The Sour Grape

Tasting Event: London Wine Fair 2019

I always approach the London Wine Fair with the same unbridled enthusiasm and naive expectation that, this year, I will attend all three glorious days and make the most of the opportunity. My record to date, however, has been a day and half… a pathetic effort! This year I was determined to take it easy…

Leeuwenkuil Bushvine Cinsault 2016

Cinsault is a grape that tends to be resigned to blends in France as it softens out tannic grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon etc. But it can make fantastic lighter wines all by itself if given the opportunity and right conditions. In Swartland – South Africa, the grape has found something of home away from home…

The Black Shiraz 2014

It’s been a while since I gambled on an Australian Shiraz, as quite a few of my friends struggle with the thick ‘heady’ weight of fruit and powerful American oak characteristics, (usually from a thorough oak chip ‘tea-bagging’) that typified the wines when they were at their most popular. However, time has moved on and…

Fresquito Montilla-Moriles PX 2014

This is an unusual wine by any stretch of the imagination. The producer had effectively made an amontillado style sherry using the ‘Pedro Ximénez’ grape variety (PX)… and instead of stopping the fermentation early by adding brandy (which is what usually happens with Sherry), they’ve allowed it to ferment the ‘usual way’. I won’t bore…

Barahonda Monastrell 2014

Monastrell (Mourvedre) is a grape that seems to have found a new identity for itself in southern Spain, in much the same way as Malbec has in Argentina. For a long time Rioja and it’s signature grape variety ‘Tempranillo’ defined Spanish wine in almost every way, but there’s a lot more the country has to…

Mas Du Libian ‘Khazan’ Cotes Du Rhone 2013

Few wine regions in world consistently balance concentration of fruit with depth of character like the Rhone does at table wine prices. So it’s no surprise that the ‘Wine Society’ is able to routinely offer their members quality Cote-du-Rhône wines for a good price. This has deep ruby colour with a pink rim, ripe red…

Chateau Montus Madiran 2011

The wines of Madiran have a special place in my heart… just look at how many I’ve reviewed on this site! If you love the fuller bodied red wine from the Rhone, then you owe it to yourself to seek out the deep brooding reds of south-west France. Alan Brumont is a producer at the…

Tasting Event: London Wine Fair 2016

I’ve been at this whole ‘wine tasting/reviewing’ business for while now, but for one reason or another I hadn’t quite plucked up the courage to register myself as a member of the ‘wine press’ before. You see… there is a whole world of exhibitions and wine tastings that take place almost completely out of the…

Boutinot ‘La Cote Sauvage’ Cairanne 2012

Cairanne is one of the Villages in the Southern Rhone that is about to be promoted to ‘Cru’ status (like Chateauneuf-du-pape), so at some point soon the prices are going to shoot up… but not yet! So for now you can get some seriously high quality Rhone wines for far less than their famous neighbors.…

M&S Barbera D’Asti 2013

This is a good value Italian wine from the northwest of the country will make a cracking mid-week pasta wine. In the glass it has a medium ruby colour with a pink rim and black cherry, black currant, blackberry fruit aroma with soft vanilla and a violet floral note. On the palate there’s a fresh…

The Society’s Exhibition Crozes-Hermitage 2013

The Rhone in France is divided into Northern and Southern wine regions and most of what we see on our shelves in the UK comes from the South… Grenache dominant blends with Syrah and Mourvèdre amongst other varieties; wines like ‘Cote du Rhone’, ‘Chateauneuf Du Pape’, ‘Vacqueyras’ etc. The red wines from the North (with…

Greco Sannio 2014

When it comes to un-oaked white wines, hard as it may be to believe, there’s a whole world of incredible options out there that have nothing to do Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio and Italy’s literally bursting at seams with them. Two of my favorite varieties from the sun soaked south of the country are…

Terres De Moraines Madiran 2012

The third Tannat based wine M&S have on their shelves at the moment is a classic French ‘Madiran’… though one closer to entry level for the region than the bottle of ‘Domaine Picard’ I reviewed here. In the glass it has a deep ruby/black colour with a pink rim and an inky earthy black fruit…