Awards and citations:


1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for investdrinks.org

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award




Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Jane Anson: Wine Revolution – thw World's Best Organic, Biodynamic & Natural Wines



Jane Anson: Wine Revolution: The World's Best Organic, Biodynamic & Natural Wines, jacqui small, £25, US$35, Can $47.99

Jane Anson opens her book by citing the food revolution ushered in by the opening of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California in 1971. 

'The idea of buying locally, cooking with seasonal ingredients, supporting responsible farming has become so accepted as to barely raise an eyebrow. And yet when it comes to wine, it is still considered geeky and kind of pointless to care about the same thing. After all, aren't all grapes organically grown in a field somwhere?

Well, the short answer to that is no. Just like much of the food we eat, plenty of wine is produced for a mass audience, with shortcuts taken along the way to ensure that they taste good without costing a fortune to make.

So shouldn't we start celebrating the wine makers who buck this trend, and instead apply the Chez Panisse philosophy to their vineyards? The ones who treat their workers fairly, reduce their carbon emissions, farm without pesticides? Or those who plant hedgerows to encourage biodiversity, use grapes that are indigenous to their regions and add as little as possible during the winemaking process?

There are plenty of them out there. Aubert de Villaine, Elisabetta Foradori, Pepe Raventós, Jean-Laurent Vacheron, Olivier Humbrecht, Eloi Durrbach, Christine Vernay, Nicolas Joly, David Paxton...these are winemakers who should be talked about in the same breath as chefs like Waters, Barber and the rest. 

That's is what this book is about – a celebration of those committed, dedicated producers. If their wines are here, it is because they taste brilliant, will enhance what you are eating and provide a moment of shared happiness with whoever you are drinking them with. But they also come with a story, from people who care about authenticity, and want to preserve the land that nourishes their grapes.'

Jane dismisses the simple idea that it is just a question of small versus big. 'What's important is that each winemaker supports an idea of farming that is respectful of the future, and looks to capture a snapshot of time, place and culture in a glass of wine.

The majority of the book covers wines and producers that meet Jane's criteria. It includes organic, biodynamic, natural, orange and low intervention wines. 

The recommended wines are arranged by style: sparkling & fresh, crisp whites; wine cocktails; rich and round whites; light & sculpted reds; full and warming reds; and finally digestifs. 

The long list of photo credits include: ziolaKim Lightbody, Harry Annoni, Eric Zeziola, John Carey, Marçal Font, Rocco Ceselin and and Claude Cruells.

This is a book to help you explore and discover interesting and sometimes challenging wines.    

Monday, 11 December 2017

Vinho Verde: a greta value trio from Pingo Doce

Branco, Loureiro and Alvarinho


Here are three bargain Vinho Verde own label wines from the Pingo Doce supermarket.

Let's start with the Branco at just 1.59€ made by Carlos Teixeira. Cleanly made the Branco has 10% of alcohol with the spritz in the finish that is typical of a certain popular style of Vinho Verde. Perfectly OK without being exciting but at the price.....

The Loureiro is also made by Teixeira. This is more full-bodied than the Branco and costs just 1.99€ a bottle. Amazing value. 

Finally a a firm favourite – the Alvarinho made by Anselmo Mendes for just 3.98€. OK it is not as fine or exciting as some of Anselmo's other Vinho Verdes but this is a very decent example with some concentration. Having tried this, it is well worth exploring the rest of Anselmo's remarkable range of wines both from the Vinho Verde but also from other parts of Portugal.         

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Rabo do Pêxe: another fine dinner


2016 Dory Lisbon Regional Wine 




Last Thursday we went back to Rabo do Pêxe. We did our usual thing of choosing a few starters and then having some Sashimi and Sushi. Fortunately we had booked as Rabo continuous to be very popular.

We started with a bottle of the 2016 Dory from AdegaMãe. This is a blend of Viosinho, Alvarinho, Arinto and Viognier making a quite rich and concentrated white, while at the same time with an attractive freshness probably provided by the Arinto. It is made by Anselmo Mendes and Diogo Lopes.  

Almond coated prawns – a signature dish

Ceviche of scallops with ginger

Duck ham with pear 

Selection of Sashimi

Selection of Sushi

Having dispatched the Dory we decided to take a look at the 2014 Riesling from the same wine-making team. The 2014 Riesling is quite lean and crisp, so I couldn't decide whether I had chosen our two wines in the right order. The Riesling would have worked with the prawns and scallops but not with the duck. while the Dory could have gone with the sashimi and the sushi, although the Riesling happily paired with the raw fish. Will have to go back!     

2014 Riesling
(above and below)