The wines of Chile

How does a vine gets the nutrients it needs?

In my last post Mineral muddle, I wrote about Alex Maltman’s new book on geology, soils and the vine. His main concerns are geology and soils. But along the way he explains how a vine gets the nutrients it needs. Reading this book reminded me that these basic processes are rarely explained outside of scientific circles.

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Line up

Final week before MW exams

MW exams loom. What does the MW student do in the final week before re-sitting the tasting exam?  Three papers of two hours and 15 minutes each, 36 wines in total to be discussed in detail, all served blind.  The task is to discuss their origin, the varieties they are made from, how they were made,

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La Chapelle 2

Grand Syrah tasting

In June 2016 Andover Wine Friends were treated to a great line up of single varietal Syrah wines.  It was fairly comprehensive (with apologies to N America) and showed what good  wines are being made a range of price levels.  We finished the evening with two older wines, one of them truly outstanding.  I tasted

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L Sbrocco, Y Shi, J Thomson, D Gleave

Sauvignon 2016 insights

The timing of my Family of Twelve scholarship was finally determined by the dates of the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration which was held in Marlborough on the first three days of February 2016.  Fully subscribed at over 300 delegates this brought together speakers and wine makers from around the world with a substantial Kiwi presence.  Billed

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Cutting edge S America

What are your expectations of medium to high-end Chilean, Argentine and Uruguayan wines?  The tick list would probably include: powerful fruit expression, high level of ripeness, high alcohol and devotion to new French oak barriques.  From a very select group of South American producers, the Institute of Masters of Wine’s Cutting Edge South American wines

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Merlot night

Merlot fest

Our local blind tasting group, at my request, focused last night on Merlot. Why? Because I find it more difficult to detect than the Cabernets or even Syrah, which I also find a bit of a puzzle.  We had a good line up – seven wines, six of which I would be happy to drink

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Essi’s sparkling world tour

Hot foot from visiting 30 wine regions for her major revision of Christie’s Encylopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine, Essi Avellan MW introduces 16 traditional-method sparkling wines. What she showed was how many places – including some very surprising locations – where the high quality sparkling wine is being made.  Please excuse any minor errors –

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Casa Marin

South America disappoints

There is a random element to Overton’s blind tasting group – the wines that is, not the people to whom I could devote many pages on this blog!  The idea is that each of us, 6-12 people, bring an impressive bottle which we taste without knowing what it is.  Inevitably that means that sometimes, actually

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Signature grapes of South America

It may come as something of a surprise but  South America is the second highest wine-producing continent, after Europe.  It has some strong home markets (especially Argentina) and big exports from Argentina to north America and from Chile to the UK.  But does it offer something distinctive? Do each of the main producing countries have

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Chardonnay and Chinon … twice?

If seven people were independently to choose a bottle of quality wine from their own collections and bring them to a blind tasting what is the chance of them bringing similar wines?  That two people brought Chardonnay was perhaps not surprising, even if both examples were from the new world. But in the same tasting,

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