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November 2015 – English Bacchus And Chardonnay

Ah, memories of those dear dead schooldays! My earliest lessons in science come flooding back in the first of my wine choices for November:   the curve between acidity and alkalinity faithfully revealed by a little scrap of litmus paper. So what have we here? A wine from Litmus, revealing Element 20 in the periodic table [...]

October 2015 – Hungarian Dry Furmint And Recipe

Come to think about it, if you were to ask most wine-drinkers to name as many Hungarian wines as possible off the top of their heads, I guess a few of them might nominate ‘Bulls Blood’ and Tokaj …. and then have to give up.   This is hardly surprising perhaps, as we are not exactly [...]

September 2015 – Pinot Gris

Here’s a surprise.   I have just read the blurb in a top wine merchant’s catalogue that their house brand of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc suggests among others the aroma - or perhaps the taste? - of ‘cordite’…..could this be a bit of a blockbuster? While I am perfectly prepared to accept this finding at [...]

August 2015 – Champagne

When the word ‘Champagne’ is uttered we normally think of it in broad terms as the ultimate celebratory wine to be brought out at weddings, Christenings, or at least at times of special achievement…. even as a blatant badge of total extravagance when shaken up and sprayed in a foamy stream over racing cars and [...]

July 2015 – Pinot Noir

John Ducker writes:- This month is a ‘compare and contrast’ featuring a couple of Pinot Noir wines grown and vinified thousands of miles apart, both of which are informed by cooler climates, though their vineyard conditions are dissimilar. Setting qualitative judgement aside – the temptation to suggest that one might have greater virtues than the [...]

Wines of the Month – May 2015

John Ducker writes:- Thanks to a recommendation by my wine educator colleague Pippa Hayward, I have been introduced to a real ‘find’ to share with you this month which, tasted blind, would immediately have had me scurrying around my wine notes on top New World Sauvignons. As it happens I needn’t bother as the month’s [...]

Wines of the Month – June 2015

John Ducker writes:- Let’s raise a glass! June starts with a classic sparkle, at least in this column, as we inspect a top class Italian ‘bubbly’ from Franciacorta in Lombardy. Franciacorta ‘I due Lari’ DOCG Brut. This wine is to be confused neither with the often delicious, airy Prosecco from the Veneto, bottled after its [...]

  • Quinta da Raza in Vinho Verde Country

Wines of the Month – April 2015

John Ducker writes:- Before embarking on this month’s wine choices let me refer you to a salutary comment I read recently that applies to everyone reviewing, writing about, or being influential in the purchasing of wine. ‘It would be good to think that wine drinkers actually purchased what they enjoyed rather than what they think [...]

Wines of the Month – March 2015

John Ducker writes:- A recent ship-board lecturing opportunity has enabled me to stop off briefly in Funchal, Madeira, hence the first of two of my wine choices for March.   Admittedly the long-established firm of Blandy’s was on the excursion trail – partly because Blandy’s doubles as the onshore shipping agents for visiting cruise liners, and [...]

  • Tokaji Furmint Dry

Tokaji Furmint Dry & Barolo DOCG Bricat

John Ducker writes: I am always keen to try a wine that is new to me, or at least I feel that I ought to have tasted across my years of enjoying and teaching wine and yet I somehow managed to miss. Lo and behold, Waitrose Cellar is offering a rarity, a fully dry white [...]