Author Archives for Colin

Wines of Argentina

Argentina has been the focus of my studies over the past 2 weeks or so. I may have passed my geography exams at school, but I would have been hard pressed to accurately locate it on a map of South America until recently. When you do learn a bit more about its geography, it explains […]

Napa Valley and Terroir

I attended a great seminar last week run by the Napa Valley Vintners Association and organised by the Institute of Masters of Wine. It was entitled Napa Valley terroir. Now terroir is something us European wine lovers are led to believe is an Old World concept shunned by some parts of the New World. This […]

Wine and Golf

The impending publication of a yet another wine book has set me thinking of the similarities between wine and golf. Bear with me as there are similarities and I don’t think it’s just a personal view.
I’ve been a keen golfer all my life (well, I am a Scot) and have acquired quite a collection of […]

Food and Wine Matching in Context

I had a lunch the other day which was very enjoyable – great food, good wine, stunning location, nice views and pleasant company – and it set me thinking about the pairing of food and wine. There is a lot written about the importance of matching food and wine and there are many web sites […]

Wines of Morocco

I’ve just got back from a week in the very South of Morocco and was surprised to see a number of local wines readily available. Subsequent research in the Oxford Companion to Wine shows that of all the North African countries, Morocco probably has the greatest potential for producing good quality wine. Having tasted a […]

Working hard but having fun

I’m working hard at my studying for the WSET Diploma but I’m also enjoying myself.
The hard work comes from having 600 hours of studying over a 2 year period. If you break that down, that’s around 6 hours per week so just like a full day. I’m fortunate in that I’m only working 3 days […]

How important is the vintage?

Does it bother you when you don’t get the vintage you ordered in a restaurant? What I’m describing is the situation where the list names the wine, gives a decent description and then the vintage and the price but there is no caveat at the bottom along the lines of “we reserve the right to […]

There’s no Grenache in my cellar

A gentle second reminder from our leader Andrew, and an embarassing realisation that I was one of the few regular contributors not to have written something for Great Grape Day, sent me scurrying off to my cellar (ie: the garage) to seek out some Grenache to taste. Of the 150 or so wines, I found […]

Chianti Classico

I helped out at a trade event this week which was all about Chianti Classico. It was held at the Dali Museum in London, quite a “surreal” location for a wine event. There were 37 tables all devoted to Chianti Classico plus a table of 1997 vintages and a Masterclass.
It was a wonderful opportunity to […]

Chateau Lascombes 1999 Margaux

I’ve been saving this bottle for a special occasion but every time I’ve looked at my wine rack, I’ve seen it hiding in the corner and been tempted just to open and savour it. It’s not often I get a good Bordeaux to try as they are the kind of money I don’t usually spend […]


I was given my first book about wine when I was around 25. Maybe it was to encourage me to go and buy some wine rather than make it from one of the home winemaking kits readily available in the 70's. However it sparked a lifelong interest in the subject for me. I now find myself almost 3 decades later sitting the WSET Diploma, 2 years of reading and tasting. I love it. It teaches me about history, geography, botany, chemistry, geology, culture and of course exposes my smell and taste senses to some wonderful experiences. I've also met some interesting people and enjoyed the common language of wine and food between like minded people.