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
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?
Is there a more under-rated commune in the Côte de Nuits than Fixin? One of the many pleasures of spending a full two months in Burgundy in 2016 was the opportunity to dig a little deeper, and my discoveries in Fixin were among the most rewarding. One was the Domaine Berthaut—which is hardly news to … More Visit: Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet
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
Henri Bonneau’s death earlier this year was a great loss to the Southern Rhône. I count myself fortunate to have visited and tasted with him several times; visits which left an indelible memory. The article reproduced below was first published in Noble Rot (10). Henri Bonneau’s washing machine whirrs into life as we stand in … More Remembering Henri Bonneau
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?
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
Over the years Château Montrose has become one of my very favourite estates in the Médoc, a wine I appreciate more and more for its uncompromising personality. I suppose this reflects an increasing taste for the austere; for wines that make no concessions to the impatient, only revealing their true quality in the fullness of … More Château Montrose: 1895-2010
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
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