The wines of Domaine René Engel

When I was cutting my teeth as a Burgundy taster, I took the wines of the Domaine René Engel for granted. During my student days, they were abundantly represented and inexpensive  from the list of a local Oxford restaurant, and also always seemed to be well-represented in friends’ cellars. It was only as their prices … More The wines of Domaine René Engel


What is Meursault?

Perhaps Meursault’s reputation as a rich wine, evocative of peaches and hazlenuts, was never more than a cliché; but for an inaccurate caricature its persistence is impressive. Tasting in the village this summer, vignerons assured me time and again that, though Meursault is often a ripe, ample wine, their intention was to produce something more … More What is Meursault?

Visit: Domaine Georges Noëllat

I first visited Maxime Cheurlin to taste his 2012s, and I’ve followed his wines with great interest and enthusiasm ever since, visiting every year. 2015 appears to be his greatest vintage to date. Maxime’s style might best be described as lavish: these are never aggressively structural or extracted wines, their elegant tannins always beautifully enrobed … More Visit: Domaine Georges Noëllat

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?

It’s not you, it’s me: thoughts on Champagne Salon

Over lunch with two seasoned sommeliers last week, conversation turned to the subject of Champagne Salon’s recent releases: the 2002 and 2004. “Has the Salon style changed?”, I asked, observing that to my palate the vintages of the new millennium lacked the energy of those produced during the last. The discussion was interesting. While my … More It’s not you, it’s me: thoughts on Champagne Salon

Artisanal wine, every day

The United States’ greatest obstacle to becoming what Jefferson called ‘a wine-drinking nation’ may well be its vintners’ indifference to keenly-priced wines. North American winemakers display plenty of ambition to rival the first-growths of Bordeaux or the top producers of high-appellation Côte d’Or Burgundies, but very little to challenge France’s numerous artisanal producers of delicious, … More Artisanal wine, every day

Articulating delicacy

The Saarburger Rausch vineyard / Weingut Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken Two wines enjoyed over dinner the other day suggested a question: how can wine writers articulate a wine’s delicacy to their readers? Both wines were Rieslings. The first, Joh. Jos. Prüm’s 2007 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett, was exuberantly expressive, bursting from the glass with a projected bouquet … More Articulating delicacy