Wine doctor

Summer Break: Chinon Time

The sun is shining (intermittently, to be honest) over the vineyards of Chinon today. I know this not because I have looked up the latest méteo report, but because I can feel its warm rays on my skin.

16.07.04. 07:48

Don`t be a Woolworths

Many years ago I had a Saturday- and holiday-job in Woolworths. I worked there on-and-off from the age of 15, right through my years at high school and for quite a few years when I was at university too.

16.06.29. 17:18

Jonathan Maltus, OBE

I learnt this morning that Jonathan Maltus, proprietor of Château Teyssier in St Emilion, has been made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Huge congratulations to Jonathan (pictured above, during last year’s primeurs).

16.06.13. 12:09

Bordeaux 2015: Is it all over?

I don’t think I’ve ever thought of myself as a Bordeaux apologist. I have been as dismayed as the next drinker by the increasingly tight stranglehold on primeurs prices that we have seen develop during the last 15 years.

16.06.10. 13:29

Loire Valley Frost 2016: Technical & Economic Report

I received this morning this report from InterLoire, the inter-professional organisation representing much of the Loire Valley, namely the Nantais, Anjou, Saumur and Touraine regions, with a few notable exceptions including Bourgueil...

16.06.09. 14:32

En Primeur: Buy, Backfill or Chinon?

The Bordeaux 2015 releases continue to trickle out. Well, there has perhaps been a little more than a ‘trickle’ this week, as the pace seems to have picked up a little.

16.06.02. 13:37

Exploring Sherry #17: Romate Don Jose Oloroso

Yes, it has been a long time, hasn’t it? In truth, a full three months have passed since my last foray into the Sherry universe, which was with the Fernando de Castilla Antique Oloroso.

16.05.27. 13:42

En Primeur: Where Next?

The way Bordeaux is sold is changing, and it is going to keep on changing. Despite frequently made predictions to the contrary, en primeur isn’t going to explode, nor is it likely to disappear altogether.

16.05.25. 13:33

Bordeaux Quartets: 2015 vs. 2014

With my Bordeaux 2015 report now complete, I can look forward to writing about other aspects of Bordeaux, and also squeezing in rather more from the Loire Valley than I have managed over the past three weeks.

16.05.05. 14:33

Bordeaux 2015: Penultimate Thoughts

Not closing thoughts then? No not quite, because although I have now published all my Bordeaux 2015 reports, having spent more than a week tasting the barrel samples during the primeurs...

16.04.30. 12:52

Bordeaux 2015: Pomerol Pacifist

Well, that’s it, it’s done. My primeurs week is finished. Seven days (it should have been eight – thanks very much, French Air Traffic Control) of organising, navigating, driving, tasting...

16.04.09. 09:09

Bordeaux 2015: Bumping

Friday morning, and it is the last day of primeurs, for me at least. There won’t be any tastings ongoing over the weekend, so the Bordelais can breath a sigh of relief.

16.04.08. 08:06

Bordeaux 2015: Never Ignore Fate

It’s Thursday morning, and I am now on my primeurs home straight. I have left behind the glories of the Médoc, settling temporarily in Fronsac instead.

16.04.07. 07:08

Bordeaux: Rocky Balboa

Yesterday morning saw a relaxed start. That doesn’t mean I had a lie-in, because my first tasting was at Château Calon-Ségur at 8am.

16.04.06. 06:39

Bordeaux 2015: Lost in Barsac

I have an 8am appointment this morning (Tuesday), so this latest update from the road in Bordeaux had better be a quick one.

16.04.05. 07:16

Bordeaux 2015: Bed Collapse

It is Monday morning and I am about to head out for Chateau Pape-Clément, my first visit in a day of tasting Pessac-Leognan and Sauternes. It’s April, and of course I am in Bordeaux for the primeurs. It has been an eventful few days.

16.04.04. 06:41

Winedoctor Philosophies, Year 4

In the past week Winedoctor passed an important landmark. It is not a true birthday – this site first appeared in May 2000...

16.04.01. 12:18

R.I.P. Paul Pontallier, Man of Margaux

I am deeply saddened by news today of the death of Paul Pontallier, managing director of Château Margaux. He was very young, aged just 59 years. Paul Pontallier was the face of Château Margaux for as long as I have known it.

