HEALDSBURG, CA - OCTOBER 28: A stone facade is all that remains standing at the Soda Rock Winery, which was destroyed by the Kincade fire. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

In the late evening of October 23rd, the Kincade Fire, as it came to be known, was started when gusty winds knocked down a transmission tower and electrical power lines located on steep hills above the wine tow...

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Kincade Fire

Norm Roby - HEALDSBURG, CA - OCTOBER 28: A stone facade is all that remains standing at the Soda Rock Winery, which was destroyed by the Kincade fire. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) In the late evening of October 23rd, the Kincade Fire, as it came to be known, was started when gusty winds […] Read more >>

EAT, DRINK AND BE SHERRY NO 4

Ben Howkins - Sherry, Understood, Enjoyed, Celebrated! Fresh from two weeks in the California sun, where I was wearing my Last Drop Distillers (‘seekers of rare, old, exceptional spirits’) hat, I plunged into the UK October autumnal weather with a feeling of huge excitement. Read more >>

The Japanese Indigenous Grape – Koshu

Stephen Brook - Koshu is said to be Japan’s only indigenous grape. It is named after its supposed prefecture of origin: Yamanashi. Koshu is a traditional name for the prefecture, so the grape is literally ‘the grape of Yamanashi’. It has two origin stories. One suggests Koshu was found growing wild in Yamanashi in 1186, allegedly grown from […] Read more >>

Connecting Art and Wine

Steven Spurrier - On a Saturday evening at the end of September I found myself at the Sladers Yard Gallery in West Bay, Dorset, near to where we live, to attend a private view of collages and sculptures by the acclaimed Tuscan-born artist Marzia Colonna, whose work I began collecting thirty years ago when Bella and I moved […] Read more >>

Madiran

Stephen Brook - It’s been 15 years since my last visit to Madiran. I’d forgotten how pretty it was, with its gently rolling Gascon hills interspersed with woodland and vines. But no one would call the wine pretty. Made principally from Tannat grapes, though often softened with a dose of Bordelais varieties, it can be a bruiser, thanks […] Read more >>

Autumnal Rosé

Jason Tesauro - Repeat after me: Rosé is not a vegetable, rosé is not a vegetable. Yet, people still refer to rosé season. There is no rosé season any more than there is a season for white, red, sparkling or sweet. Remember when umami was finally recognized as an official fifth taste along with sweet, sour, salty and […] Read more >>

Harvest at Thienpont 2019

Fiona Morrison MW - Winemaking: Art or Science? This was one of the essay questions that came up when I sat the Master of Wine exam. Having just completed the 2019 harvest at our three domains in Pomerol, Saint Emilion and Castillon, crunching numbers and going back to my school chemistry lessons has been an essential part of the […] Read more >>

Questions asked and some answered…

Susan Keevil - To fully answer the question ‘is Bordeaux better than burgundy?’, I shall sadly never have a cellar (or pocket) deep enough. But there are wine writers from across the ages who have had access to the best of these fabulous wines (we’re talking family money here, stately homes with cellars stacked with Lafite, and colleagues […] Read more >>

Sustainability in Bordeaux

James Lawther MW - Believe it or not, the ‘S’ word is being voiced in Bordeaux. Sustainability has been pushed to the fore and whether through concern for the environment and terroir, or having to face health and safety issues, an environmental movement in various guises is gaining traction. Recent figures from the CIVB (Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de […] Read more >>

October

Steven Spurrier - It has been a busy autumn at the AdVL with the publication of Sherry: Maligned, Misunderstood, Magnificent! by Ben Howkins. This was launched to great acclaim at the Consejo Regulador de Jerez on 15 October under the Presidency of Don Beltran Domecq, who then travelled to London the following week to present a Master Class […] Read more >>

The Rosés of Italy’s Salento Peninsula

Elizabeth Gabay MW - Puglian rosé (rosato) has deep roots. There is even a local family name Rosato. Recognition in the wider world for the rosati of the southern part of the Salento peninsula can be traced back to 1943, when a twist of fate brought American General Charles Poletti to the region. In need of army supplies, he […] Read more >>

South Australia Loosens The Stays

Natasha Hughes MW - At first glance, no one would take Steve Pannell for a member of the aristocracy. On the morning I meet him at his McLaren Vale winery, he’s wearing slightly crumpled khaki shorts, a stripey T-shirt and several days’ worth of greying stubble on his chin. Make no mistake, though; if Australia’s winemaking community had a […] Read more >>

A Large Reserve Brings Many Benefits

Giles Fallowfield - Alice Paillard ‘We have a lot to thank Jean-Claude Rouzaud for,’ says Alice Paillard. We (Alice and I) were talking about the just completed 2019 Champagne harvest and how wine growers generally seem more prepared to wait for the perfect moment to pick grapes, rather than rush into the vineyards the minute the opening dates […] Read more >>

God’s Work

Joe Fattorini - You wait ages for irony, and then three come at once. Here's an explanation of terroir told in a joke by a German historian. ‘An angel came down from heaven to visit a winemaker on the Mosel,’ begins Achim Ochs. We're on a tour of the once mighty wine-trading town of Traben-Trarbach. ‘The winemaker showed […] Read more >>

