RAW, the Artisan Wine Fair 2016

IMG_3625The 2016 RAW fair took place in London this weekend, and just like last year, it was an intense but terrific experience. An increasing number of winemakers seems to realize that it is a unique opportunity to showcase their wines to both old fans and people who are a lot more open-minded than the ones attending Prowein or Vinexpo. Of course, estates come and go but the showing does remain impressive. Those with long-established reputations stand side by side with those who are only just stepping into the world of wine, often presenting their first vintage to the public, nervous about the impression that they’ll make or the feedback they will receive. Continue reading

Biodynamic conversion in practice – Francis Boulard

Biodynamic or natural viticulture is a challenge in the Champagne. In my first post on the topic I mentioned that the focus with most growers lies on securing yield, ensuring that nothing happens endangers the amount of grapes you get at harvest. As most growers are dependent on either the grands marques or the cooperatives, you can imagine the impact of the loss of a crop on their finances. Continue reading

Terroir geekery at Laherte Frères

Success in the Champagne is dependent on different factors. The Grands Marques have the luxury of being able to source their still wines from the entire region and have as such a large supply source, enabling them to create consistent and balanced champagnes over the years. Vignerons who are lucky enough to own land in villages with Grand Cru status can have it easier than others as the labelling alone will often allow them to command a premium price. Continue reading

Champagne – A state of affairs

One of the first wine regions that thoroughly fascinated me was Champagne. This is not a coincidence as it is the closest international wine region from Brussels (sadly, Limburg or the Westhoek are as of yet not recognized as global centers of quality wine) and Belgians are possibly the largest consumer group of champagne (all the wine that Belgians buy on a quick trip to the region is not included in most market research). Continue reading

Weingut Am Stein

The majority of Franken’s vineyards can be found surrounding Würzburg, the region’s most important city. The city was one of the principalities of the Holy Roman Empire and despite being destroyed during WWII, it is clear that the city prides itself on a long and rich history. This is evident in the wine domains based in the city as well, namely Juliusspital, Bürgerspital and the Hofkeller Würzburg. Continue reading

Rudolf Fürst

I have a love-hate relationship with German red wines. They are either too thin, containing mere superficial fruitiness, or they are too concentrated, displaying alcohol levels up to 15% and tasting more like watered-down port. To make matters even more complicated, whereas you can find a more than decent Riesling for as little as 9-10 euros, a decent Spätburgunder will often set you back at least 20 euros. Continue reading


If you quiz people on what, if anything, they could tell you about Franken, I’d gather that you would get a lot of blank stares. Even among winelovers, I am fairly certain that most people would stop at bocksbeutel (the signature Franken bottle) and Silvaner (the most important grape variety grown). Continue reading