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

View this email in your browser  News 17 Mar 2017

Dear wine lover

Nick's article last Saturday really distinguished him from other restaurant critics, I thought. It was a report on the logistics of a vital aspect of running a restaurant today: how the books are balanced. I was amazed to learn that, in the UK anyway, it is not all automated but still involves a lot of paper.

My accompanying article provided an overview of the progress of 2005 bordeaux, a little patchier than expected. Richard and I provided tasting notes on two recent showings in London of another exceptional 'five' vintage, Rhône 2015. Demand is high for these wines, understandably so. I'm a big fan, and you don't need to spend a fortune to benefit.

I filed my first, tasting, report on our recent trip to Mexico's wine country in Baja California. Mexican handicrafts, currently under threat from cheap copies imported from China, can be a particular delight. I loved what the salt and pepper came in with breakfast at the smart boutique hotel La Villa del Valle owned by the Gregorys of wine producer Vena Cava.

Another of my tasting reports looked in detail at a Tuscan anomaly, the luxury Merlot that is Masseto, currently being spun off as a separate entity with its own winery from Ornellaia. Julia meanwhile provided us with tasting notes on 84 current Austrian whites, a companion piece to Richard's earlier report on Austrian reds. If you really have time on your hands you can watch the one-hour video of Alder interviewing me at the University of California at Davis last month.

Richard provided a thought-provoking summary of the most popular articles on last year. We also published four more excellent entries in our wine writing competition, and there are 12 more to come! Get ready to cast your vote during the second week of April.

Today Alice Lascelles traces an interesting development in the dynamic gin business, I present a little vertical of the great sweet white bordeaux Ch Climens and Richard unearths a bargain California Pinot Noir.

We hope you have the time to savour it all,


Scotto, Grace Bridge Pinot Noir 2012/13 California (Wines of the week)

Mar 17, 2017 09:00 am | Richard Hemming MW

From $11.99, £11.95 Find this wine There's something of a fashion to find the most rare and unusual wine styles these days - the more obscure and arcane, the better. But forget Nascetta from Langhe or Humagne from the Valais, the most rare wine in the world is good, proper Pinot Noir for under £15 a bottle - that's the real holy grail.I can think…

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Ch Climens 'recent' vertical (Tasting articles)

Mar 17, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

I'm publishing this today for those emphatically not interested in gin. Also because I am ashamed to have been sitting on these tasting notes, taken during last year's primeurs, so long. My picture shows a radiant Bérénice Lurton of Ch Climens with the shadow of the top of a basket press over her left shoulder and the barrel cellar (and Andrew…

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Gins that do good (Drinks not wine)

Mar 17, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

On this St Patrick's Day we continue our occasional series on drinks other than wine - not Irish whiskey this time but a fascinating round-up of developments concerning another spirit by Alice Lascelles, a contributor to the Financial Times and author of Ten Cocktails: The Art of Convivial Drinking. The drinks industry is not known for being overly…

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WWC 41 – Malgorzata Partyka (Free for all)

Mar 16, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

Number 41 in our series of published entrants into our wine writing competition comes from Poland. My name is Malgorzata Partyka and I am a 29-year-old woman, currently finishing her PhD studies in molecular biology (in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, totally unrelated to wine). I live in Warsaw, Poland. My interest in wine started…

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Mexican wine - Baja's success story (Tasting articles)

Mar 16, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

See more in A Mexican wave of wine on Saturday. Having been intrigued for many years by the sound of Baja California, where nearly all Mexican wine is made, I finally made it there last month. It was not at all as I expected, as I will explain on Saturday. I could quite understand the geographical features of the Valle de Guadalupe, the main wine…

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Alder grills Jancis (Free for all)

Mar 16, 2017 09:00 am | Team JR

As you may have noticed, our Throwback Thursday series has been in abeyance while we have been publishing all those entries in our wine writing competition.  But today, as a taster for his next column to be published on Monday, we thought you might be amused by this video of Alder interviewing Jancis at the University of California at Davis on …

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WWC 40 – Eric Brooks (Free for all)

Mar 15, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

The 40th entrant we are publishing as part of our wine writing competition is Eric Brooks, who introduces himself as follows: Male, age 54. For employment, I’m an IT Systems Analyst for a local government entity, but a passionate wine enthusiast at heart. I live in the small, Gold Rush-era town of Grass Valley, in the Sierra Nevada foothills of…

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Masseto – Tuscan Merlot de luxe (Tasting articles)

Mar 15, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

At the end of last year, the team from Ornellaia, the luxurious Supertuscan estate in Bolgheri, came to London to present a tasting devoted to Masseto, the luscious all-Merlot wine grown on the same estate that sells for hundreds of pounds a bottle. For the first time outside the estate, winemaker Axel Heinz and commercial director Alex Belson…

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Austrian whites – more than Grüner and Riesling (Tasting articles)

Mar 14, 2017 09:00 am | Julia Harding MW

See also Richard’s review of Austria’s indigenous reds. Last August I tasted all the 2015 Erste Lage wines produced by the members of the Traditionsweingüter in the regions in which this private association has members – Kamptal, Kremstal, Traisental and Wagram. The big Austrian tasting in London last month gave me the chance to focus on other…

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WWC 39 – Daniel Ercsey (Free for all)

Mar 14, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

Here is the 39th published entry into our wine writing competition, as penned by Daniel Ercsey. Budapest-based journalist and wine writer. Studied French, geography, tourism and communication at university. Since 2008, editor at the Hungarian-language wine magazine BORIGO. In 2015 with two colleagues, founded the online wine magazine WineSofa,…

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WWC 38 – Lucy Mathews Heegaard (Free for all)

Mar 13, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

There are 16 more entries to be published in our wine writing competition. Here is the 38th, courtesy of Lucy Mathews Heegaard.  In my writing at both and, I highlight the heart and emotion of stories, knowing that when our hearts are tugged a little bit, we are more likely to remember what we have read. My wine…

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What's most popular on (Inside information)

Mar 13, 2017 09:00 am | Richard Hemming MW

Last year, we published no fewer than 590 articles and nearly 17,000 tasting notes here on Despite the fact that our subscription prices increased in May 2016 for the first time in more than 11 years, we hope you agree that our output still represents great value for money.We are continuing to expand in all directions, not only…

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Rhône 2015s – yet more excellence (Tasting articles)

Mar 13, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson & Richard Hemming MW

Richard writes  In addition to our already extensive coverage of Rhône 2015s, here is a supplementary selection of wines that reaffirms the excellence of the vintage. On the evidence I tasted, the quality extends across colour, appellation and producer. Of course, different styles will appeal to different palates, but few can deny the sheer…

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Bordeaux 2005 - winners and losers (Free for all)

Mar 11, 2017 01:00 am | Jancis Robinson

A shorter version of this article is published by the Financial Times. See also tasting notes for whites, right-bank reds and left-bank reds and this guide to our comprehensive coverage of Bordeaux 2005. Tastings of mature and maturing bordeaux are surely much more useful than tasting carefully groomed barrel samples such as the 2016 ones I am…

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Every restaurant's weekly reckoner (Nick on restaurants)

Mar 11, 2017 01:00 am | Nick Lander

As a restaurateur in the 1980s I used to hate Tuesdays. This was the day of the week that would determine our short-term financial future. Every Tuesday that Gerd Jade, a personable, quietly-spoken Austrian (very few people in the British restaurant industry were actually British in those days) who had carved out a nice niche for himself, would…

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