News

The latest news and views from the Académie du Vin Library

Eat, Drink and be Sherry No 3

Ben Howkins - I have just purchased one of the earliest books about tasting wine, Professor George Saintsbury’s classic Notes on a Cellar-Book published in 1931. Today’s wine enthusiasts may be surprised to note that of the five chapters it devotes to wine, the first is entitled ‘Sherry and Madeira’. The others respectively are ‘Port’, ‘Claret and Burgundy’, […] Read more >>

Five of my favourite Loire restaurants

Jim Budd - 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 by a fine […] Read more >>

Anderson Valley

Norm Roby - 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 west and ending about 10 miles from […] Read more >>

Title needed (Making wine in England in the 1970s)

Stephen Skelton MW - 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 – was around 165-ha (400-acres) and the preserve of crusty old major-generals, wealthy […] 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 >>

Burying vines in China

CH’NG Poh Tiong - 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 movie but, for now, human endurance has its limits. The same cannot be said for plant life. Each year, hundreds of thousands of vines […] Read more >>

Languedoc 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 promise – the new wine hotspot

Caroline Gilby MW - 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 exciting wines in abundance from Central and Eastern Europe and […] Read more >>

País: Chile’s Cinderella Grape

Darren Smith - 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 me in his 4×4 over a rumbling dirt road to Viña Doña Luisa in Millapoa. This was Pato’s place, built on the […] Read more >>

A cloud follows Montalcino’s recent marriage

Monty Waldin - 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 Tuscany’s largest province (Siena), grow further by absorbing San Giovanni d’Asso, […] 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 >>

Chateau Musar

Susan Keevil - Following my trip to Lebanon recently I’ve been reading up on my ‘Sergeisms’. Serge Hochar (1939–2014) was the creator of Lebanon’s iconic red wine, Chateau Musar, and a more charismatic winemaker you will rarely meet. Read more >>

Tomorrowland

Fiona Morrison MW -   July being a calm season (we are just nervously watching the effects of the drought and doing rain dances in the vineyards), I thought I should turn my attention to the whos, whys, whens, hows and whats of the wine business, especially the way we communicate about wine. This, you may think, should come […] Read more >>

Eat, Drink and be Sherry No 2.

Ben Howkins - Last month, I had the good fortune to sit next to my old bachelor flatmate at a small party to celebrate his 75th birthday. Nothing particularly remarkable about that, except that my old flatmate happened to be the ‘World’s greatest living explorer’, Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt. We shared a flat in South Kensington and then […] Read more >>

Steven’s July update

Steven Spurrier - It’s been a busy month. Our commemorative edition of Michael Broadbent’s seminal Wine Tasting continues to draw praise and we will be launching Sherry – Maligned, Misunderstood, Magnificent! by Ben Howkins in September. This month, when people’s minds have been on Wimbledon, Britain’s choice of a Prime Minister or getting ready for the holidays, on […] Read more >>

10 Great Wine Families: Book Launch and Tasting

Académie du Vin Library - A very special gathering of consumers and trade was held at Berry Brothers & Rudd in St James’, London, on the 10th July, to celebrate the launch of 10 Great Wine Families – A tour through Europe by Master of Wine Fiona Morrison. In the second title from the Académie du Vin Library, still hot […] Read more >>

Lebanon

Susan Keevil - I’ve been Lebanized. I’m not driving the streets of Henley like a Beiruti taxi-driver (a sure way to instant license loss now I’m back here in the UK) but I’ve become a total convert to this country’s array of food – and the wines that almost miraculously match it. For me, the most startling combo […] Read more >>

Flowering

Fiona Morrison MW - It is June and the vineyard floor is strewn with wild flowers, clover, dandelions, rabbit ears.  The smell as I bend down to inspect the flowers that are forming on the tiny green buds, is that of early summer; green, certainly, with aromas of blossom, a touch of honey, a touch of herbal bitterness and […] Read more >>

Sherry

Ben Howkins - I may look calm, but I am really totally absorbed by the heat and beat of this stunning Flamenco performance at a private caseta. It is the 2019 annual Feria del Caballo in Jerez, and it is May. Flamenco is Andalucia. Any region that can give birth to such deep, yet joyful music deserves to […] Read more >>

