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Visit to Monte Bello with the Legendary Paul Draper

Published:  01 October, 2014

A visit to California to stay with friends in Santa Clara, just south of San Francisco, started with the principle that this was a wine drinking, not wine tasting trip. No vineyard visits, just barbecues, some sightseeing, and a bit of healthy imbibing. So of course, when we realised that our friends lived about 20 minutes away from Ridge Vineyards, we called and made an appointment straight away. For my sins, I worked for Steven Spurrier in the early 80s while his wine 'empire' was still extant in Paris, so from this, and subsequent study, I was quite familiar with the quality of Paul Draper's wines, and the effect that the 1976 'Judgement of Paris' tasting had on Ridge and the other 'kids from the sticks' (as Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena put it at the time), although I am not quite old enough to have been there for the tasting. I could hardly miss the opportunity just on a principle.

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What are the chances of a pre-election duty cut?

Published:  29 September, 2014

News emerged this week that the Wine & Spirit Trade Association wants the industry to push for a cut of up to 2% in duty ahead of the pre-election budget.

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Jerry Lockspeiser: why we should celebrate £6 wines not denigrate them

Published:  26 September, 2014

Wine selling for £6 or less is shit.  Not my words but those of advertising legend Sir John Hegarty at the Wine and Spirit Trade Association conference.

 

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The Harpers Gang...here to entertain you!

Published:  17 September, 2014

Harpers Team @harperswine

Harpers Team @harperswine

Here's the Harpers team like you have never seen them before.

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Jerry Lockspeiser on some peculiar but inspiring winemaking in Mallorca

Published:  12 September, 2014

The first thing you see at the winery is a sign saying "HIPPIES USE BACK DOOR- NO EXCEPTIONS".  In the barrel room oak vats are identified by the names of rock bands - the Clash, Joy Division, Pulp and Portishead amongst them - or images of molecular structures. Outside the back door a large pile of straw bales wait to be wrapped around modern stainless steel vats, nature's insulation to keep her product cool.

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Let's cheer Warren Adamson on his final push to John O'Groats for the Benevolent

Published:  12 September, 2014

If you've had a tough week of tastings, meetings and trips out to the Wines of the Beautiful South then spare a thought for Craggy Range's Warren Adamson who is currently in to day seven of a nine day bike ride between Land's End and John O'Groats.

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Will the Scottish entrepreneurial spirit be the breakup of the Union?

Published:  10 September, 2014

This week saw the Yes campaign edge ahead in the latest "serious" opinion poll. As an Englishman with no connections to Scotland, this is indeed cause for cheer.

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Chief of the week: The Dude

Published:  05 September, 2014

This week the Claret Pimpernel raises a White Russian to Jeff Bridges, whose new short film called the "The White Russian" was released this week by Kahlúa Productions, as a tribute to the drink he made famous in the cult film, The Big Lebowski. 

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Nick Kamen, Levi jeans and those boxer shorts...

Published:  04 September, 2014

News that advertising legend, Sir John Hegarty, is going to be the star turn at this month's Wine & Spirit Trade Association conference is just the excuse we need to show this classic TV ad.

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US cocktail gurus claim any bar only needs 12 bottles in new book

Published:  03 September, 2014

Ever stood in front of a packed back bar and wondered if some spirits never see the light of day? Well a new book from US cocktail gurus claims any bar can get away with just stocking 12 bottles.

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Ardbeg celebrates return from space with release of SUPERNOVA 2014

Published:  29 August, 2014

Ardbeg is celebrating its upcoming return from space on September 12 by releasing its third edition of Supernova 2014.

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How the wrong business partner can seriously damage your wealth?

Published:  28 August, 2014

A few years ago I entered into a legally binding agreement with a new business partner, although it seems I wasn't really paying too much attention at the time.

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Craft beers direct to your office thanks to Deskbeers service

Published:  22 August, 2014

The saying going there is no such thing as a new original business idea, which is probably why there is an equally popular phrase - the greatest form of flattery is imitation. Well here's a business idea that could very easily be adapted to the wine and spirits world. Deskbeers.

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There's more to wine and music pairing than I first thought

Published:  20 August, 2014

In a previous blog I was mocking the idea of music and wine pairing by suggesting that to do so is bordering on the moronic. How wrong I was!

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Vodquila, a vodka tequila blend: Genius or insanity?

Published:  20 August, 2014

A new spirit hitting the shelves across the pond is Vodquila, a hybrid of vodka and tequila, which has been created by a father-daughter team from Birmingham, Alabama.

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TV comic Kevin Bishop to star in one man warts and all new restaurant show

Published:  20 August, 2014

Fed up reading about all those great comics, plays and turns at this year's Edinburgh Festival when you live miles away and have no chance of seeing them?

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Chiefs of the week: South African winemakers who surf

Published:  20 August, 2014

Every  year they come to take the challenge. No not the South African wine awards, but the Vintners Surf Classic where some of the country's best and most respected winemakers come together to ride the waves and pit their wits against each other to see who has the smartest surf board skiills.

 

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Scotland votes, but why should anyone care about the result?

Published:  15 August, 2014

There was yet another story on OLN this week banging on about the devastating effects that an independent Scotland would have on the drinks industry both sides of the border. Countless articles have appeared in Harpers over recent weeks too, not to mention the main street press. Why should anyone care?

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HARPERS CHOICE

Published:  15 August, 2014

HARPERS CHOICE

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Oaked Sauvignons from around the World

Published:  14 August, 2014

A blind tasting of oaked Sauvignons from around the world on the 3rd July at London Cru, organised by Jean-Christophe Mau and Richard Bampfield MW was a welcome opportunity to revisit West London's 'flavour of the month' venue, as well, of course, to taste an interesting and perhaps overlooked category. Richard's invitation proposed that: " as Sauvignon Blanc is so ubiquitous and producers will need to work harder to add value and create their points of difference in future, the use of oak will become more widespread". The tasting was very well attended; all the luminaries of the world of wine journalism were there (including me), so there must be something to Richard's assertion. I think we have become submerged in the overpoweringly citrus and fruit-some (Marlborough, mainly, but not exclusively) unoaked version, to the exclusion of the more traditional, complex perhaps, version.

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