The best bottles of 2017

It was difficult to chose just ten of the many great bottles I’ve enjoyed this year, but these are some of the best, listen in no particular order. Reviewing thousands of young wines, I generally gravitate towards mature specimens when drinking for pleasure, and 2017 was gave me abundant opportunity to gratify that preference. What’s … More The best bottles of 2017

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Some mature Burgundies

One of my favorite pastimes in Burgundy is tracking down mature wines. To my mind, older bottles offer incomparable insights into the character of the region’s terroirs and the families which translate them into wine. Their textural plenitude, aromatic complexity and sapid, gastronomic qualities are unrivaled. What’s more, I believe the great postwar vintages to … More Some mature Burgundies

Wine & Culture

Consider the wine list of a typical starred restaurant in London, New York or San Francisco. More likely than not, it’s a list that encompasses extraordinary geographic diversity, ranging widely across the old world and the new. Amidst the excitement of choosing, we seldom reflect that a wine list like this, a gazetteer of almost … More Wine & Culture

Rebel Aesthetic: the wines of Jean-Marie Guffens

This article originally appeared in Noble Rot (13).  Jean-Marie Guffens may have mellowed with age, but he remains a bull in the china shop of his fellow vignerons’ sensibilities. This ruddy faced Belgian-turned-Burgundian is certainly not afraid to shock. ‘When Parker told me I was one of the three best white winemakers in the world, … More Rebel Aesthetic: the wines of Jean-Marie Guffens

The best bottles of 2016

2016 has been a truly wonderful year, replete with great wines. Exploring the 2015 vintage in Burgundy and Germany in particular has left indelible memories—after all, who could forget tasting 2015s with the likes of Klaus-Peter Keller and Marie-André Mugneret? And I’ve been reminded time and again of the kindness and humanity that abound among … More The best bottles of 2016

Things Fall Apart

What do we mean when we say a wine has fallen apart? As someone who regularly extols the virtues of bottle age, it seems appropriate to devote some attention to what happens when cellaring doesn’t bring improvement. And it seems to me that interesting discussions about the nature of graceful evolution in the bottle are … More Things Fall Apart

Inimitable Mitjavile: the wines of Tertre Rotebœuf

A visit to François Mitjavile is inevitably memorable. At Tertre Rotebœuf, contemporary Bordeaux—in reality just over the horizon—feels a world away. That’s partly because its proprietor is so uncommon: it would be easy to imagine this ‘charming genius’ at home among the Enlightenment philosophes; an impression only intensified by his elegant eighteenth-century farmhouse and the … More Inimitable Mitjavile: the wines of Tertre Rotebœuf

Wine & nostalgia

The reactions elicited by old wines sometimes recall the proverb, erroneously attributed to Nietzsche, that ‘those who were seen dancing were thought mad by those who could not hear the music’. Though for those who enjoy them there is nothing finer, sceptics suggest that appreciation for ancient vintages is at best an acquired taste; at … More Wine & nostalgia

Are terroir norms normative?

What do we mean when we talk about a particular terroir’s character, personality or signature? It’s a superficially simple question. After all, it seems straightforward enough, in principle, to extrapolate which characteristics routinely differentiate the wines produced from a particular site from those produced on other sites. In practice, however, things rapidly become more complicated. … More Are terroir norms normative?