16.03.28. 15:04

Exploring Sherry #16: Fernando de Castilla Antique Oloroso

My interest in Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castillo was piqued by an encounter with the Don Fernando sherries carried by a certain UK supermarket.

16.02.18. 15:27

The Salons of Angers, Day 5

The final day of the Salon des Vins de Loire is, sadly, always dominated by the long trek home.

16.02.04. 15:11

The Salons of Angers, Day 4

I read a news report this morning describing research which revealed that men aged 45 to 59 years report the lowest level of life satisfaction. This age group also reported more anxiety, and men were worse off than women.

16.02.03. 07:11

The Salons of Angers, Day 3

As I have alluded in some of my previous posts, the Salon des Vins de Loire is not seen as a ‘hip’ tasting to go to by a great number of Loire fans.

16.02.02. 07:35

The Salons of Angers, Day 2

There is an episode in series 2 of Father Ted (entitled ‘New Jack City’ for the FT geeks) in which Father Jack develops an advanced case of Hairy Hands Syndrome (stage 6, a fairly advanced case).

16.02.01. 06:52

The Salons of Angers, Day 1

When I was packing for this trip I distinctly recall looking at my umbrella and deciding against it; I always try to travel light, with hand luggage only, and that was the last thing I wanted to be squeezing into my luggage.

16.01.31. 08:25

To the Salon! (2016 Edition)

The coldest place in the world is commonly (or should I say probably) thought to be somewhere in Antarctica, a windswept white desert of sub-zero temperatures.

16.01.30. 08:05

Muscadet: Melon or Colombard?

A couple of year’s ago I spent a couple of hours at the Maison des Vins de Nantes learning about the business of Muscadet.

16.01.26. 17:09

Folding Hill Pinot Noir Orchard Block 2012

I really enjoy tasting the latest from Folding Hill, firstly because they are classic examples of the Central Otago style, which we could consider today an essential benchmark for understanding what Pinot Noir is capable of.

16.01.26. 15:32

Exploring Sherry #15: Bodegas Hidaldo Oloroso Faraon

Back into the Sherry seat now, with a look at this wine from Bodegas Hidalgo. Every Sherry drinker (and some non-drinkers too I suspect) knows La Gitana, one of the best known Sherry brands in existence...

16.01.12. 13:14

Winedoctor 2015 Disclosures

Is there any more eagerly awaited blog post than my annual disclosure statement? Well, to be honest, the answer is probably yes. But I will carry on regardless. Independence and transparency is important.

16.01.07. 12:31

Have a Happy New Year!

And so 2015 draws to a close…. It has been a great year for Winedoctor, now with over one thousand subscribers.

15.12.31. 18:30

Wine in Context #1: Clos Rougeard

I had originally planned to publish this yesterday morning, but with the news of the death of Charly Foucault breaking it just didn’t feel right. Now, as the news has sunk in, it feels inappropriate not to publish it…..

15.12.30. 15:31

Wine in Context #2: Oaked Sauvignon

I think in any other year the Oaked Sauvignon Blanc tasting that I arranged with Richard Bampfield MW in November 2015 would have been my favourite wine event of the year; there was, however, some very stiff competition in 2015.

15.12.28. 16:09

Wine in Context #3: A Day at Dagueneau

I’m now onto my top three wine moments of the year. Number three took place back in June 2015 during a tasting trip to the Loire Valley.

15.12.27. 15:36

Wine in Context #4: Bordeaux 2005

I’ve been a regular attendee of the Bordeaux Index annual tasting of ten-year old Bordeaux for a few years now.

15.12.26. 18:29

Wine in Context #5: Haut-Brion

Heading down from Edinburgh to Chester to join Chester Claret Club, a tasting group I used to attend, in their 30th anniversary celebrations in May this year was a real blast from the past.

15.12.23. 15:27

Wine in Context #6: Vincent Caille

The problem faced by any wine writer, critic or blogger is finding something new worth writing about.

15.12.22. 11:55

Wine in Context #7: Eglise-Clinet Extravaganza

Sometimes the dream invitation crops up. Well, I suppose for me, the true ‘dream...

15.12.21. 14:03

Wine in Context #8: Tasting with John Kolasa

Being based in Edinburgh means I am somewhat detached from the rest of the British wine writing community, who largely congregate around London.

