Donnafugata: expressing Mount Etna

Art & Expression

In Greek mythology, Zeus was said to have trapped a monster called Typhus beneath the mountain. That might explain the near-constant active displays that we witness on our news and social feeds from those standing in proximity to this tumultuous lady.

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Three Barolo’s by Giovanni Rosso

Piemonte is only a few hours drive away from here but under the lockdown conditions, a visit is currently off-limits. It was a pleasure to receive these wines in 2020 and they have been delayed in posting due to the chaos of relocating here. It is a real pleasure to post these now with some thoughts for local food from here in Liguria.

Tasting these superb wines by Giovanni Rosso there is an incredibly alluring character to these wines with layers of complexity. They are fantastically charming.

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Apothic Cab 2019 - A Languorous Californian Cabernet

In these days of COVID chaos, anything that strokes, as opposed to stokes, the nerves is absorbed into our sphere of comfort with easiness. 


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Good ordinary and extraordinary claret

People approach red wines from Bordeaux in myriad ways. Be it by budget, region, vintage, or, a mix of all three. For myself, I prefer the octopus approach: inquisitive tentacles and a wanton palate.

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Biodynamic Old Vine Grenache, Yangarra Estate Winery 2017

Baby it’s cold outside and the climate inside calls for something that exudes an edge of luxury. This old vine Grenache suits perfectly well. Good modern style with a burst of pleasurable cherry, dark berry and spices, super-smooth tannin, polished length and clean finish. 


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Tasting the 2016 Vérité Release from Sonoma County

Careening through central London’s subterranean arteries to get to wine tastings inevitably provides a combination of anticipation and perspiration. When the wine tasting in question is at Claridges and the wines are produced in a Bordeaux style, with blended varieties, and tendered by the esteemed Bordelais winemaker, Pierre Seillan, there is plenty of promise in the endeavour.

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Cariñena: A hidden Spanish gem

Delving deep into the shelves of my local Laithwaite’s merchant in Borough Market, London Bridge, I found a trove of unusual Spanish wines and that evening enjoyed this Marqués de Valdecañas Gran Reserva 2012, Cariñena DO.

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Douro Valley’s Quinta do Noval acquires neighbour, Quinta do Passadouro

It has been a busy year for Douro Valley port and dry wine producer, Quinta do Noval. February saw the release of Noval's dry wine range in London, and in the summer, Managing Director Christian Seely joined the Fladgate Partnership’s Adrian Bridge, and Symington family’s Charles Symington at the Tate Modern to show to the trade the newly declared 2017 vintage.

Now, as the 2019 harvest approaches, Quinta do Noval announces the acquisition of their neighbour, the family-owned, Quinta do Passodouro.

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Bordeaux; Grand Cru Classè fatigue and the force of emerging change

Tradition makes a mockery of terroir?

At the recent Grand Cru Classé London tasting of 2015-18 vintages, a fellow taster I was talking to vented his frustration, saying, “I can’t be bothered with it. It is a waste of time.” He went on to say that he had spoken to the new winemaker at Chateau [X] asking him what it was like as a trained winemaker to be “unleashed on this classed growth vineyard in Bordeaux?” When the reply came back, “I spent six months learning how to make Chateau [X]”, the die was cast. “It makes a mockery of any type of terroir in Bordeaux!”

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Pauillac versus Saint Julien in top vintages

It was a great pleasure to be invited to Trinity College, Cambridge to a tutored tasting of wine pairings comparing Pauillac and Saint Julien. Prof. Stephen Elliot guided the tour of these top vintages of 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2000, and 1996, with a mystery wine thrown in at the end, to guess which commune it came from.

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COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

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Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


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