(Journal) Mistral Wine Bar and Shop Now Open

We've spent the last few months working on a former wig and hair extensions shop on the historic rows of Chester to create Mistral, a cosy little wine bar and shop specialising in small grower wines from independent producers.Here's a few photos of how it all came together. A »

(Journal) On the road in the Douro - part 2

A rather delicate start....We picked up the car and headed out of Oporto, driving inland along the river towards Peso da Régua, up to Vila Real, as far as Cima Corgo and then south towards  de the famous wine producing towns of Folgosa and Pinhão. For anyone who hasn't »

(Journal) On the road in the Douro - Part 1

I do qutie a bit of travelling in the name of promoting my various wine projects and while it seems like a life of fancy labels, great food and endless social occaisions, I can tell you the job is harder than it looks. Ahem...Every now and then a holiday »

(Journal) Dinner at La table de Chaintré

I really must say a few things about dinner at La table de Chaintré in the heart of Pouilly-Fuissé - very, very goodSébastien Grospellier's sincere and authentic cooking has earned a michelin star. His passion for flavours and their evocative staging sees him pull together a fabulous seasonal menu.The »

Some thoughts on judging in Bulgaria

Last week I found myself back in Plovdiv, a guest of the Union of Bulgarian oenologists and a skeptical voice on the development of Bulgarian wines over the last few years. The purpose was to help decide, under OIV conditions, which local varieties should be awarded medals and trophies at »

(Journal) On the road in Soave, Bardolino and Gambellara

December is not usually the time to head back to the continent and start dipping into wine regions. There's normally far too much festive madness in the air to spare the time. But, a charming invitation to escape landed from Sutdio Cru in Vicenza - a few days to discover »

Glass of Bubbly no. 2 - Autumnal reflections on vintage Champagne

With the changing of the clocks and the crack of fireworks behind us we are on the home straight towards festive chaos and all the wonderful vinous delights that the silly season entails. Yet the romantic in me still enjoys pairing wines with the weather, and in the final days »

Glass of Bubbly no. 1 - Palaces and Aglianico

Last month I found myself representing Basilicata's highly regarded Cantine del Notaio at Blenheim Palace's literature, film and music festival gala dinner. Indeed!! Now one might have expected the early evening flutes of fizz to carry something as grandiose as their impressive surroundings, perhaps bubbles from a Grand Cru village »