“It’s amazing to me that wine is something we’ve been making for 7000 years. The juxtaposition of its complexity and simplicity is quite captivating. I love to think of each bottle as capturing a moment – that of the people, landscape and experiences that went into it. At the end of the day though, it’s all about enjoying yourself when you drink it.”
You can find lots of up to date wine articles I’ve written on Around the World in 80 Harvests and The Squeeze Magazine. Here are some other articles from my portfolio, written for different publications.
Chile is well-known for the concentration of its wine production, allowing the country to make consistent wine at competitive prices. But emerging is a new wave of boutique projects and new styles from the full length and breath of the country, resulting in original blends from little- known places. The source of such novelty is a broad range of personalities, all of whom are driven by a desire to celebrate Chile’s vinous diversity. Over the following pages is a selection of 10 winemakers to watch, each chosen for their creative and critically-acclaimed approach…
The Drinks Business, September 2014
What do you think of critics? I fucking hate critics. I am in the movie business and the wine business … Who are these people to judge what I’m doing? When I am emperor, the first people that get hanged are lawyers and critics.
Would you ever write your own wine notes? I think wine notes are bullshit. The wine changes completely over the course of dinner…
Wine-Searcher, January 2015
Where else in the world can you find glaciers, jungles, extreme deserts, and high altitude mountains all within one continent? South America is a land of extremes and even though the Spanish introduced wine over 500 years ago, it is still a new discovery to many wine drinkers worldwide. Although you might more readily associate the continent with daring bikinis, football madness and the ability to throw a good fiesta, South America is increasingly putting itself on the wine radar for high quality wines at pocket friendly prices with a bold trend towards extreme climates producing exciting wines…
Grape Collective, January 2015
For the last three weeks in Mendoza, I’ve only been drinking one variety. It’s abounding with rich, dark fruit, grows particularly well here and is on the lips of most winemakers. Can you guess what it is yet? No, it’s not Malbec. It is the new dark horse of the eighth wine capital… a sort of Batman wine lurking in the shadows of Malbec, but gradually taking front stage as Gotham – ahem – Mendoza city wakes up to its power…
Great Wine Capitals, June 2014
When wine lovers think of Argentina, it’s usually the malbec grape that springs to mind. But that could be set to change, as producers step up their promotion of the country’s lesser-known white wine, torrontes. The highly aromatic grape variety is a chameleon, and its hard-to-pin down character explains why locals call it “the liar.” Its heady aromas exude lychee, rose petals, stone fruits, jasmine and spice – tricking drinkers into…
Wine-Searcher, Dec 2012
“As you tour around large winery upon large winery you can sometimes become deluded into thinking that winemaking has to be an industrial process. Rows upon rows of enormous tanks end up looking like a fleet of steel robots and the nomadic story of a grape’s journey can sometimes get lost in translation amongst all the machinery. Making wine is actually a very natural and simple process, so simple that you can in fact do it in your bedroom…”
Wine Republic, February 2013: Page 16
I guess naively I always thought wine was very simple to make: pick some grapes, let them ferment and hey presto! You have wine. I figured it was probably discovered in some backwater farmland in Ancient Greece sometime when a forgetful farmer left his basket of picked grapes out in the sun too long and under the watchful eye of an imperturbable goat, the juice gradually turned into wine – a discovery to the delight of the Greek family that Sunday afternoon and to future wine drinkers around the world.
Wine Republic, April 2012: Page 10
“Lucas tears at the vine stalk; dry leaves crunch, stems crackle and grapes bleed under the force of his hands, but the stalk won’t snap off. The extra effort makes his tired arms shake, his bent legs cramp and another trickle of sweat roll down from his sun cap to the spine of his neck. It’s 36°C (96.8°F). He pulls his scissors out of his side pocket and cuts the bunch of black berries, cupping it in his hand and dropping it into the bucket below piled with grapes. He grabs another bunch. Cut. Drop. Cut. Drop. Cut. Drop.”
Wine-Seacher.com, 22 April 2012
It’s midnight. The winery is much cooler, but I’m still sweating like a pig. I am running around like a bit of a wild man, monitoring tanks, tasting juice, taking temperatures and breaking down caps. At this early point in fermentation the must is more like a thick soup – I lift the plunger high over my head and force it down into the stiff mound of blackish purple berries. It’s like kneading dough.
Wine Republic, February 2012: Page 8
Uruguay is the little country between Argentina and Brazil on the coast. It’s not Paraguay, and they are separate countries. Sounds patronizing, but its surprising how many Uruguayans will tell you anecdotes of how most westerners they meet actually have no idea where this little gem of a country is. And if you look at any bottle of Uruguayan wine, they almost all put a map of South America on the label, highlighting where their country is.
Wine Republic, February 2012: Page 18
There are only a few places in the world where you can talk about taking coke without anyone batting an eyelid – and Salta is one of them. Saying ‘Anochecoci’ (I got coked last night) is perfectly acceptable in any conversation. Of course ‘getting coked’ in Salta is referring to sucking coca leaves and not any illegal white powder. Being the ever clichéd tourist, I obviously wanted to try some.
Wine Republic, December 2011: Page 8
Coming from Argentina, the first thing that really strikes you about Cahors is how green it is. Emerald green fields run into sloping lime green lawns with brooding pine green forests above –this is a very lush landscape. And typically on the day we arrive, it’s raining.
Wine Republic, October 2011: Page 8
Many people have a romantic image of grape picking: fuelled by holiday packages grape in Southern France, sun soaked paintings of pickers at dawn and Russell Crowe movies. Even Mendoza’s Vendimia festival gives the impression that the harvest is somewhat glamorous. But beauty queens (who rarely visit a vineyard), parades and cocktail parties are a mile apart from the tough reality of grape picking… Hours are long, conditions are difficult and payment is poor.
Wine Republic, February 2011: Page 17
On a recent trip to an organic vineyard in Valle de Uco called Occioverde, I learnt that beyond the marketing phenomenon there is actually an inspiring motive. But before donning my hemp shirt and Birkenstocks, I asked owner and winemaker Paolo Addis to explain what ‘organic’ actually is and why there’s all this fuss about it.
Wine Republic, January 2011: Page 16
Mendoza can be a daunting destination for wine amateurs. Gentle bar chatter in a city with a swollen population of sommeliers, oenophiles, wine snobs and fiercely-proud locals (where everyone and their grandmother would happily correct Michel Rolland) can be a somewhat bewildering prospect. So how can you fake your way as a wine expert?
Wine Republic, December 2010: Page 8