15.12.20. 13:21

Wine in Context #9: Jonathan Pabiot in Edinburgh

As we mature (a less hard-edged way of saying “grow older”) our circumstances change. Children (if you have any) also mature, gradually becoming more independent and responsible.

15.12.19. 13:08

Wine in Context #10: Return to Thieuley

A few years ago (well, maybe more than a few) December would always feature my Wine in Context reports. It was meant to be an antidote to the usual festive ‘top ten wines of the year’ lists.

15.12.18. 15:47

Exploring Sherry #14: Dos Cortados

Having breathed new life into my exploration of Sherry I seem, since my encounter with the Don Fernando wines, own-label efforts from Fernando de Castilla, to have enjoyed a good run of really interesting wines.

15.12.08. 15:16

Bordeaux Tourism: Chateau Le Pape

I visit Bordeaux fairly frequently, always to taste, taste and taste. Why else come to Bordeaux?

15.12.02. 13:12

Bordeaux 2015: Sandrine Garbay, Yquem

It seems somehow right to leave my visit to Yquem, to hear what winemaker Sandrine Garbay (pictured below) thought of the 2015 vintage, to last. Well, at least I think this is my last Bordeaux 2015 report (before the primeurs anyway).

15.11.30. 13:21

Exploring Sherry #13: Don Fernando

I can’t believe it’s been more than two months since the last bottle of Sherry popped up on this blog. That was the Gonzalez Byass Fino Delicado back in August.

15.11.26. 13:42

Bordeaux 2015: David Suire, Larcis Ducasse

Somehow another five days have passed since my last Bordeaux 2015 report, featuring the words of Thomas Duroux. Time to put that right now.

15.11.25. 13:27

Bordeaux 2015: Thomas Duroux, Palmer

I can just about manage to squeeze in another quick post on the 2015 Bordeaux vintage and harvest before we hit the weekend.

15.11.20. 16:03

Bordeaux 2015: Bruno Rolland, Leoville-Las-Cases

During my little tour of Bordeaux to check out the 2013 vintage I had just one appointment in St Julien, that being at Château Léoville-Las-Cases. As usual I was greeted by Bruno Rolland, the maître de chai here.

15.11.17. 14:29

Bordeaux 2015: Jean-Rene Matignon, Pichon-Baron

After a break last week – I was on the road quite a lot and although I managed to...

15.11.16. 14:03

Oaked Sauvignon Blanc, Part 2

Continuing on from Oaked Sauvignon Blanc Part 1, I want now to reflect on what I learnt at this tasting. Having sourced all the wines from the Loire Valley, you might think I would already know them well, but that’s not the case.

15.11.12. 12:34

Oaked Sauvignon Blanc, Part 1

Last Monday I hosted an Oaked Sauvignon Blanc tasting, along with Richard Bampfield and Jean-Christophe Mau of Château Brown. It was great fun.

15.11.11. 15:11

Bordeaux 2015: Philippe Dhalluin, Mouton-Rothschild

After visiting Jean-Michel Comme at Château Pontet-Canet, it was just a two-minute drive (provided I drive slowly, that is) next-door to meet Philippe Dhalluin of Château Mouton-Rothschild.

15.11.04. 15:17

Bordeaux 2015: Jean-Michel Comme, Pontet-Canet

The day after meeting Paz Espejo at Château Lanessan I just happened to find myself in Pauillac (what luck!). My first port of call was to see Jean-Michel Comme, biodynamic guru at Château Pontet-Canet.

15.11.02. 14:41

Bordeaux 2015: Paz Espejo, Lanessan

In Bordeaux last week I made sure to visit some less frequently trumpeted domaines, and here is a quick Bordeaux 2015 report from one of them.

15.10.30. 15:12

Bordeaux 2015: Gabriel Vialard, Haut-Bailly

Now returned from Bordeaux, over the course of the next week or two I will be going back to my visits, with reports from some of the top names in Bordeaux.

15.10.29. 14:46

Bordeaux 2015 Harvest: Jean-Christophe Mau Reports

I have quite a few vintage sound-bites, from the likes of David Suire (Château Larcis Ducasse), Thomas Duroux (Château Palmer) and Philippe Dhalluin (Château Mouton-Rothschild) lined up for publication.

