Arianna Occhipinti, SP68, Nero d’Avola/Frappato, IGT Sicilia, 2010. 12.5%, Biodynamic

The southeastern part of Sicily is an enclave of natural winemaking excellence. Much of the impetus behind the improved quality and status of the wines from here is due to a company called C.O.S. This was founded in 1980 by three students, whose initials make up the company name. Starting in a garage, they went… Continue reading Arianna Occhipinti, SP68, Nero d’Avola/Frappato, IGT Sicilia, 2010. 12.5%, Biodynamic

Caiarossa, Azienda Vitivinicola Caiarossa, Toscana IGT, 2006

This is the first time ever that I’ve returned to a wine in ten years of making recommendations. Usually, I seek to avoid repetition – there are always great new wines to feature and there’s nothing worse than lazy journalism. So to feature Caiarossa again shows that I hold this Italian red wine in very… Continue reading Caiarossa, Azienda Vitivinicola Caiarossa, Toscana IGT, 2006

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Ca’ La Bionda Valpolicella Classico DOC, Valgatara di Marano, Veneto, Italy 2008

I have recently returned from an inspirational trip to Valpolicella, where the Amarone wines – those dry and complex, alcoholic yet sumptuous Vini di Meditazione made from dried grapes – are revelling in their newly upgraded and long overdue DOCG status. That amarone has gone a long way to re-establishing the reputation of the Valpolicella… Continue reading Ca’ La Bionda Valpolicella Classico DOC, Valgatara di Marano, Veneto, Italy 2008

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Domaine Le Soula, Soula Rouge, Vin de Pays de Côtes Catalans 2005

Le Soula was created in 2001 as a partnership between UK wine importers Richards Walford and local biodynamic superstar Gérard Gauby, who had found a number of old and abandoned vineyards with great potential. It now has 27 hectares of vines situated in the deep south of France in the Agly valley in and around… Continue reading Domaine Le Soula, Soula Rouge, Vin de Pays de Côtes Catalans 2005

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Tenuta di Valgiano, “Palistorti Rosso”, DOC Colline Lucchesi, Toscana, Italy 2006

Laura di Collabiano welcomed me into the azienda kitchen of Tenuta di Valgiano, a sixteenth century estate some 250 metres above the river Sérchio, 10 km north of the lustrous town of Lucca. On a cold February night, a fire burned brightly within the huge open hearth, illuminating the room with a cheery glow. On… Continue reading Tenuta di Valgiano, “Palistorti Rosso”, DOC Colline Lucchesi, Toscana, Italy 2006

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Musarathon 2010

Four years have passed since my last lengthy Chateau Musar encounter in 2006: Musarathon – a 10 year vertical 1988-1998. Another seemed long overdue. Chateau Musar remains Lebanon’s most well known and venerated winery; the wines are unique, every vintage is different and each matures on its own path. Many are long lived – owner… Continue reading Musarathon 2010

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An Interview With James Milton

Some moons ago I was looking forward to meeting James and Annie Millton at their winery in Gisborne but was thwarted by storms and then a huge landslide that blocked all access. On returning to the UK I exchanged emails with James about organics and biodynamics. With apologies in advance for any misrepresentation, here is… Continue reading An Interview With James Milton

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Pinot Noir, James Millton, Clos de Ste. Anne, Naboth’s Vineyard, Manutuke, Gisborne, New Zealand. 2006. 13%, Biodynamic

James and Annie Millton’s established their vineyards in 1984 and make a delicious range of hand-crafted fine wines. Pioneers, they’ve been biodynamic from the outset, long before many more famous estates around the world converted to the creed. Their estate is at Manutuke, just outside Gisborne in New Zealand, in North Island’s Poverty Bay, the… Continue reading Pinot Noir, James Millton, Clos de Ste. Anne, Naboth’s Vineyard, Manutuke, Gisborne, New Zealand. 2006. 13%, Biodynamic

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Chateau Musar White 2001, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Up in the Lebanese Bekaa valley at around 1,000 metres is an extraordinary property whose wines have become virtually synonymous with Lebanon. Serge Hochar has continued to make French-influenced wines here in spite of the various conflicts that have raged and blighted this beautiful but unstable region. He seeks to make only what nature will… Continue reading Chateau Musar White 2001, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

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Domaine Belluard, AC Vin de Savoie, “le Feu, terroir de Montblanc”, Ayze, Savoie, France. 2006

Dominique and Patrick Belluard own this biodynamic estate of just 13 ha at Ayze, in the heart of the Haut Savoie valley of l’Arve. They are the third generation of the family to run it since it was created in 1947. They took charge in 1988 and converted to biodynamics in 2001. The domaine is… Continue reading Domaine Belluard, AC Vin de Savoie, “le Feu, terroir de Montblanc”, Ayze, Savoie, France. 2006

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