Best wine with seafood

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Thank god for social media because that’s how I recognised the Thomas “Braemore” Semillon on the menu at North Bondi Fish. This is the best white wine I have ever had with seafood. For people who know the usual drum beat of Australian wine, this particular Hunter Valley Semillon may be unrecognisable. The delicate and clean flavours can seem ...

Barossa Soul

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Jet lag happens because a jet moves faster than the soul, said William Gibson in Pattern Recognition, "Souls can't move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage." One of the first things I do when I arrive in Australia is hit the local wine shops. Not only because I am ...

How Bordeaux 2014 is like Kate Moss

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Despite owning the world's media focus for over 20 years, how much did we really know about Kate Moss at the height of her fame? Yes, we saw photos of leaving parties in Primrose Hill, the hazy wedding photos and the terrible boyfriends. But unlike other celebrities, she never talked about her personal life even when her image was ...

Burgundy Young Guns

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The generation shift happening in Burgundy is one of the great trends in wine. The number of producers in this year’s Burgundy 2013 en primeur offer under the age of 40 has shot up to over half. This has increased the number of wines we can offer you. Why?  One explanation is the way Burgundy is distributed through the en primeur system. Allocations in ...

Where the Wine Tastes Better

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Some thoughts on wine marketing. When I first started in wine, it was a few weeks after September 11. I worked on the weekend shifts while answering calls from customers and selling a few extra cases at the end with a commission for $2 each per case. It was a creative place, full of actors and ...

Chinese Year of the Mouton

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What lies in store for Mouton Rothschild in the Chinese Year of the Ram? With the recent record-breaking ex-cellar auction in Hong Kong, it certainly has been an auspicious start. Let's looks at the steady rise in price of the 2000 Mouton Rothschild vintage for clues.  During Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, the menu is not just about ...

Riesling Trocken 2013 by Rebholz

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There is something wry and world-weary about dry Pflaz Riesling. The mineral quality is so self-effacing that it would not surprise me if it preferred to keep company with the young and effervescent sparkling mineral waters at the dinner table rather than the serious conversation of the old cellared reds and the over-caked whites. I want to use the ...

Reto by Ponce

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Fashion photography, much like most wine writing, can focus too much on the facts for my taste - shoes, hats, dress, size, price, perfunctory smile and twirl - and then, there is the photography that makes everything "rich and strange". This is the photographer, Guy Bourdin: his exhibition is currently on at Somerset House in London. ...

The Sauce on France

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Surely that is not Tottenham Court Road but the Champs-Élysées? Douglas Blyde almost had me believing we could see Paris when we arrived for his L'Hexagone (France) tasting on the 33rd floor of the Paramount building. "If I didn't have wine in France I would be gasping of a bottle of Tobasco. The wine is the sauce," he says. This ...

What drives a Wine Collector?

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Recently I read an article in the New York Times about a Brazilian bus magnate who's buying up all the world's vinyl records. This mysterious collector has record shops sending him semi-trailers worth of vinyl then hires interns to "bring logic" to his collection. He has even gone through therapy to try to understand his obsession. Beyond ...

How to Fly First Class at Home

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Tasting Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay 2008 is a bright blast of sunshine much like sitting on a tarmac anywhere after arriving from gloomy Gatwick. So, it does not surprise me this wine is on Qantas First Class. Even on the ground, this wine is a journey in itself. This is a complex and big wine, bright ...

What is deliciousness?

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This is a working philosophy. But it is also a work in progress. Something I think about a lot during my day to day especially when tasting for many hours. What is deliciousness? Deliciousness is a state of ease, along with companionship (with wine and others) and most importantly (I agree with Thierry Thiese) charm. It does ...

Anti-Valentine Wine: 100% Bastardo

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Before you are completely consumed with kitsch and regret, consider this for Valentine's Day. When everyone else is popping pink Champagne and being overcharged at restaurants, you need an antidote to keep your mind focused on why you did the right thing. This wine made of 100% Bastardo even has soulless and cold eyes that stare ...

Oh! Ochota

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"And if by chance you surf..... you would understand what a great barrel is." After a pure two-tone fruity-vanilla start reminiscent of tasting straight from the barrel in a cold cellar*, it found a balance point exactly where satsuma, lemon curd and Comte cheese meet. In the current trend for leaner Chardonnay but more balanced on the ...

My top wines of 2013

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Time to give thanks to all the great wines of 2013, and there have been a few.   Red Giacosa Barbaresco Red Label 1996 from this dinner at Medlar Very Budget red Pinot Noir 2012, Paparuda, Cramele Recas, Romania (£5.99) Special mention to all the posh Beaujolais   White Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2007 And all the EP 2012 Rieslings   Budget white Clos du Tu-Boeuf Cheverny 2011,Thierry ...

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Arvid Rosengren, working in Copenhagen, recently wrote a thoughtful piece about natural wine. At the end of the post he gives fair advice to those who are for and against natural wine, including: "If things seem black/white it’s only because you don’t know better." The neon sign at Little Social Restaurant is from Godard's science fiction film "Alphaville" (1965). In the ...

Brilliant Grillo

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One of the most exciting things I saw in Marsala at the government's nursery vineyards were the experiments that crossed native Sicilian varieties with ancient Georgian Saperavi. Anticipating environmental change in the next 10 years, it is a forward thinking approach by the oenologists (then again, wineries take at least a generation to develop). The vineyards ...

Dancing Jancis

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Quick - what was the average number of bottles drunk per person in the UK in 1971? (The same year as the first edition of The World Atlas of Wine was published.) The spark for the original edition World Atlas of Wine was first ignited just around the corner from where Jancis Robinson, Hugh Johnson and Octopus ...

The Story of the Stolen Glass

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It's a sad sign of the times when one is pathetically grateful for good customer service. Recently it has become a bête noire of mine having to deal with global internet companies. It could not have been a more different experience on the weekend. Visiting one of my favourite restaurants in Paris, La Verre Vole. (The ...

Anything but Assyrtiko

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It's official. The brilliant summer in London is now a memory.I do not drink enough Greek wine to say Anything but Assyrtiko just quite yet, but this selection saw a horizon beyond Santorini.... Under the blaring midday sun on the beach, imagine a very cold white wine called Roditis by Tetramythos as the high thrilling squeal of children chased ...

Majestic friends

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When I asked my friend why he wanted to go to the National Gallery to see this painting by Titian, he told me about how his manager had it on the wall when he first worked at Majestic. It is a magnificent painting, and if there is a shrine left to Bacchus, then this must ...

Blog De La Soul

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I haven't updated my blog and I have dropped out of twitter for the summer - and I owe you an explanation. This month it has been 6 years since I began WW&S (I can talk about it in 3rd person and you may think - how affected. But it now has a tamagotchi life ...

German Riesling 2012 Kabinett & Auslese

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The 2012 Germany Riesling vintage is powerful and intense like "lots of violins being played together pianissimo". There is a real drama to this vintage and the best seem to sweep you up in their drama. The yields are very low this year (down by 50%), particularly in the Mosel - no wonder there is no slouching: they are ...