Wine on the Rhine

It was a sunny lunchtime but I was trapped in a dark, underground state-cellar with 150, aged Australians. After an average meal, I was forced to clap and sing to cheesy songs (think ‘Que Sera Sera’) by a strutting, lederhosen clad, German blonde-bombshell who appeared to think he was Mick … Continue reading

Wine of The Month – September 2013

September means back-to-school time – not quite the end of the summer weather, but neither yet fully autumnal. It is the start of a gentle slide into gradually cooler weather, shorter days and general decline. But with an Indian Summer still a distinct possibility, we need a range of wines … Continue reading

Gentilini Wines, Kefalonia – Greece

Kefalonia’s Gentilini family, originally from Italy, traces its arrival on the Greek island back to the 1520s; several centuries later, in the early 20th century, the last Gentilini married a Kosmetatos and the name died out. Marianna Kosmetatos, a direct descendent of the Gentilini-Kosmetatos line, is the current owner and … Continue reading

Wine of The Month – July 2013

July – the height of summer before the August break. Or at least that’s what we hope for; picnics and garden parties, lazy summer Sundays and long evenings, barbecues and salads. Summer foods are lighter and we need wines to match – this means generally whites, with the odd barbecue … Continue reading

A Most Particular Taste: Haut-Brion 350 Years Celebration Dinner

On April 10th 1663, diarist, Cambridge-graduate and upwardly-mobile man-about-town, Samuel Pepys wrote to have “drank a sort of French wine called Ho Bryen that hath a good and most particular taste I never met with”, thereby inventing the tasting note. Haut-Brion, the only Bordeaux first growth based outside the Medoc, was … Continue reading

Two Wines from Dopff & Irion, Alsace

Dopff & Irion is based in the beautiful village of Riquewihr in Franco-Germanic Alsace; the vineyards are now four estates, created by René Dopff in 1945: Les Murailles, Les Sorcières, Les Maquisards and Les Amandiers, each with a single variety planted. The domaine sent me two wines to review: they make … Continue reading

Ramon Bilbao Dinner at Cambridge Hotel du Vin

It’s not often you get to try a completely new appellation of wine – the Ramon Bilbao NV Mar de Frades Albariño Rías Baixas Brut Nature, the first-ever sparkling Albarino from Rias Baxas, was presented by Carlos Delage at Cambridge Hotel du Vin at a Ramon Bilbao dinner. Over canapes … Continue reading

La Cave des Vignerons de Pfaffenheim – Alsace

Dating back to 1957, La Cave des Vignerons de Pfaffenheim is a co-operative of 230 growers based in the sunnier, warmer part of southern Alsace that typically produces riper, fuller wines. Alsace, with its Germanic heritage, generally produces single-variety wines labelled as such – these two wines, however, are blends … Continue reading

Wine of the Month – February 2013

Wine of the Month took a de-tox break in January, but with those New Year’s Resolutions now merely a distant memory and half a drinks cabinet of various whiskies from Burns Night waiting to be finished off, it’s time to turn our thoughts to February and Valentine’s Day. Call me … Continue reading

Wine of the Month – December

Christmas has its origins as a midwinter festival – a time of communal celebration and feasting to mark the half-way point in the winter calendar. It’s surely no coincidence that both the Gregorian calendar and the Christian church follow pagan customs in marking out mid-winter as a notable time. In … Continue reading

Wine of the Month – November (And a Wine to Drink Out)

This article also appears on CambridgeWineBlogger On the cusp of autumn and winter, November is a month for warming spicy reds, maybe still with a bit of autumnal mellow fruitfulness. Bright days after clear nights bring misty mornings with a watery sun hanging low in the sky, golden russet hues … Continue reading

Wine of the Month – September

After an August break during which the CWB household travelled to Burgundy and the south of France, we returned to a cold, wet and miserable late British “summer”. Now, with the schools just back, that seems like a distant memory with temperatures rising and a barbecue Indian Summer in the … Continue reading

Wine of the Month – July (and a Pie on the Side)

Now that Wine of the Month is into its second year, I thought it might be interesting to start mixing things up a little by adding a matching food element – and a competition. Whilst Cambridge may still not be a great dining-out city (due in part to the large numbers … Continue reading

Joseph Barnes Wines at Cambridge Food and Wine Society

The Languedoc, according Charles Hardcastle of Joseph Barnes Wines, is a rustic, peasanty land with an ancient and bloody history – a land of impenetrable dialects, heresy and repression. The strange, earthy character of the region is also reflected in the wines, which tend towards an expressively rustic, spicy charm. … Continue reading

Tour de Belfort: The Challenge‏ (and an offer)

The other week, I met Muriel Lismonde who, with her family, runs Tour de Belfort, a start-up winery in Cahors. The Background The project started when Muriel’s father sold the his Paris-based business and used the proceeds to buy a ruin and some land in the village of Quercy. I … Continue reading