on a little history of Port, one of wine’s most interesting stories, steeped in conflict and gout.

    Port’s origins are of course deeply rooted in Portugal, Continue reading

  • Pet Nat is one of the recent crazes in the wine world. Short for Pétillant Naturel, which is French for natural fizz, this form of bubbles is delighting fans of Prosecco and Champagne alike, and we’re seeing more weird and wonderful incarnations cropping up. Continue reading

  • Out of Africa - Wild Wines by Craig Hawkins - South Africa's Natural Wine Pioneer.

     

    Not just wacky labels, but an artisan small producer making natural wine who had his experimental 2011 Cortez rejected by the South African Wine and Spirits Board for being too natural:
    "The very first wine I ever made for myself was a 6-week skin macerated white wine (now called orange wines) from a 46-year-old Chenin Blanc vineyard on Lammershoek in the Swartland. It was beautiful. I loved it in all ways possible, it had soft tannins, a nose like nothing I had smelt before and it looked like liquid gold. I was in love, like a mother would be of her first born. I managed in time to scrape enough money together.....  Continue reading

  • D is for Dry A-Z of wine: D - Dry

    Blogs about wine get so dry don’t they. Sorry about that! We do try! But what does that even mean? What does it mean to be dry? Well when we’re talking about wine, we're literally referring to the amount of sugar that’s left in a wine after the fermentation. Continue reading

  • Unassuming but magnificent wines

    Alain Castex and his partner Ghislaine were two of the original ‘Garagistas’, small vigneron/wine makers whose limited means forced them to make wine literally ‘in the Garage’, in their case, an old Citroen car garage borrowed from a friend.  The original vineyard purchased in the early 90s and the one which made them famous is called Le Casot de Mailloles and is based on the steep schistous slopes above the Mediterranean in Banyuls.  Continue reading

  • Chardonnay, or as I like to call it affectionately, ‘Cardonnay’*. Perhaps wine’s most misunderstood grape. I have lost count of the number of times people have said ‘I hate Chardonnay’, and then proceeded to buy a Chablis – 100% Chardonnay without the word on the label. Continue reading

  • B for BacchusFor the second in our A-Z series, I’ve chosen to talk about Bacchus, a lesser known grape variety that has played a big role in the success of English wines of late.

    Bacchus is a variety made by crossing the Sylvaner X Riesling hybrid with Muller-Thurgau, which was first developed in the Pfalz region of Germany in the 1930s. It’s a pretty hardy grape variety which tends towards high sugar and early ripening, which is perfect for Britain’s marginal climate, and as a result is now the 4th most planted grape in England. Grown elsewhere and its lack of acid can lead to flabby wines, but here, the cooler temperatures and shorter ripening season ensures that the fresh acidity is retained, producing wines which have been likened to Sancerre and other crisp Sauvignons. Continue reading

  • In day to day life, the only yeasts we tend to come across are ‘dried active bread yeast’ or the sort that you need a cream for (and the less said about those, the better). However, hundreds of strains of yeast occur naturally all around us. In vineyards, certain strains will cling to the grapes and the cellars, so crush grapes in a barrel and the yeasts will set to work converting sugar into alcohol. Without this step, the wine is just grape juice (and probably not very nice at that!) Continue reading

  • This week we were lucky enough to be visited by one of our favourite winemakers, Judith Beck, from Austria. It’s not often the real deal pops by, and it just so happened to coincide with a trade tasting event we had on, so she had quite the crowd! Discussing afterwards however, we were struck by just how few women we could think of in the winemaking world. Continue reading

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