There comes a time when you start to believe that the best bottles of wine in your life may well be behind you. This is not a morbid realisation, but an acknowledgement that part of the charm of one’s wine education is the many taste-epiphanies that combine to form our respective wine philosophies and that […]

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I’m getting itchy palms. This denotes a new chirpsome, cheapsome wine with impeccable winemaking credentials. The Ozzies call Sauvignon Sav or Savvy B, and make Semillon rhyme with chameleon. Sem, usually harvested early as per Hunter Valley, can be the lean green ugly-duckling-machine that metamorphoses into a form of swan with time and may convey […]

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Topping up the Georgians

January 20, 2020

It is a truth universally acknowledged that we’ve had a love affair with Georgia for the past few years, and over a decade ago became one of the first companies to seriously focus on importing wines from artisan growers to sell into restaurants and bars. Georgia itself is now firmly on everyone’s wine map – […]

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Doug decants: The Wines of Domaine des Cavarodes

January 7, 2020

Over the years, many of our wineries in the Jura region have acquired quasi-cult status. It is not something that we care about, because we play the wine rather than the personality. Nevertheless, when a grower becomes renowned, it does have a commercial effect on us. The wines are inevitably scarcer, the demand is higher […]

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Thoughts for the New Year on Biodynamics and Natural Wine

January 7, 2020

I was recently in Austria and met and talked to a lot of growers who have become clear about how biodynamics is positively shaping their wines. Of course, winemaking plays its part, but in many cases, it is about making the connection between the wine, the winemaking, the fruit and the farming. It sounds simple, […]

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To hell with dry January. Drink less, drink better. And Happy New Year.

January 7, 2020

What do we do in the dog days of January? First of all, we should bemoan the fact that anyone might be participating in (or considering) dry January. Balance in all things, by all means, and it is always good to give one’s overwrought palate a rest, but symbolic gestures need to be translated into […]

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Les Caves de Beer-ene

December 11, 2019

The Byrensters have had a charmless life when it comes to sourcing the suitable suds. In The History of an Unusual Wine Company in 10.5 Chapters I described our search for a fabulous Basque beer called Ackerbelz, which turned out to be less than enchanting when it made the long journey to London. It became […]

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Doug Decants: Glou and Superglou

December 11, 2019

Bojo Nouveau day has been and gone, trailing clouds of carbo, so we thought we would say that a glou wine (not a glühwein) is not just for a Thursday in the third week of November, but a wine for all time and any occasion. True, there’s glou and there’s glou. The former will undergo […]

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An Essay on Natural Wine: Part One

December 9, 2019

Attitudes to natural wine are similar to hard-wired attitudes towards Brexit. People don’t want to listen to substantive and nuanced arguments or to understand that its increasing popularity in historical attitudes to culture and farming. To followers of the wines, espousing a natural wine credo is an assertion of cultural identity. Natural wine has become […]

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Attack of the Killer Bots and Other Sweet Things

November 26, 2019

I rarely write about sweet wines, because, in all honesty, I rarely drink sweet wines. I find them interesting, rather than loveable, although perhaps my love of wine is the desire to drink it, rather than sip thoughtfully and sweet wines are less neckable and more nectar-full. As with all wines, balance is the key […]

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