December 2018 – Amber Nectar From Italy

John Ducker writes:- Amber nectar for Christmas?   I’m suggesting that of the world’s many dessert wines and ‘stickies’ Tuscany’s time-honoured Vin Santo could be a candidate, basically a wine produced from grapes that have been dried on straw mats.     That rather bald description is deficient is several respects however, as the wine styled either as [...]

November 2018 – Warming Rhône-style Australian Red

John Ducker writes:- Chilly November suggests a wine choice to warm the cockles of the heart, and I’ve lighted on an outstanding candidate, available from Marks & Spencers and made by one of Australia’s renowned maverick winemakers, David Powell, based in the Barossa Valley. Marananga Dam 2016 – a red Rhône lookalike. Larger-than-life David Powell [...]

October 2018 – A Fragrant Dry Red From Tuscany

John Ducker writes:- Just as a follow-up to my review last month of the New Zealand Pinot Gris, ‘Paikea’, I must mention a fellow contender from the same grape variety as a well-nigh perfect accompaniment to oriental food.   A taste-tingling experience encountered recently and jointly across a set meal taking in a selection of classic [...]

September 2018 – A Subtle Spicy Pinot Grigio From New Zealand

John Ducker writes:- Make no mistake, your writer has not gone off the boil in suggesting a wine choice which from its production history could be accused of being arguably less individual than the usual candidates for this column and therefore less worthwhile. Far from it. ‘Paikea’ East Coast Pinot Grigio 2017 from New Zealand [...]

August 2018 – Germany – Nahe – A Crisp Dry White Made From Riesling

  John Ducker writes:- Having an interest in wine/food pairing, I was having lunch the other day at a more than reputable restaurant at which I’d placed an order for a main course involving Cornish John Dory – a superbly well-fleshed fishy denizen of the waters thereabouts. My automatic wine-match thoughts went immediately to ‘crisp [...]

July 2018 – Blue Skies Drinking – A Crisp Dry White From Italy + Recipe

John Ducker writes:- I am always attracted to the wine-styles of Italy’s northern provinces and I was more than delighted to have been presented recently with a real ‘find’ – added to which a wine grape variety I had certainly heard of but don’t recall ever having sampled before - the crisp white Ribolla Gialla. [...]

June 2018 – Horses For Courses – Greco di Tufo – A Full-Flavoured Dry White Wine From Italy

John Ducker writes:- My wine choice for June reflects something of the unusual heat that the strangely capricious British May left in its wake.   A wine, and a grape variety with a very ancient pedigree bestowed by the ancient Greeks upon southern Italy.   Their establishment of viticulture many centuries ago in the regions of Puglia, [...]

May 2018 – Petit Verdot From Northern Portugal

You’ve heard the apocryphal story about the singer in the back row of the chorus suddenly being picked out to sing a solo centre stage?   It so happens with some wine grapes too.   Take Petit Verdot, for instance. Where casting for a blend is concerned this grape variety has long been one of the most [...]

April 2018 – A Crisp White From Southern Portugal + Recipe

As a token of optimism that April will turn out to be spring-like rather than springing yet more sub-zero surprises on us all I’m proposing a round-flavoured but crisp white wine from the sunny Terras do Sado in southern Portugal as my wine choice for the month. A perfect match both for white meats and [...]

March 2018 – Blanquette de Limoux – A Great Méthode Traditionelle Sparkler

My searches across the past, now distant, festive season for ‘affordable’ sparklers took me quite beyond the welter of lower-priced Champagnes (possibly risky), Prosecco, Cava etc. towards a happy re-discovery of a relative rarity on wine merchants’ shelves: sparkling Blanquette de Limoux. Based principally on the gently rustic Mauzac grapes grown locally in the Languedoc, the history of the original wine is said to stretch back as far as the mid 16th century, although more modern techniques now come into play in its commercial production. Read More...