Victorian Values

With the global vineyard area planted to Marsanne currently as marginal as was that of Viognier (its northern Rhône cousin) twenty years ago, Tahbilk is unique in having both the largest single holding of this variety as well as being the guardian of some of its oldest vines. Hence the "1927 Vines" epithet. Contrary to the views of many winemakers whose prestige cuvées are produced from super ripe grapes and are lavished with every luxury at their disposal, the approach at Tahbilk is positively ascetic in comparison.

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Golden Virginia

All fifty American states now produce wine, but 95% of it comes from only four of them. California is by far the most prolific state and it is responsible for five times more wine than the output of the next three combined: Washington, Oregon and New York. Of the other states, Texas and then Virginia are the fifth and sixth largest wine producers respectively.

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Small, But Perfectly Formed

Until a few weeks ago when an invitation to a tasting landed in my inbox, I’m sorry to say that I hadn’t actually heard of Folding Hill vineyard in Central Otago. To their immense credit, Kate and her team at Reserve Wines have stocked Folding Hill’s wines ever since the release of its very first vintage, and I for one know better than to question the judgement of Kate’s palate.

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West Country Alchemy

My brother, Rick Morris Pushinsky, was recently commissioned to photograph Julian Temperley and his master distiller Tim Edwards at Pass Vale Farm at the foot of Burrow Hill in Somerset. This is the home of the Somerset Distillery, where cider has been produced from apples grown in its orchards for over 150 years and where cider has been distilled into brandy since Temperley finally managed to obtain a license from HM Customs and Excise in 1989.

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Sugar And Spice And All Things Rice

Saké. Everyone knows what it is. It’s Japanese rice wine, right? Well, that’s only partly correct. It is actually closer to a beer than to a wine in its method of production, and its range of styles and its combinations of savoury and sweet flavours make it ideal to drink with food.

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Praising The Raisining

Run by the Boscaini family - for the last fifty or so years headed by Sandro Boscaini, a.k.a. “Mister Amarone” – Masi’s list of achievements rightly sets it apart as one of the most successful and important winemaking dynasties in the Veneto.

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Unreserved Pleasure

The annual carnival of mercenary hype is upon us once again and, as usual, my heart is filled with lament at the prospect of ever greater numbers of lovely wines rendered unaffordable by joyless speculation and hoarding. As good a time as any, then, to open a bottle of Bordeaux bought in slightly less cynical times when a reasonable amount of wine was still bought to drink rather than to resell.

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Greece Is The Word

Whilst I was waiting for Cecilia Pasqua to take the stage at Hanging Ditch the other week (see More From The Veneto), I couldn’t help but spend my time perusing the shelves. It wasn’t long before my eyes lit upon an old favourite of mine: Gaia Wine’s Thalassitis (2011, 13% ABV), a wine I had not drunk since the long-forgotten halcyon days when Oddbins had the audacity to offer a large selection of (mostly) very good Greek wines.

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More From The Veneto

After working your way through my last blog post, you’ve possibly heard enough about the Veneto and its wines from me for the time being. I’m sorry for any repetition, but I wasn’t going to pass up the recent opportunity to taste the wines of Azienda Agricola Cecilia Beretta; particularly as I only had to travel as far as Hanging Ditch to do it.

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That's Amarone

One of the funny things about the creative process, at least as far as we left-brainers are concerned, is that what you end up with can often bear little resemblance to that which you set out to create. The travelling is more important than the arriving; the artistic endeavour more significant than the resulting artwork. Even more bafflingly, this is perfectly acceptable. Try to run a business that way and see what happens.

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Festive Cheers

As usual, the run-up to Christmas was a prolonged period of pandemonium at work and so, by the time the holidays eventually arrived, all plans of elaborate meals and fine wines had been abandoned in favour of simpler family favourites. That’s not to say I didn’t open a couple of reasonable bottles, but only so I had something to write about, you understand.

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An Indescribable Folly

This may not be the finest piece of writing on my blog, indeed I haven't actually written most of it, but even voices as eloquent as those of Jancis Robinson MW and Hugh Johnson OBE barely begin to convey the concentration of narrow minded, short sighted and thoughtless decision making involved in the €270 million folly that is the Hochmoselübergang (Upper Mosel Crossing).

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Floyd On Food

“Greetings, fellow gastronauts.”

That was the familiar salutation of the much-missed Francophile gourmet, Keith Floyd. Whilst he undoubtedly had his demons to face, his knowledge and love of food and wine were an inspiration to me when I was young and his straight talking approach was a blessed relief from the insipid inanity of most other television cooks of the time.

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Far From A Fiasco

The importance of Marchesi Piero Antinori’s contribution to Tuscan wine specifically, to Italian wine generally and to the standing of both in the wider world of wine cannot easily be overstated. The figures make impressive enough reading on their own: Piero is the 26th generation of a family whose unbroken winemaking provenance dates back to 1385…

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