Recommending English still wines

Pinot Noir in Essex?! Pinotage in Sussex?! It's all happening in English still wine at the moment. The sparkling wines of the UK go from strength to strength - and now they are being joined by a raft of still wines rapidly gaining critical mass and...

Susie’s The Food Programme on English wine

It was a fascinating experience putting together my recent BBC Radio 4 documentary The Wine Detectives, on how wine fraud is affecting (and being combatted by) top wine producers and buyers. Radio is such a brilliant medium for wine. So personal and evocative - almost meditative,...

Flint Vineyard Bacchus 2017

Flint Vineyard Bacchus 2017, 11.5% (£15.99 from the winery or £16.95 at BBR) The 2018 vintage will be a game-changer for many reasons in English and Welsh wine. This was the joint warmest summer on record, with beautiful weather from June to August, and then a very gentle...

Age and top South American reds

Is old wine better than young wine? It’s a common question. And the answer is, as ever, a qualified one: it depends. Largely, it depends on your preferences. Which do you prefer? The freshness and firmness of youth? Or the smoothness and so-called secondary or tertiary characters...

Adnams Riesling 9%

Adnams Riesling 9% (£9.99, Adnams) ‘Seriously, what’s the point of wine with no alcohol in it?!’ Such was the reaction of a good friend when we told her we’d been doing a tasting of low-and-no-alcohol drinks. (The category is known in the industry as ‘low-and-no’.) On one level, the...

Cà dei Frati Rosa dei Frati 2017

Cà dei Frati Rosa dei Frati 2017, Lombary, Italy, 13% (c. £15, independents) I gave a bottle of rosé to a friend recently. He took one look and almost gave it straight back. ‘That’s not real wine, is it?!’ he exclaimed. ‘I mean, it looks like it’s a...

Chilean Sauvignon Blanc on the Rack

Was this the worst Decanter panel tasting ever? Maybe that's over-stating things a bit. It certainly was heroically underwhelming. Dispiriting, even. Of 62 Chilean Sauvignon Blancs from £8-30, only 10 wines broached the 90-point threshold. More than half scored a lacklustre 85 points or less. No 'Exceptional' wines....

Viticultural Paradise Lost

'A viticultural paradise.' That was how some people used to refer to Chile. A country whose vineyards were refreshed by pure Andean melt-water, free from pests and diseases that afflicted other less wholesome nations, and where all vintages were bountiful and even. These days, reality is catching...

Chateau de Bel Franc de Bel NV

Chateau de Bel Franc de Bel NV, Bordeaux, France £23.90-29, Jaded Palates, Queen's Park Wines or via Wine Searcher  This is Bordeaux, but not as we know it. Olivier Cazenave has a broad smile and big ambitions. He's going against the grain in Bordeaux, one of the most...