Dear wine lover, here are links to some of the articles that were published on this week.

View this email in your browser  News 12 May 2017

Dear wine lover

Since last week's email I've spent two nights in Hong Kong, one in Singapore and two on a British Airways plane (where the business-class food, if not wine, seemed to have improved). This was the early morning view from my extremely luxurious accommodation at the Four Seasons HK. 

I was certainly spoilt, but felt I deserved it after a Monday on which I presented two masterclasses, co-hosted a wine reception for Room to Read (which is now spreading its unrivalled children's education programme from South East Asia and southern Africa to Middle Eastern refugee camps) and submitted to a public interrogation by two of HK's leading wine women as part of the Upper House's series of 'fireside chats'. Wine is still hugely popular in both cities and I was pleased to note that wine lovers there have become much more aware of the importance of provenance and authenticity than they once were. 

As 2016 primeurs prices continue to trickle out, without too many terrible shocks so far, we published two articles based on Bordeaux on this week: one on some bargain bottles of red and another about how and why producers of the smartest wines (champagnes too) are cosying up to their customers.

The focus was on value again in Richard's and my report on the latest finds from The Wine Society. Julia wrote about a particular collection of growers' champagnes, while Walter reviewed the latest Barolo releases, more 2013s and the 2011 Riservas.

We also had the pleasure of publishing the first column from Rish Poola, the winner of our wine writing competition, on a particularly senior amontillado sherry, as well as the latest instalment of Chris Boiling's adventures as an aspiring wine producer in Slovenia.

Nick wrote about the very special requirements of those celebrating birthdays in a restaurant. Richard pondered the question of how much is too much in terms of the price of a bottle of wine

Today I report on the fortunes of Zinfandel and its very varied incarnations in California, Puglia and Croatia and my wines of the week come from a new outfit in the increasingly interesting Ventoux appellation in the southern Rhône. 

Unfortunately, reports of spring frost damage continue to pour in, not least from the Loire, England and northern Spain (see my Godello report, and Gavin Quinney's detailed survey of Bordeaux a week ago). The 2017 crop is highly unlikely to be a bumper one in Europe's vineyards.

Yours heavy-lidded,


Celebrating Tribidrag in Croatia (Tasting articles)

May 12, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

A recent wine event in Croatia was dedicated to a single grape variety, but it became increasingly difficult to know what to call it. The conference, in the booming tourist resort of Split on the stunning Dalmatian coast, was entitled 'I am Tribidrag', celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the discovery that ‘California’s own’ Zinfandel grape…

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Ch Juvenal, Les Ribes du Vallat Ventoux (Wines of the week)

May 12, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

From €9.50, 12 Swiss francs, £11.50 Find the white 2016 Find the red 2015 Château Juvenal is a name that is new to me. The Forestiers bought the property in 2001 and in 2011 joined forces with local vignerons the Alban family, who had until then delivered their grapes to the Beaumes-de-Venise co-op (grandly named Balma Venitia). A winemaking…

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Nebbiolo Prima 2017 - the guide (Free for all)

May 11, 2017 11:05 am | Team JR

This is a guide to all that Walter publishes this year on major tastings of Piemonte wines. His picture is of the Tanaro river that separates Roero from Barolo and Barbaresco as seen from the tower of Barbaresco where his very special tasting of Barbarescos took place. ARTICLES PUBLISHED SO FAR 2011 Barolo Riserva and more 2013 Barolo (Tasting…

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Cyprus's vineyard treasure trove (Free for all)

May 11, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

11 May For our Throwback Thursday article today we are republishing free Dr José Vouillamoz’s account of the old-vine treasures of Cyprus, originally published last week. There’s so much unique insight here that we couldn’t resist sharing it with a wider readership. 3 May Co-author of Wine Grapes Dr José Vouillamoz reports on recent discoveries in…

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2011 Barolo Riserva and more 2013 Barolo (Tasting articles)

