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A Tasting of BA's Club World Wines

Published:  08 October, 2014

Wine tasting of BA's club class wines on a flight to and from San Francisco recently. The wine was good, the company fantastic, and the beds magnificent. Try it!

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Pairing Madeira Wine with Fine Cuisine

Published:  07 October, 2014

The evening offered a number of delightful surprises, showcasing how well Madeira can be paired with cuisine. For example, the foie gras pictured above was paired with not one but two wines, Hendriques & Hendriques 15 Anos (years) Verdelho, a drier style, as well as the sweeter Blandy's Malmsey 10 Anos. At the end of the pairing, Rui asked the group what they preferred, and most preferred the drier Verdelho yet it was a fun experiment.

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Protect your gross margin from surprise supplier price hikes

Published:  03 October, 2014

It's an all too familiar problem Indies face. You sell out of wine, so you phone or email your supplier to order some more. The wine arrives from bond, DPD. You unpack the boxes and place the bottles on your shelves. Low and behold, within a few days you've sold the bulk of the wine you've just received. You're a happy little wine merchant! At least you are for now.

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Meeting Cristobal Undurraga of Chile's Vina Koyle

Published:  02 October, 2014

At first handshake, Cristobal is very friendly, forthcoming, and extremely creative when it comes to his stories about how he grows, blends, and matures wine on the 1,000 hectare estate, with just 120 ha suitable for planting.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Twenty-five years of Australian Sauvignon Blanc with Shaw + Smith

Published:  13 August, 2014

Following this year's win of three trophies including Best Australian Red at the International Wine Challenge for Shaw + Smith 2012 Shiraz, the team are celebrating their 25th Sauvignon Blanc vintage release.

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Gilbert Winfield AIWS, BSc

Published:  13 August, 2014

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Fine wine Bordeaux doesnt need to be too expensive

Published:  01 August, 2014

Simple advice to grab fine wine at fair prices

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Would you care for some Jimi Hendrix with your glass Sir?

Published:  29 July, 2014

As if the wine trade wasn't already overloaded with BS, it seems the latest fad is wine and music pairing.

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Taste test: Skouras Saint George (Aghiorghitiko), Nemea 2011

Published:  29 July, 2014

An elegant red from Greece which hints at better things to come

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A [RE]BAPTISM OF RIESLING

Published:  28 July, 2014

A short yet intense 2-day trip to the Mosel proved very fruitful, hard work for the legs and overall a rather holy experience. Her Egon Muller may have just re-baptised me and a whole bunch of other avid wine lovers into the divine glories of Riesling.

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Is the Institute of Masters of Wine fit for purpose?

Published:  20 July, 2014

It's hard to imagine Jancis Robinson doing a stand-up routine at London's Comedy Store isn't it? Yet, after reading her take on the recent Master of Wine examination papers it would seem to me that she has all the hallmarks of a good humorist.

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Are you hounded by PRS and PPL?

Published:  29 June, 2014

Stephen Forward reveals his tedious encounters, wrangles, and squabbles with these two beguiling organisations.

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It may not be trending worldwide but Sherry is now trendy.

Published:  28 June, 2014

Sherries uprising

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