In Vino Veritas

Susan Keevil - Bringing together wine writing from across the ages for our new anthology In Vino Veritas has been a wonderfully self-indulgent way to spend my working day – work, really? I can choose between exploring the English wine bubble with Justin Howard-Sneyd and experiencing the 2019 harvest at Le Pin with Fiona Morrison for a more […] Read more >>

Tuscany

Geography: Located in central Italy. The climate varies from Mediterranean on the coast to continental inland influenced by the Apennines. Wide variation in day and night temperatures. Grape varieties: Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Trebbiano Toscano, Vernaccia Significant DOCGs: Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Vernaccia di San Gimig... For Members […] Read more >>

Steven’s September Update

Steven Spurrier - Exactly this time last year I was lunching with Hugh Johnson and Ben Howkins at their Club in Saint James’s and was bemoaning the fact that modern wine books were either well-written but weighty reference books or buying guides with recommended rankings on the 100 point scale. Read more >>

Chianti: The Art of Wine

Steven Spurrier - Peter Femfert, the German owner with his Venetian wife Stefania of Fattoria Nittardi, is an artist. He would not think so, for his main profession consists of running Die Galerie, Frankfurt’s leading art gallery specializing in modern painting and sculpture, so he might say that he works with artists, represents them, befriends and understands them, […] Read more >>

Yields: one tool to balance supply and demand in Champagne

Giles Fallowfield - Champagne producers agreed to set the maximum yield for the 2019 harvest at 10,200 kilos per hectare, 600kgs/ha down on the base level set for 2018, to produce around 300 million bottles. The CIVC Comité that represents the two sides of the champagne business – the growers and the merchant houses (négociants) – see this […] Read more >>

Loire: Five Top Restaurants

Jim Budd - La Promenade Restaurant If I am asked for a really good Loire restaurant, here are five that I would always recommend. One is in Anjou, three are in Touraine and one in Chavignol by Sancerre. They are favourites because they are consistently good, the cooking is inventive without being gimmicky and their food is complemented […] Read more >>

California: The Happy Valley

Norm Roby - Winemaker Joe Webb punching down Pinot Noir Mendocino’s Anderson Valley, once dismissed as too ‘remote’, ‘sparsely populated’ and ‘laid back’ is now arguably the most exciting New World region for Pinot Noir. What happened? Located over 125 miles northwest of San Francisco, it remains remote. But it is a rare transverse valley, running east to […] Read more >>

England: Back to the 1970s

Stephen Skelton MW - Winning the Gore-Browne Trophy for the ‘English Wine of the Year’ in 1980 In 1974, at the tender age of twenty-seven I had the wild notion that there might be a future in growing grapes and making wine in the English countryside. At the time, the industry – not that anyone called it that then […] Read more >>

Champagne: A Question of Yield

Giles Fallowfield - Champagne producers agreed to set the maximum yield for the 2019 harvest at 10,200 kilos per hectare, 600kgs/ha down on the base level set for 2018, to produce around 300 million bottles. The CIVC Comité that represents the two sides of the champagne business – the growers and the merchant houses (négociants) – see this […] Read more >>

China: Burying Vines in Winter

CH’NG Poh Tiong - Vines have to be dragged into the ground and buried as the temperature can dive to minus 20 degrees Celsius in winter in Xinjiang It is not possible – not yet anyway – to be buried alive and come back in the flesh. That may be the subject of a future Marvel or DC Comics […] Read more >>

Languedoc: The New Whites

Rosemary George MW - Traditionally the Languedoc is a region of red wines. With the exception of Clairette du Languedoc, all the early appellations concentrated on red and tended to ignore white wine. St. Chinian and Faugères were appellations for red wine in 1982, whereas their white counterparts were not created until 2005. In the extensive Coteaux du Languedoc, […] Read more >>

Eastern Europe – The Hot Spots

Caroline Gilby MW - Sign for the famous Nice Woman Valley in Eger (Hungary) Three decades of being a lone voice in the wilderness and how things have changed. Judges are now fighting for a spot at my Decanter World Wine Awards tables whereas a few years ago it was definitely seen as a short straw. Today there are […] Read more >>

Chile: País – The Cinderella Grape

Darren Smith - Tino, one of the campesinos who helps Roberto Henriquez, is loading País grapes into the back of his car in Santa Juana Southern Chile is one of the coolest regions in the world in which to make wine. This dawned on me on a misty morning on April 25 2019, when Roberto Henriquez was driving […] Read more >>

Tuscany: Cloud over Montalcino

Monty Waldin - Certified organic Sangiovese vines in Sant Angelo in south west Montalcino Italy’s recent local government streamlining has subsumed smaller townships 'comuni ' into their larger near-neighbours. Now vacated council offices and even rural police stations are morphing into private houses, shops, warehouses and even bakeries and restaurants.  The reforms saw Montalcino, already the largest township in […] Read more >>

A new harvest looms

Fiona Morrison MW - It is the end of August and our adrenalin is rising. Step by step the grapes are inching towards maturity. Step by step we begin to analyze the data: sugar and acidity first and then with time the anthocyanins (the pigments which affect the colour and the structure of berries). Step by step we walk through the […] Read more >>