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img_5032LOIRE TRIPPING 2017 – THE SALON & LA LEVÉE

Finally, my impressions from a day at the Salon des Vins de Loire. Contrary to last year, I only attended on Tuesday, due to the Salon changing its calendar and starting a day earlier, thus overlapping the numerous off-events. I don’t really know why this was done, nor did I get a straight answer from basically anyone, but I do think that it is to the detriment of the Salon. Visitors were few, perhaps also because it was the final day, but compounded with the fact that there was an entire tasting area gone in comparison to last year, this is not a good sign. Continue reading → 


img_4974LOIRE TRIPPING 2017 – Dive Bouteille

Dive is the type of chaos with a flair that only the French know how to do right. Get annoyed at the lack of navettes between the Saumur station and the Ackerman cellars where la Dive takes place or walk. Get pissed off at the crowds of backpack-carrying groupies who just hang out with their revered winemaker of choice, or simply mingle with them. Finally, get paralyzed by the fear of swallowing due to the lack of spittoons, or carry around your own in a trolley, trumping backpacks in annoyance, like a certain couple of Dutch wine merchants (although you never know with the Dutch, they may as well have been creating their own very special blend of salvia-textured wine vinegar). Continue reading → 


img_4941Loire tripping 2017 – La Renaissance des Appellations

Just like last year, it is Loire tripping time. Three days, three events, three impressions. First up, La Renaissance des Appellations aka checking if the biodynamic fire still burns in Nicolas Joly’s eyes. Contrary to last year, the tasting took place in two halls, the Greniers St Jean, which remains a magnificent location, and the adjacent l’Hopital St Jean. The latter is actually part of the Angers museum for contemporary tapestry and houses the monumental Chant du Monde, a hommage to medieval visions of the apocalypse created by Jean Lurçat in the fifties. I have had tastings in worse locations! Continue reading →


img_48972017 WEEK 3 – DOMAINE DUPASQUIER, ROUSSETTE DE MARESTEL 2012

Continuing with regions in France that I do not remember too fondly from gazing at them while studying, the Savoie! It was basically the Sud-Ouest all over again, albeit on a much smaller scale (about 2000ha). On the surface, it looks deceptively simple: three major appellations: Vins de Savoie, Rousette de Savoie and Seyssel. So far so good, but than you get to the crus, all with their own set of rules: 16 for Vins de Savoie and 4 for Rousette de Savoie. You may wonder what the big deal is, isn’t the appellation structure in Burgundy for instance far more complex? Continue reading


img_47872017 WEEK 2 -DOMAINE PLAGEOLES, VIN DE VOILE 2000

During my studies, the Sud-Ouest was without a doubt the most frustrating region to get a grip on. The diversity in appellations and varieties as well as the relative scarcity of these wines in Belgium made it very difficult to retain a lot for the long run. It is a shame really, as there is so much to discover. I have great memories of a 1998 Chateau Montus (Madiran), continue to be charmed by everything that comes out of Jurancon, and, after a terrific tasting organized by a fellow sommelier-conseil just before Christmas, have set myself a quota of Cahors to discover this year. Continue reading



img_48112017 WEEK 1 – HM BORGES’ 20 YEAR OLD VERDELHO

A wine blogger’s end-of-year post has a certain predictability to it: either it looks back on the best bottles drunk in the year that has come to pass (often with a skew towards expensive, rare or cult bottles), or it looks onwards to trends spotted in the wine world (cue classics like the end of Bordeaux en Primeur or the inevitable crushing of Champagne by insert sparkling wine appellation here). I wasn’t planning to write about either of them, but on the precipice of 2017, I came across the most fabulous, almost year-defining wine: HM Borges’ 20 year old Verdelho Medium Dry. Continue reading



img_4693The Beaujolais Nouveau bar crawl

In a first example of a night out on the town had with a fellow sommelier-conseil, the celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau 2016! My first advice to readers would be to completely ignore the Very Serious Wine Writers who lament that Beaujolais Nouveau is basically undrinkable marketing-driven grape juice (a Flemish item that got me reeling). Year on year they seem to rejoice in the fact that the popularity of BN is declining, and that sooner rather than later, it will only be used by the Japanese to bathe in. Continue reading


The joys of a burgundy clubimage1

Last year I briefly addressed the tendentious relationship I have with the red wines of Burgundy. Since then I have participated in numerous tastings, bought my share of wines, and have even written several articles which will forever remain in draft. None of this has appeared on The Wine Analyst as the bipolarity of Pinot Noir can be nerve-wrecking. There is a fair share of plonk out there, and it is often used to give Pinot Noir a lot of flak, but I would argue that the same can be said about nearly all grape varieties. These are wines that drop off my radar as soon as the blip appears, so in the larger picture, they are of little consequence in forming an opinion. Continue reading