Site Archives France

Sauternes and Barsac


I helped out at a trade event in London devoted to Sauternes and Barsac the other week. Entitled “Sweeties with Savouries” it set out to show how both Sauternes and Barsac can be drunk not only with the usual foie gras and desserts but also with all the courses of a complete meal. With courses […]

A Toast to England


While many people know that Champagne is a sparkling wine, frequently, people are unaware that not all sparkling wines are Champagne. Champagne is a special region in northeast France, where the climate, soils, grape varieties, viticultural practices and vinification methods make it an ideal place to create a world class sparkler. While there are certainly […]

Assessing Alsace and Its Expressive Wines


Situated in the North-east of France, the wines of Alsace are particularly noted as being expressive of the grapes from which they are made. This is due to several factors that work in harmony to preserve the varietal characteristics of these wines. More specifically, the confluence of grape variety, climate/terroir, viticulture and vinification conspire to […]

Remember, Remember the Third Thursday of November


Not quite as poetic as Guy Fawkes day, but, the third Thursday of every November sees the release of Beaujolais Nouveau (as well as the race on every group authored wine blog to get the first post on the wine) to the world.
First, a little backstory. I have a fond place in my heart for […]

Wine co-operatives


Did you know that around 30% of German wine is produced by co-operatives? And despite co-ops being seen to be typically French or Italian, they exist in South Africa and Australia? And did you know that one of the largest co-ops in Europe has 1,000 growers tending 10,000 hectares producing 600,000 hectolitres in a typical […]

Putting On A Wine Party


… or “How To Host A Wine Party The Wrong Way With The Right Results”

My wife and I decided during our first year of marriage (4 1/2 years ago now) that we wanted to have a wine tasting party. We started off with a few friends, each bringing a couple of bottles to share, some […]

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 […]

A Roussanne Blend - Château Val Joanis


For a merchant marketed as a French specialist the range in my local Nicolas was very disappointing. It’s an ex-Oddbins branch converted earlier this year. Comparing the range stocked between the two (they both have the same parent company) couldn’t been more marked. Oddbins has hundreds of wines; now the shelves seem very sparse.
Just a few wines […]

Welcome To Great Grape Day!


As summer is heavily upon us, and seeing those high 80 degree temperatures upon us every day, it was a pleasure seeking out our Great Grape Day wine this month.  Roussanne & Marsanne Grapes are on our plate this month and spending time in the nice cool air conditioned wine store on my adventure was […]

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 […]