500 vineyards over 5000 acres....
If you like wine and you haven’t heard of the big English (& Welsh) wine boom then you must be living under a rock. With one million vines set to be planted in the UK this year, more and more Brits are turning their hand to wine making. Some are starting from scratch, others have studied winemaking at places like Plumpton College, one couple, Ruth & Charles Simpson, have even returned from their successful wine estates in Southern France to start growing in Kent, whilst others are calling in the pros from Champagne and elsewhere to advise on their wine production.
The predominant category is sparkling wine, made using the traditional grapes of Champagne and other grapes such as the Germanic varieties traditionally suited to cooler climates.
But sparkling aside, there are also fabulous still wines appearing on the market, such as the pinot noir from Hush Heath Manor, or very tasty Bacchus Block from Devon based Lyme Bay Winery.
What’s driving the growth in English wine production?
Introducing Taittinger in Kent: Domaine Evremond
Much of the wine news is rightly centred on the recent frosts that have now claimed some substantial victims in southern England right on the back of losses in Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Loire.
I find myself eating far less meat than ever before for the main reasons that a lot of what we consume is poor quality, mass produced and environmentally damaging. That said, it is hard not to get excited in the colder months about the abundance of game meats that we have in Britain. What’s more is that they make the perfect accompaniment to a variety of wines.
Many wine apps have set out to please mobile users but often have ended up in the trashcan as lack of necessity trumps usefulness. Is the new “sommelier in your pocket” app, Corkscrew, about to change that?
Wines from this famous part of north west Spain are part of the modern British psyche. In this first segment of notes we taste 1 crianza and 2 reserva’s. These examples are great examples of what benchmark Rioja should taste like - rich and dangerously pleasurable.
What is it about this time of year that begs for open fires, roasted dinners and the taste of fine wines? It’s the latter that acts as a flowing ink joining the dots across memory and landscape. It connects our primordial selves to something we can’t quite describe yet, like soft caresses, translates into the language of pleasure. Yup, that is the work of damn good wine from Rioja!
The suave wine store and eatery combined, located in the Zig Zag Building on London’s Victoria Street, M Wine has just installed a pair of draught taps for customers to drop in and get refills of two deliciously drinking wines that could see a change in the way consumers buy their everyday drinking wines.
When one of London’s oldest cheesemonger’s, Paxton & Whitfield, sends an invitation for port and cheese matching, you never know who you might find in the room. This is after all the Queen’s cheese supplier, and, I’ve heard, the store was once a regular indulgence point for Sir Winston Churchill and Lord Byron.
Bruno Paillard is a big name in Champagne, both as a man and as a brand. It was a pleasure to be invited to the launch of the Champagne Bruno Paillard, ’06 Vintage Blanc de Blancs and to meet Alice Paillard, daughter of the man, and winemaker at the helm of the brand.
Caliterra winemaker, Rodrigo Zamorano compares 3 styles of this movable grape - Setting the scene for Malbec
The tasting was set up in the basement of Casa Malevo in Connaught Street London, a place famous for exceedingly high quality steak, a frequent food pairing for the malbec grape we were due to taste.
Bordeaux seems to be a wine region that we all perceive as being a haven of bluechip wines that mortals are denied access to. The £8-£20 price range for regular drinking wines is perhaps not as popular as it should be. Why is that? Does the region need more decoding. There are rewards for journeying into one of the world's most famous wine regions.
We caught up with Vitalie Taittinger at BAFTA in London to discuss the joys of drinking old vintages of Taittinger's famed Comtes De Champagne, as well as her excitement for English terroir and a quick insight into the 2016 harvest in Champagne.
Watch: Wine Tips from the Grape-Pickers Party
After days of picking grapes in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, the pickers get together to drink, chat and enjoy the drinks they are meticulously involved in the making of.
Also check out local winemaker, Nico’s, top tip for a white Burgundy from Saint Aubin that you don’t have to travel to Burgundy to get!
From Picasso to Pecorino Wine (not cheese!!)
What started in El Quatre Gats tapas bar in Barcelona, soon became an adventure in the Marche region of Italy, that lies along the east coast facing Albania across the Adriatic Sea. El Quatre Gats is famously where Picasso had his first solo exhibition as a young edgy artists in the Catalan capital and I was there dining with Dr Pia Casarini Wadhams, Director of Italy’s only Polar Institute, Il Polo.