One of the best ways to discover what styles of wine you prefer is to literally compare different wines side by side.  A comparative tasting can be very informative as well as great fun.  For example, a chardonnay from Chablis and a Chardonnay from Hunter Valley are going to have very different characteristics.  Old world wine regions such as Burgundy set the benchmark for chardonnay and pinot noir but wine makers around the world have to work with different factors that influence the end result.

White wine grown in hotter climates produce more tropical flavours whereas their cooler climate counterparts have a more citrus taste profile.   Everything has an impact from the soil in which they grown, to the height above sea-level or whether the maker uses French, American or steel barrels, or all of them for different periods of time.  Hence, it can be great fun looking for differences between wines that have taken different pathways to get to your table, such as a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc pitched opposite a traditional Sancerre or Pouilly Fume from the Loire.  There are so many opportunities for these tastings.  Chile is a great wine producing country, as is Argentina.  Many of the grapes will appear familiar but their taste will all be individual.  

I also find it interesting to see how our choices are influenced by our emotions or memories from traveling.  Quite often buying that Aussie wine reminds us of a holiday long past, or the Valpolicella that late summer evening we whiled away in the piazza in Verona...

I suggest you draw up a pairing list and get some friends over for an evening of tasting.  No need to spit!

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COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

Climate change podcast

Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


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