15.10.27. 12:27

Bordeaux 2015: Final Taste

St Emilion always comes last (more or less, mixed with Pomerol a little) in my en primeur schedule, and this was also the case on this tasting trip.

15.10.24. 09:25

Bordeaux 2015: Fourth Taste

My week in Bordeaux is drawing to a close, and today is my last day of proper tasting (although I will be hanging around a bit on Saturday, as my flight bank to the UK is not exactly an early one).

15.10.23. 08:20

Bordeaux 2015: Third Taste

On Wednesday I ventured north again, as far as Pauillac. I kicked off at Château d’Issan first though, and because of a tight schedule they kindly agreed to see me at 8am.

15.10.22. 08:33

Bordeaux 2015: Second Taste

It’s Wednesday morning, and before I strike out for my first very early tasting there is time to reflect on a long day of visits yesterday.

15.10.21. 07:00

Bordeaux 2015: First Taste

Monday was a fascinating day with, as planned, a mix of visits taking in tastings of 2013 Bordeaux, a poke around the cellars looking at how the embryonic 2015 vintage is doing, and some visits to hitherto unfamiliar domaines.

15.10.20. 07:18

Bordeaux 2015: Starting at Thieuley

There’s a change to the usual programme of updates on Winedoctor this week, as I have left behind the cold and damp weather of Scotland, and moved south… the cold and damp weather of Bordeaux.

15.10.19. 08:43

Montlouis and Bourgueil, New Maison des Vins

Fascinating news from Tours. The two biggest appellations to have left InterLoire, Montlouis and Bourgueil, have come together to take over the old Maison des Associations Culturelles on the Place Plumereau, in the old quarter of town ...

15.10.15. 14:35

Loire 2015 Harvest: Francois Lieubeau Reports

Another harvest report now, this time from François Lieubeau (pictured below), of Domaine de la Fruitière (and a handful of other domaines also).

15.10.15. 14:11

Discovering Bordeaux; Top-Down or Bottom-Up?

Yesterday I attended the 2013 Bordeaux tasting at Covent Garden. The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux saddled up for their annual ride into London...

15.10.14. 16:45

Loire 2015 Harvest: Charles Sydney Reports

I know you’ve all been waiting for it. The first report from Charles and Philippa Sydney, Loire courtiers extraordinaire.

15.10.09. 13:09

Lagar de Cervera Rias Baixas Albarino 2014

A couple of months ago I spent a couple of weeks in Portugal, and the best drinking I found when there was Vinho Verde.

15.10.08. 15:29

Bordeaux 2015 Harvest: Report from Smith-Haut-Lafitte

I get quite a lot of harvest news dropping into my inbox. This report from Fabien Teitgen of Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte is so detailed, and although it presents a lot of positive information it is refreshingly free of hyperbole ...

15.10.07. 16:52


I have reflected for some time on the recent debacle in Vouvray and Montlouis involving Jacky Blot and François Chidaine.

15.10.06. 16:16

R.I.P. Claude Lafond, King of Reuilly

There are few appellations that owe their existence to one man, but it could be argued that the appellation of Reuilly, just a stone’s throw from Sancerre, would not be here today if it were not for Claude Lafond.

15.10.05. 14:23

Bordeaux 2015 Harvest: Video Report, Jonathan Maltus

Picking is underway in Bordeaux. The whites are all finished and it is the reds that have people’s attention now, starting with Merlot of course. I haven’t heard of anyone picking Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc yet.

15.10.04. 15:26

Minna Vineyard Red 2008

It will come as no surprise to learn that I drink a lot of wines from the Loire Valley. Indeed, many other regions simply don’t get a look in.

15.09.29. 18:16

Terroir and Yeasts Revisited

Once I learnt of it, and really began to understand what it was telling me, the concept of terroir always made sense; in essence, two different sites will always give, even though the variety and the vinifications are the same...

15.09.28. 16:17

News on the 2016 Salon des Vins de Loire

In recent times I have had concerns for the Salon des Vins de Loire. To recap the fair – which is very expensive for an exhibitor – doesn’t seem to have delivered enough for some domaines to justify their participation.

