Mastering Christmas

Festive. What does that word mean to you? For some, it elicits a buzz of intense excitement. For others, it sends a chill down the spine. The majority will be somewhere in between – or both at the same time. And that includes us. Particularly this year. In...

Christmas Wine Bargains 2022

(By Peter) I took part in a blind tasting in late September 2022 for Which? magazine to find some great value sparkling and red wines for Christmas. Full results are in the magazine or the PDF below. It's quite a handy guide if you're on the lookout...

Cheval Blanc 1949

Château Cheval Blanc 1949, St Emilion  This isn't an attempt to grandstand. I was lucky enough to try this very special wine during a recent visit to 'The Fort Knox of wine', 100 feet underground in Octavian's Corsham Cellars, and I thought it would be interesting to...

‘Perky podcasters’

Gosh we haven't posted on here for a while - we blame the podcast for taking up all our time! On which note, we wanted to share the very exciting news that we've been featured in the Radio Times. Wine Blast is Show of the Week...

Lyme Bay Pinot Noir 2020

Lyme Bay Pinot Noir 2020, 12.5%, England  (from £27.99, Lyme Bay website & cellar door, Amps Fine Wines, Fareham Cellars, Tivoli, Elizabeth Rose, Wickham Wines etc) When we put this tip out via social media, someone responded along the lines of: all English Pinots taste like battery...

Why Covid Didn’t Kill Wine Shops

Here's a column I wrote for Decanter on how Covid has changed wine retail. It was based partly on my experiences chairing the Decanter Retailer Awards. Here's an excerpt: 'Far from blighting wine retail, the pandemic has created openings for a new breed of ambitious wine purveyor [...

Banks Brothers Chardonnay No 3

Banks Brothers Chardonnay No.3, 13%, Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa (13%) (£21 for three 250ml cans) We've been trying a fair few wines in so-called alternative formats recently. Including cans - like this one. And this is, without doubt, the best wine we've ever tried out of a can. It's very...

Santa Tresa Rina Russa Frappato 2019

Feudo di Santa Tresa 'Rina Russa' Frappato 2019, 13%, Sicily, Italy  (from £8.99, The Wine Society, Ocado, Vintage Roots) This is a juicy, upbeat, lighter-bodied red perfect for autumn or spring drinking. It's also amazing value for money – plus it’s organic and suitable for vegans. On the back...

Bride Valley Dorset Pinot Noir 2018

Bride Valley Pinot Noir 2018, Dorset, England, 12% (£21.50, Bride Valley) This is a sprightly, elegant red with a spring in its step, a joie de vivre and a youthful charm, all of which captures something of its proprietor, Steven Spurrier, who recently died aged 79. His passing...

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet 2016

Leeuwin Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Margaret River, Western Australia, 13.5% (£47, Stannary Wine) One of the five founding wineries of the Margaret River region back in the early 1970s, Leeuwin estate has built an enviable reputation as one of Western Australia’s leading lights. In a region famed...