May 11, 2017 09:00 am | Walter Speller

See this guide to all Walter's articles this year on major tastings of Piemonte wines. The following 36 2013 Barolo tasting notes I gathered during this year’s Grandi Langhe, an event that has partly replaced Nebbiolo Prima. The latter was the annual presentation of Barolo, Barbaresco and outsider Roero, much-criticised because of its enormous…

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The Wine Society - first for value (Tasting articles)

May 10, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson & Richard Hemming MW

Jancis writes Richard and I shared the 'work' of covering the latest presentation of finds from The Wine Society, the co-operative wine-buying group based in Stevenage just north of London. As usual, it was extremely enjoyable, with no fewer than 22 of the wines tagged below as GV (good value) - one-third of the total tasted (although we included…

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Price, wine and general relativity (Hemming's Spittoon)

May 10, 2017 09:00 am | Richard Hemming MW

Over the course of two years, you can achieve great things: establish a new vineyard, barrel-age a Chardonnay, or divorce yourself from a political union of member states. Now, granted, many people might dispute how great that is. Let's face it, Chardonnay is totally over-oaked after two years in barrel. But moving swiftly on, it has been nearly…

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Scala's 'single-estate' champagnes (Tasting articles)

May 09, 2017 09:00 am | Julia Harding MW

Champagne specialist and wine educator Tim Hall, who will soon be reporting on this year's week of tastings in Champagne, set up Scala Wine School in the mid 1990s. Alongside this, he imports and sells champagnes to private clients and to the wine trade. He refers to the wines in his list, produced mainly by récoltants-manipulants, as…

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Diary of a dream - part 12 (Don't quote me)

May 09, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

Neophyte Slovenian vigneron and dreamer Chris Boiling reveals his new strategy for succeeding in the wine world: keeping his fingers crossed and dreaming ever bigger… My wife wants me to sell our winehouse and small vineyard. She says it’s a luxury we can no longer afford. Having the more astute business brain, I say let’s continue to hope…

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Godello appeals in HK (Free for all)

May 09, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

I presented a tasting of 'under-appreciated grape varieties' here at ProWine Asia in Hong Kong yesterday. I have emboldened the grape names below. At the end of the tasting (though perhaps unfortunately not before I had given the retail prices of the wines, in Germany, where they were sourced by the wine-fair organisers) I asked members of the…

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The Cask of Amontillado (Don't quote me)

May 08, 2017 09:00 am | Hrishi Poola

Rish Poola, announced as the winner of our wine writing competition at our recent Sherry Night, presents his first official contribution - appropriately enough about sherry. Photo credit: Peng Hao. In tenth grade, at the height of my Edgar Allen Poe phase, I read his famed story The Cask of Amontillado. In it, the narrator, Montresor, takes macabre…

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Affordable bordeaux in 2017 (Tasting articles)

May 08, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

The recent frosts may have blighted prospects for many vignerons, and possibly for the Bordeaux primeurs campaign, but overall the quality of the 2016 vintage highlighted yet again just what great value Bordeaux can offer in a good, ripe vintage. I am always banging on about how price is no absolute guide to quality and I believe this is…

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How to eat a birthday (Free for all)

May 06, 2017 01:00 am | Nick Lander

Some day, somewhere, a brave restaurateur will adopt the following idea: to open a restaurant specialising in those celebrating, or about to celebrate, a birthday. I am not the only one to associate birthdays with restaurants. Out recently in The Lighterman in London before a concert at King’s Place to celebrate Jancis’s birthday, we were greeted…

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Shortening the distribution chain (Free for all)

May 06, 2017 01:00 am | Jancis Robinson

A version of this article is published by the Financial Times. It may not look like it to judge from the prices, but the producers of the most famous wines in the world have a problem. Now that their trophy bottles have definitively moved into the luxury goods category, they are obvious targets for speculators (as well as counterfeiters, but that…

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