15.09.23. 15:18

New Crus Bourgeois Quality Levels Announced

A couple of years ago, in my 2010 Cru Bourgeois report, I laid out the problems as I saw them with the current annually renewed Cru Bourgeois classification system.

15.09.22. 15:08

Say Goodbye to the Ads

Good news today for those that loathe the little animated, flashing and constantly-cycled banner adverts that pop up on wine websites the world over (and indeed on just about any other website or blog in existence).

15.09.15. 12:20

Is Natural Wine Spoofy?

Spoofy wine. You have probably heard the term. If not, a quick 101; the term ‘spoofulated’ or ‘spoofy’ seems to have come out of the East-Coast US wine scene ...

15.09.14. 12:28

Bordeaux 2015 Harvest: Word from the UGCB

The pace of activity in Bordeaux seems set to pick up in the next couple of weeks. While the season has on the whole been warm, dry and sunny, the rain in August reminded everybody that it could all go wrong at any minute.

15.09.12. 13:42

Bordeaux 2015 Harvest, Smith-Haut-Lafitte

I normally refrain from writing about the Bordeaux harvest unless I have some first-hand information to offer. Otherwise, it is too easy to end up as nothing more than a conduit for the Bordeaux marketing machine.

15.09.10. 12:41

Moulis Oenocturne

Forever overlooked, save perhaps for a few famous names such as Château Chasse-Spleen and Château Poujeux, the viticulteurs of Moulis have come up with a new idea to draw in the punters: Moulis Oenocturne 2015.

15.09.04. 13:24

Reprised: New in . . . the Loire

Last year – around about this time as it happens – I ran a series of profiles of young, new, up-and-coming and next-generation vignerons working in a variety of appellations throughout the Loire.

15.09.03. 14:57

September Subscription Opportunity for Merchants

During the primeur tastings in Bordeaux last April I handed out some business cards with an extra treat – a code stuck on the back for a free no-obligation Winedoctor trial...

15.09.01. 14:37

A Bordeaux Guesthouse

During a visit to Château Haut-Bailly a year or two ago I learnt of the purchase by Robert Wilmers of nearby Château Le Pape.

15.08.31. 20:20

The Wine and Health Tedium: A Self-Help Programme

This week has seen yet another round of wine and health stories hit the press. No surprise there, as it seems no week goes by without another puffed-up piece getting the health journalists scribbling in a frenzy. Fear not.

15.08.21. 10:15

Exploring Sherry #12: Gonzalez Byass Fino Delicado

In more than fifteen years of writing on Winedoctor I have always tended to steer towards identifiable domaines, where every bottle tells a tale.

15.08.18. 16:19

Drink the Wines you Care About

When I first started getting into wine I looked for guidance; don’t we all? Someone to lead us by the hand, tell us what we should be drinking.

15.07.31. 12:59

A New Vinho Verde

I’m a sucker for a little bit of spritz. Wines with a tingle on the tongue might not be the most sophisticated of libations, but they sure can be refreshing and easy to drink.

15.07.17. 11:02

A Summer Break: Sunshine & Saumur

Now summer has arrived (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) I will be taking my customary break from Winedoctor updates for a few weeks.

15.07.03. 13:54

The Rise of the Wine Lifestyle Blogger

Look back over the last thirty years of wine writing and I would say that, in the early years at least, the field was led by a small number of big-name writers.

15.06.26. 13:41

Exploring Sherry #11: Lustau Amontillado Botaina

In 2008 Lustau bought up a number of bodegas, soleras and brands from the old firm of Pedro Domecq, including the fino brand La Ina, and the associated Botaina.

15.06.19. 17:00

There is More to Sancerre than Sancerre

I spent a day last week in Sancerre, visiting domaines in Chavignol and Bué (as well as a flying visit across the Loire to Pouilly-Fumé). It got me thinking about what Sancerre is, and why some people reject it and some adore it.

15.06.18. 16:57

I’m Not On a Press Trip to Saumur

Ahhh, the romance of wine writing. As I sit here, a mere stone’s throw from Saumur, the view from my window a vibrant pink-and-blue melange of a sunset, bird song in the distance...

15.06.10. 23:38

I'm Not On a Press Trip to Saumur

Ahhh, the romance of wine writing. As I sit here, a mere stone’s throw from Saumur, the view from my window a vibrant pink-and-blue melange of a sunset, bird song in the distance...

