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

View this email in your browser  News 31 Mar 2017

Dear wine lover

I have just returned from a wonderful few days in India. What a country. What scenes. What food. (What poverty, one might also add...) I'd been there twice with the family in the early years of this century but this was the first time I had visited wine country and, of course, it was all fascinating. More next week.

The ostensible excuse for the trip was to attend a special wine dinner at this table with room enough for 101 Victorians (which translated into about 60 of us 21st-century monsters) in the extraordinary Taj Falaknuma Palace, a sort of 60-room fantasy cross between a Palladian villa and a Viennese palace on a bluff overlooking Hyderabad. What was spooky was that the palace had been built in the 1880s. The architect was English and I kept seeing, on a very much less modest scale of course, reminders, such as floor tiles and steel bath plug, of the house I was brought up in that had been built at exactly the same time by my great great grandfather. Our dining room table was very much smaller.

Back home continued to spew forth news and views on the wines of the world. My tasting articles focused on Brunello di Montalcino 2012, Bordeaux 2014, vintage port from the 1980s and... fine sake.

Those many superior entries in our wine writing competition continued. The last one will be published next Thursday and we will be inviting your votes from a week today. 

Walter brought us bang up to date on the current releases of Chianti Classico, arguing that this wine is currently in a very good place (the hills of Chiantishire) and deserves to be recognised as a source of great-value red. And today our retail specialist Andy Howard MW tells us what to buy and what to avoid from those increasingly active UK wine retailers Aldi and Lidl.

Julia has been in Jerez, selecting from the latest releases of en rama sherries wines for that section of our forthcoming Sherry Night. Nick asked why there are so few candidates for British street food. I added yet another article about the transatlantic transfer of all my old notebooks, tasting sheets, etc to the University of California at Davis - the detailed logistics this time. 

And my wine of the week today signals where I'm off to this weekend: Bordeaux, to taste multiple cask samples of embryonic 2016s on your behalf. 

Yours peripatetically,


Aldi and Lidl - the best buys (Don't quote me)

Mar 31, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

Andy Howard MW returns to the tasting tables of Aldi and Lidl to assess their latest offerings. A common theme running through my reviews of the wine available from UK supermarkets is that of intense competition. The latest set of data released by Kantar Worldpanel and Nielsen have added substance to the perception that a fundamental shift is…

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​La Chenade 2014 Lalande de Pomerol (Wines of the week)

Mar 31, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

€13.50, £50 for six bottles in bond, HK$157, $20.95, NZ$32.99, CA$44.95 Find this wine Like so many others, I'm off to Bordeaux this weekend to taste what, on the basis of the few dozen cask samples I've tasted so far, looks like a very successful 2016 vintage. To get us all in the mood, I offer a great-value red bordeaux as today's wine of the…

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Sake - a second helping (Drinks not wine)

Mar 30, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

One evening earlier this month, the evening after the vintage port tasting described in Vintage ports of the eighties - a progress report in fact, Nick and I experienced an in-house tasting - or an least an in-new-flat tasting - of sakes. This follow-up to the revelatory sake tasting at 67 Pall Mall last autumn was proposed by economist Professor…

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WWC 49 - Rachel von Sturmer (Free for all)

Mar 30, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

The last of this week's wine writing competition entries comes from Canada, thanks to Rachel von Sturmer.I’m a wine writer based in Vancouver, Canada. My virtual home is at, and I’m the author of Winetripping, a guidebook to the wineries of BC’s Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. My husband and I have recently purchased a…

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Getting ready for Sherry Night (Free for all)

Mar 29, 2017 04:44 pm | Jancis Robinson

We are looking forward very much to our first Sherry Night, on Sunday 23 April in London. We're planning to include in our line-up of the many styles of sherry, the new en rama releases due to be made next month. Here you can see Julia hard at work this morning in Jerez tasting the possible candidates, looking pretty good for someone who had to get…

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Vintage ports of the eighties - a progress report (Tasting articles)

Mar 29, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

I am very grateful to the very knowledgeable members of The Port Forum who allowed me to attend their recent tasting in London of the 1980, 1983 an 1985 vintage ports of the major shippers Fonseca, Taylor, Dow, Graham and Warre. I chose this one of their many meet-ups because these, unlike some of the more mature wines they meet to assess, are…

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WWC 48 - Andrew McKinna (Free for all)

Mar 29, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

Number 48 of the 53 entries we plan are publishing as part of our wine writing competition comes to us from Bermuda courtesy of Andrew McKinna, who introduces himself as follows. A 57-year old Englishman, an unemployable beach bum, based in Bermuda, who never buys wine as an investment, only to drink, and who looks for every opportunity to…

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Groundhog Day – new Chianti Classico releases (Tasting articles)

Mar 28, 2017 09:00 am | Walter Speller

See also Needless Chianti Classico bashing. Last February, as though on Groundhog Day, I found myself once again in the sombre but imposing Stazione Leopolda, a defunct station in Florence, the rails running through the large, industrial hall a testament to its former function, to taste the new vintages of Chianti Classico. As in any presentation…

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​Needless Chianti Classico bashing (Don't quote me)

Mar 28, 2017 09:00 am | Walter Speller

See also Groundhog Day - new Chianti Classico releases.  Nowadays it is fashionable to talk about Chianti Classico as ‘unfashionable’. A recent article even went so far as to blame this for its alleged decline in sales in Chianti Classico’s most important market, the US. It makes for nice soundbites in a media-saturated world, but the point was…

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WWC 47 - James Wise (Free for all)

Mar 28, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

James Wise provides the 47th published entry into our wine writing competition. Occupation: Solicitor, corporate law. While I am an enthusiastic wine lover, I am an entirely amateur one. My interest in wine started at university, but really took off when my now wife and I moved into our own home. Not only did we have (some) space for storing, and…

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Bordeaux 2014 retasted in London (Tasting articles)

Mar 27, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

See also this guide to our coverage of 2014 bordeaux. On the last day of February, Justerini and Brooks invited a select band of Bordeaux proprietors to London to show off their 2014s, and wines from one older vintage (the formula adopted by Bibendum when they did Bordeaux tastings, which are presumably a thing of the past now that they have merged…

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WWC 46 - Brinton Resto (Free for all)

Mar 27, 2017 09:00 am | Guest contributor

We start the penultimate week of entries to our wine writing competition with the following two articles from Brinton Resto, a 28-year-old legal professional. Brinton Resto is currently working his way through the WSET programme and received a pass with distinction on the Level two exam. Brinton plans on fusing his passion for wine with his legal…

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How I cleared my attic (Free for all)

Mar 27, 2017 09:00 am | Jancis Robinson

This article has been syndicated. As you read this, be aware that, wherever I am in the world (just back from my first-ever wine trip to India if all goes well), a major part of me is now in California, as I explained in My transatlantic archive and amplified in Winiarski underwrites Davis writers’ collections. Below is the background to the nuts…

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Brunello 2012 - majesty without mass (Free for all)

Mar 25, 2017 01:00 am | Jancis Robinson

A version of this article is published by the Financial Times. See also my tasting notes from Brunello Night 2. Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany’s grandest wine zone, has been on a rollercoaster ride, changing immeasurably over the years. The changes seen in the last 10 years or so have been decidedly for the better. In the 1990s too many of the…

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British street food - an oxymoron? (Nick on restaurants)

Mar 25, 2017 01:00 am | Nick Lander

There is something, if not quite rotten, then certainly missing from the current state of British food. I speak despite being an avid admirer of this style of cooking. In the 1980s my restaurant was not only one of the very first to write its menus in English but also alongside head chef Martin Lam, we made a practice of using the very best…

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