It is truth universally acknowledged but rarely articulated in the trade that a systematic one-size-fits-all % increase is grossly unfair and penalises adventurous drinking. Not only it is counter-intuitive as a business practice, it also sets a lousy precedent. Margins in restaurants have actually increased (dis)proportionately over the last twenty years as wine is viewed […]


As the crazy people of the UK were voting to row away from our continental cousin, we were scouring their vineyards for more goodies. At least if we are going to be stranded on this island we would have gone some way towards shoring against our ruin with some vinous fragments. The politicians may have […]


Nuggetorials #3: Restaurant reviews and Cooking with sulphur

November 28, 2016

Restaurant Reviews and the curious case of the missing wine: One might imagine that food and wine were mutually inclusive when describing an experience in a restaurant. If you were spending £30 upwards on a bottle you might think it’s worth having a flicker of a shadow of an opinion about what you’re laying out […]

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Nuggetorials #2: Food and wine rules – Not OK

November 22, 2016

An example of early food and wine matching advice from a wine merchant in (the caves of) Lascaux: Bison with white wine, Mastodon with red wine. –Oberon Kant’s Big Book of Wine Wines may have certain intrinsic properties, but different people are not all equally responsive to the same tastes and textures. Wine, after all, […]

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Intimations of Wine Immortality: A Fantastic Five of Rare Wine Beasts

November 18, 2016

There are wines which are so rare because to make them requires nature to smile on the vineyard and for the vigneron still to feel that the quality of the wine justifies a specific micro-vinification of the grapes. These are the unicorns, the hens’ teeth, the unicorns’ teeth, even. Their beauty arises from their singularity; […]

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Nuggetorials #1: The banality of wine language

November 15, 2016

Could the language of wine commerce be any more banal? No, it really couldn’t. From “gatekeepers” through “channel management” to “segmentation” and all those other banal buzzwords bombinating in the Pandora’s box of verbal flimflam, obfuscating marketing clichés have infected and debased our language. “Ours is the age of substitutes: instead of language, we have jargon: […]

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Doug Decants: Austrian Pet Nats, Stellar Burgundy, and Amphora

November 10, 2016

  New arrivals: Fuchs und Hase Pet Nats in Three Volumes Tis the season to be petty and natty. Weingut Fuchs und Hase (Fox and Hare) is a joint project between Martin Arndorfer and Alwin Jurtschitsch in Kamptal. The idea is that each year they will release 5-6 volumes or pet nat editions. The lower […]

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November 9, 2016

Victoria Moore’s recent article in the Telegraph on oaked Sauvignon Blanc made us think that a blog post on the subject was overdue. So here’re our two cents:  Most commercial Sauvignon is harvested by machine with resultant high yields from grapes that have not reached optimum ripeness. These grapes are then put into stainless steel […]

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Real Pagne or Sham Pagne

November 3, 2016

Can there be such a thing as a natural champagne? Champagne is not only a region but a specific method of winemaking predicated on certain procedures. The main manipulation is the addition of sugars and yeast to initiate the second fermentation in the bottle. If we were to be absolute about definitions, then only a […]

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Slovenia: The Small Country with the Big Wine Culture – Part Three

November 1, 2016

Biodynamic diversions A Wreath of Sonnets, by France Preseren (one of Slovenia’s great poets): Send but your rays their glory to renew And let me not look for dawn’s light in vain In your dear face, to hold back night’s domain And calm the wildest storms that ever blew. Fall with the load of heavy […]

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