15.06.10. 23:38

Exploring Sherry #10: Tio Pepe Fino En Rama

I first tasted Tio Pepe’s En Rama a couple of years ago. I was quite smitten with it. The style is quite distinctive, rather like your everyday fino on a very basic level, but with everything turned up a notch.

15.06.05. 12:49

Sancerre: Classic versus Cult

I have just put the finishing touches to my schedule for a short trip to Saumur-Champigny, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé that I will be undertaking next week.

15.06.03. 16:04

Quarts de Chaume: The Hard Work Begins

“Cent cabarets offrent leur vin Rochefort, Huillé, Quart de Chaume, Martigné, tous les Saints qu’on chôme Saint-Aubin, Saint-Lambert, Saint-Cyr – Nectar, ambroisie, Élixir!” A.J.

15.05.26. 14:40

Criticism: How the Big Boys deal with it

It’s not fair to have a go at Bordeaux all the time is it? I wonder if some of my previous posts and comments on the quality of its wines, the ‘ambitious’ pricing strategy followed by some proprietors ...

15.05.15. 10:50

Exploring Sherry #9: Lustau Amontillado Los Arcos

My Sherry explorations continue, and recently I alighted upon (metaphorically that is, literally would have been painful) a good value everyday drinking Sherry from Lustau called Los Arcos.

15.05.13. 16:49

What Erasmus says on Bordeaux 2013

“Taken out of context I must seem so strange” sang Ani DiFranco in Fire Door, the ninth track on her debut album released in 1990 on her own record label, which she set up at the age of eighteen.

15.05.08. 11:10

Checking in on . . . Minna Vineyard Blanc 2011

A momentary diversion from the Loire and Bordeaux now, as I check in on the latest vintage of the Minna Vineyard Blanc, which is the 2011.

15.05.07. 17:08

Primeurs Blind Tasting: Who Ends up Blind?

As I noted in yesterday’s blog post, this week I have been judging in the 2015 Decanter World Wine Awards. This is a huge tasting open to all-comers, with – if memory serves me correctly – 16,000 wines submitted this year.

15.05.01. 08:34 a Facebookon is

Gasztro hirfolyam

Világevő, 16.07.20. 21:12

Jön egy székely és egy magyar külföldről Budapestre...

A vicc folytatása szerencsére az, hogy itt meg is állapodnak, és aztán nagyon egyéni, különleges és főleg laza és mégis magas színvonalú ételeket főznek a megújult Babelben.[...] Bővebben!

Világevő, 16.07.19. 19:33

Szombaton lesz a talán legjobb balatoni program!

Tavaly ott voltam az első Bohém Légyotton, és nem túlzás azt állítani, hogy egy hihetetlenül hangulatos programról van szó, finom borokkal, jó hangulattal, nagyon normális emberekkel egy fantasztikus helyen...

Limara péksége, 16.07.17. 17:43

Amerikai almáspite

A kedvenc pitém. Vaníilia fagyival verhetetlen.A piacon gyönyörű, zöld színű nyári almákat kaptam, talán fontosalmának nevezik, de ebben nem vagyok biztos. Savanykás, az tuti.

Chili és Vanília, 16.07.15. 20:15

Egyben sült csirke nyári céklákkal

Vasárnap délelőtt, lassan ébredezik a város, a Tűzoltó utcai kézműves söröző udvarán azonban már korán reggel nagy az izgalom.

A bűvös szakács, 16.07.05. 09:41

Iskolatáska teszt

Nyakunkon az iskolakezdés. Ilyenkor minden szülőnél felmerül a kérdés, milyen szempontok alapján válasszon iskolaszereket a gyermeknek.

Chili és Vanília, 16.07.04. 09:21

Sütés nélküli sajttorta csatos üvegben

A Nők Lapja mostani számában amerikai ihletésű recepteket találtok tőlem: hamburger tépett sertéshússal, nyári lazacleves csöves kukoricával, ragacsos, csípős csirkeszárny, többek között.

Limara péksége, 16.06.29. 14:19

Ropogós sajtgolyók

Számtalanszor hallom az ismerősöktől, hogy imádom a rántott sajtot, de nem készítek, mert annyira macerás.

ZIPP legfrissebb cikkek