Wine Knowledge

  1. Saint-Chinian: Château Milhau-Lacugue
    Posted On: April 21st, 2022

    Saint-Chinian: Château Milhau-Lacugue

    One of the most pleasurable parts of my vocation is getting the chance to visit some of our winemakers in situ. Although sadly curtailed over the past couple of years, these visits are invaluable to gain first-hand knowledge, and provide an in-depth insight into the unique terroir, micro-climate and vinification techniques of individual vineyards. They enable one to discover the...
  2. Grappling with Grape Varieties
    Posted On: September 17th, 2021

    Grappling with Grape Varieties

    Grappling with Grape Varieties I am always surprised when people proclaim a passion for or an aversion to one particular grape variety. There can be so much bandwidth within a grape's different interpretations and incarnations that it seems odd to be able to declare a strong stance amidst such variety. And what of wines like Châteauneuf-du-Pape that can be comprised...
  3. C’est Clape, c’est Cornas
    Posted On: April 16th, 2021

    C’est Clape, c’est Cornas

    There aren't many appéllations in France that are epitomised by one family and their dedication to its advancement and the greater collective appreciation of its wines but the Clape family in Cornas (in the Northern Rhône) have set the bar high and remain at the forefront of its international renown.   It wasn't always thus. When Auguste Clape gained 5...
  4. Skill Sets
    Posted On: May 29th, 2020

    Skill Sets

    Although international ‘lockdown' put paid to our travel plans and confined us to our homes it hasn't all been negative. We have had to innovate and acquire new skills in order to get on with getting on. Here are some of the innovations and pastimes that have got my family through the last few weeks. 1. Hair Cutting It didn't...
  5. High Points of the Hérault
    Posted On: September 13th, 2019

    High Points of the Hérault

    As a keen oenophile and Francophile I have an enduring interest in the celebrated ‘Grands Vins’ of Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhône as well as less well-known wines from the Loire, Alsace and Provence but the region that is increasingly commanding my attention is the Languedoc. Specifically, the limestone outcrops of the Hérault, which lie between the Cevennes and the...
  6. Fine Wine facts, figures and futures
    Posted On: April 15th, 2019

    Fine Wine facts, figures and futures

    Sotheby’s 3-day auction in Hong Kong at the end of March smashed the record for a private owner collection, achieving sales of $30m. It got close to reaching the heights of last June’s auction in Geneva of the legendary Burgundian winemaker Henri Jayer’s cellar ($35m). The leading lot in Hong Kong was a 12-bottle case of 1990 (DRC) Romanée-Conti which...
  7. A Day in the Larzac
    Posted On: February 19th, 2019

    A Day in the Larzac

    As a wine lover, you've probably heard of La Grange des Pères, Mas Jullien, Domaine de Montcalmès or Mas de Daumas Gassac. They're all located in the north of the Languedoc in a micro-climate region known as the Terrasses du Larzac. Pioneering in Southern French fine wines for the past 20 years, they've rejuvenated a region more known to produce...
  8. A Birthday Bottle
    Posted On: November 9th, 2018

    A Birthday Bottle

    My eldest son Alfred turned 20 this week and we marked the occasion and a visit home with a bottle of Gigondas 1998 from Domaine Saint Gayan. Fortunately, Alfred was born in great Rhône vintage and I was able to cellar quite a few wines for our mutual future enjoyment. The Gigondas cost £10.95 a bottle when we released it...
  9. Rhône wine news: 2017 and 2018 vintages
    Posted On: October 22nd, 2018

    Rhône wine news: 2017 and 2018 vintages

    We embarked on our annual Autumn trip to the Rhône in good cheer, swapping English wind and rain for the promise of glorious clear blue skies and an ambitious itinerary. It was a great opportunity to catch up with many friends in our wonderful stable of domaines across the region, as well as learning about two recent, intriguing vintages. 2017...
  10. Bulletin on the 2017 and 2018 vintages - and what's drinking well now.
    Posted On: August 17th, 2018

    Bulletin on the 2017 and 2018 vintages - and what's drinking well now.

    "Savvy Rhône fans whose tendency is to drink reds on the young side will find plenty to like in 2014, a vintage that bears comparison, stylistically, to 2012 and 2006 in the opinion of many of the producers that I visited." Josh Raynolds - 2017 was the smallest harvest in France since 1945. Hail, coulure (lack of fruit set...

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