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 modern-day diversion. Or look back to George Saintsbury’s verdict on 1920 sparkling Bordeaux and browse Henry Vizetelly’s 1879 account of the standoff between Champagne and Burgundy for more of a laugh. (Yes, really.)
If I want to flex a more philosophical brain cell, I can find out who Hugh Johnson considers the father of all wine writing (but it’s you, Hugh!) or venture to California to see where its whackiest winemaker, Randall Grahm, finds ‘Sérinity’… And if I want just to be told how it is, then I read Jane MacQuitty for a no-nonsense view on decanting.
In all the wine writing I’ve been lucky enough to explore, I’ve stumbled across delicious tasting notes, wry commentary and even outright anger (at the fortification of port no less). But for me, the most colourful and exciting depictions of wine and wine country have come from Andrew Caillard in Australia. Andrew is a Master of Wine, author and painter who has been exploring the similarities between winemaking and painting for over 40 years. Who better to definitively say which colour truly represents which grape variety? (Viognier is orange, by the way.) Or explain the way acidity, tannin, residual sugar and oak will vary like tints and tones of colour in a Pinot Noir or Tempranillo?
Here’s a selection of the brilliant artwork he creates to capture the landscape of his wines – and perhaps something of their flavour too.
All the authors mentioned, plus Michael Broadbent, Tony Aspler, Jonathan Miles, Dirk Niepoort, Simon Loftus and many more – their quirks, opinions, and vaguely alarming stories – are packed into In Vino Veritas, our new book, hopefully ready in time for Christmas. Keep watching the website for more details…