About Académie Du Vin Library

Steven Spurrier - Why the Academie du Vin Library? To re-publish and re-create the ‘literature’ of wine. Today much wine writing is reduced to tasting notes and scores, while technical information and prices can be found on the web. The books that taught me about wine in the 1960s were based on Places and People more than the […] Read more >>

A Cry from the Heart – Of Andalusia

Martin Preston - Académie du Vin Library friend Jancis Robinson has recently posted an excellent article on her website asking ‘What is to be done about Sherry’? What indeed. Spain’s finest wine has been in the doldrums for the last 30 years, especially in the UK, where its associations with net curtains, vicarage tea parties and drafty senior […] Read more >>

Steven Spurrier: Spreading the Word

Steven Spurrier - After the stupendous launch of Wine Tasting at the Vintners’ Hall last week – an event that will go down in the annals of the Livery Hall’s 650-year history – it is now time to spread the word about the Académie du Vin Library and Michael Broadbent’s book in particular. Fortunately, I am on the road […] Read more >>

Family Business

Martin Preston - At 67 Pall Mall yesterday with Simon (Publisher), Matthew (Sales & Marketing) and Susan (Editor) for a meeting with 10 Great Wine Families author Fiona Morrison MW, who had just jetted in from Vietnam but was certainly none the worse for wear. For those of you who don’t know her (in the wine world, that’s […] Read more >>

Party On!

Martin Preston - We were all very nervous. The weather had suddenly warmed up (thank goodness) but it was a Tuesday night and the traffic was as bad as ever. Supposing we held a party and nobody came? Or worse, they came, saw, had a quick drink and left?  We needn’t have worried. The launch party of the […] Read more >>

Magic Monniker

Martin Preston - Michael Broadbent’s son Bollew posted this snap of Michael (immaculately dressed as always) signing a copy of Wine Tasting for his daughter Emma. But Michael will be flouting publishing convention by not signing copies tomorrow night at the official launch at Vintners’ Hall. He’d far rather spend his time enjoying himself talking to the other 180-odd […] Read more >>

Winners in Virginia

Steven Spurrier - Late January found me in Washington DC at Master of Wine Jay Youmans’ Washington Wine School, invited for my fourth year as a judge for the Governor’s Cup. The three previous tastings had been held at the splendid Jefferson Hotel in Richmond VA, with optional visits to wineries in nearby Charlottesville, but this time the […] Read more >>

Brought to Book!

Martin Preston - In the 5th floor café at Waterstones, Piccadilly yesterday for a meeting on our Sherry book with the delightful Ben Howkins – always a pleasure – and Susan, our wonderful editor. For those of you who don’t already know, it’s the place to go for a meeting in central London: friendly staff, stylish surroundings and comfy […] Read more >>

It’s a Dog’s Life!

We don’t know what they’re feeding them over there in Virginia – but if Michael Broadbent’s son Bollew’s golden retrievers are anything to go by, the world of gourmet dog food is about to to take a step up. I’m not sure that’s quite what Michael had in mind when he wrote Wine Tasting, but […] Read more >>

One Glass to Rule them All?

Martin Preston - You’ve probably noticed the elegant Zalto wine glasses dotted around our website – for some time, the connoisseur’s glasses of choice. But Académie du Vin Library friend Jancis Robinson has pointed out that Zalto now faces stiff competition – in the shape of a single wine glass, designed to suit any occasion and any wine. […] Read more >>

Tastes of Romania

Steven Spurrier - The last weekend in March found me flying from Luton to Cluj Napoca on WhizzAir to attend a wine fair that was held in the National Art Gallery on the city’s centre square and to give a Masterclass on the 10 wines that had impressed me most. Romania occupies the same latitude as France and […] Read more >>

Hot off the Press – and much Appreciated

Simon McMurtrie - Académie du Vin Library Publisher Simon McMurtrie and his wife Emma present Michael Broadbent with the first advanced copy of the Commemorative Edition of Michael’s book Wine Tasting at his flat in London. “It’s hard to find the words to express the absolute joy on Michael’s face as Emma and I visited him and his […] Read more >>