Showing posts from 2018
A Vintage Year Part 2. Those of you with memories that go back as far as last September will know that I wrote in The Leveller about the potential for the 2018 English harvest and I’m glad to say, it seems that potential has been realised. You are never quite sure how things will turn out until you taste the finished wine but, winemakers with much longer memories than me are saying that it’s the best harvest that they have known in this country. What makes it great is that we got quantity and quality, anybody that was here on harvest day will attest that the grapes tasted amazing with real intensity of flavour.  One question is, where will all this English wine go. The answer is that the big producers have been having to hold back on sales as they just haven’t had the stock and so this will allow them to grow both here and in particular, in North America which as a huge appetite for what we’re doing.  The futures bright and the future's fizzy!

Wine Tip of the month. I think that I wri…
A Winemaker’s best friend.
Here we are in December and the year has flown by! It must be something to do with getting older as it seems like only weeks ago that we were planning our vineyard work and wine making for the year. It’s a nice time for us, the wine is safely in tank and the vineyard is  completely dormant and so we have winter pruning to look forward to in the new year but for now, it’s a chance to sit on the sofa in front of the fire. We do have one vital task though , recruiting a new vineyard dog.
Our dog Fred arrived one week before we planted the vineyard. He was just a year old and we were already his fourth owners. It wasn’t his fault, he was just a regular energetic young Labrador but through circumstance he was shuffled around between people and was completely untrained. Like all great dogs, he quickly became part of the family regularly entertaining visitors and stealing our thunder during vineyard tours. Sadly we lost him after a short illness in the summer and so…
The positive vibe around 2018 got me to thinking about  the word vintage.  Its literal meaning  is the wine of a single year as opposed to a blend of various harvests. This is how we use it in the trade but, it also has a positive connotation as being applied to something of exceptional quality.  Largely this comes from wines like Champagne and Port where the regular products are blends and traditionally they only made wine from a single vintage in the really good years.  One thing that you do see is that when you get a really great vintage in one place, news spreads and people assume that it applies to all regions. When I first started in the  business we were selling the truly wonderful 1982 Bordeaux  and on the back of it, demand for 1982 Burgundy increased despite them making pretty thin and dilute wines. In hot countries there is less variation in climate and so less variation between vintages and there’s a case for saying that due to global warming, the same is starting to happen…
Snobs and Bores. Snob noun a person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people.
Bore noun one that causes weariness and restlessness through lack of interest one that causes boredom: such as a dull or tiresome person
There’s nothing worse than a wine snob unless, it’s a wine bore. The difficulty is, I think I may be one of them. I’m generally pretty happy with a glass of anything made from fermented grapes. It could be a nice cold  Wolf Blass Chardonnay costing six quid in Tescos  or a poncey Bordeaux Chateau that’s been lovingly stored for a decade just waiting for the perfect moment to be poured. The only thing that matters is that it’s a good drink. My problem ( lies on couch and stares at the ink blot on the wall) is that having spent a quarter of a century buying, selling and making the stuff, I have retained an abnormally large amount of information about booze with the emphasis on abnormal!  So, here’s some advice. If you see me and ask …