Introduction A couple of years ago I was in a San Francisco natural wine bar and proffered my card to pay my tab at the end of the evening. The young French manager looked at it and handed it back to me with a shake of his head. “I’m sorry, but I can’t accept this.” […]

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Accountants and purchase managers are employed either to protect margins or ratchet up the gps. This usually entails pressing the supplier for greater discounts, trying to prevent price rises, deferring payment and a host of sleight-of-hand clawback methods. For the true bean-counter a net strong gp is as important as a busy restaurant, because economic […]

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Wine Controversies: Wine writing about what consumers want is bunk

July 11, 2018

Each one of us is a consumer. We express our choices individually and buy we like, or what we can afford. Wine journalists – and people throughout the wine trade – invent a consumer-archetype; they may characterise (or caricature) them as “my readers” or “the paper’s readers,” or “my customers”, which not only gives them […]

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Doug Decants: Nacho Gonzalez’s La Perdida Wines

July 9, 2018

Waiting for Godello Nacho Gonzalez farms his family’s vineyard, which his grandmother had worked all her life, and is patiently restoring its vitality. He has also purchased other small plots and rents a couple more, with the total vineyard holdings comprising some 3ha – all old vines (40 yrs minimum). He released his first vintage […]

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Chatting with: Bronwen Percival of Neal’s Yard Dairy

July 9, 2018

Bronwen Percival is one of the UK’s leading cheese experts. She is Neal’s Yard Dairy‘s buyer and technical manager. She also co-authored, with her husband Francis, the book “Reinventing The Wheel – Milk, Microbes and The Fight For Real Cheese”.  Would you please give us a potted biography? I come from a dairying family: my […]

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Wine Controversies: Wine Faults versus Wine Flaws

June 28, 2018

Statement: There are discernible wine faults, there are also legitimate wine flaws. Wine cleanliness is wine godliness. This notion of the paramount important of cleanness in winemaking is inculcated at every stage in every wine course. No wonder wine professionals believe there are strict lines in the sand. On one side of the line are […]

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Wine Controversies: Do Cheap Wines Need to Exist?

June 28, 2018

Statement: Received commercial wisdom would have us believe that cheap wines are necessary to bring new consumers into the wine-buying market. The argument goes that it is patronising to tell people what constitutes good taste, when a large part of the population can only afford to buy inexpensive versions of a product. As if good […]

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Natural Wine Thoughts via Georgia

June 19, 2018

The other day I was hosting a masterclass on orange wines and opted to commence proceedings with my favourite Niels Bohr quote to the effect that “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.” So too with orange and natural wines. If they don’t physically realign the molecular structure of your […]

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Wine Labelling: The Argument in a Nutshell – Part Two

June 15, 2018

Continued from Part One… There ain’t no sanity clause? One of the problems with charters is the administrative burden that they levy on individuals. If they are to be worth a candle they have to be rigorously enforced – without fear or favour. The cost to the growers (who would presumably have to foot the […]

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Wine Labelling: The Argument in a Nutshell – Part One

June 15, 2018

The hoary chestnut roasting on today’s open fire is the thorny thicket of labelling. Part of me fantasises about serving the überinterventionist winemaker with the lengthiest of self-inflicted writs –that they must stick (or swathe) a gigantic label detailing their 100 plus additives on every bottle of wine and then discover whether people still want […]

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