Blog Archive Pre-July 2011

Blog Archive Pre-July 2011

Sonia’s 50th Wedding Anniversary blog

On Saturday 16th of April we celebrated our 50th wedding   anniversary with my sister and her husband who were also celebrating the same event (with a month difference!). We thought that Gay Paris in the spring would be a blessed place for such celebrations and our closest friends and relatives agreed. The restaurant chosen is […]

St. Julien, Pauillac and St. Estephe

Just to round off the Bordeaux tastings, my last chunk was the tasting of some of the top wines from St. Julien, Pauillac and St. Estèphe, not to mention a few Médocs, Listracs and Mouilis classed growths. Of the minor appellations, Camensac stood out – a lot of money has been spent here over the […]

On to Margaux

On to Margaux, Moulis, Listrac and Médoc. I must say that of the lesser appellations, I was most impressed by Ch. Clarke. This should be a good value for money buy. In the Margaux appellation itself, apart from Ch. Margaux and to a lesser extent, Ch. Palmer, both of which are hors combat, there were, […]

More notes on the 2010s

Tasted Graves/Péssac-Légnon and St. Emilion/Pomerol. Certainly the right bank wines are more consistent than those of the left bank. Some of the Graves were really quite green and others were a little over extracted.  Some, however did manage to achieve remarkable balance and finesse. Top of the tree for me here were Domaine de Chevalier, […]

International cuisine in Bordeaux?

I have just arrived in Bordeaux for the annual tasting of the primeurs – a very, very, early assessment of the 2010 vintage where some 19,000 wine professionals descend upon Bordeaux for this annual shindig. What does it prove? Not a lot. But it does give an early indication of what the vintage is likely […]

The Derenoncourt 2010 Primeurs tasting

Just back from the Derenoncourt tasting where I tasted about 50% of the wines on offer. Wines were limited to the Bordeaux appellations but I made sure that I tasted at least one wine in every appellation there. 2010 is certainly going to be a very good year, especially on the right bank, where most […]

A pre-primeur taste of some 2010 Bordeaux wines

In the race to be the first to show their primeurs, Le Cercle Rive Droite, an association of right bank producers from Pomerol, St.-Emilion and satellites, showed a VERY early tasting of their 2010 wines at Le Cercle restaurant in London last night  – a bit too early for some as they had barely finished […]

Angelo Gaja’s rant – a viewpoint

Angelo Gaja has just put out a rant against the “non Italian” Italian wines found on the market these days. The full rant can be read on the Jancis Robinson website at Loveable as they are, organisation has never been an Italian strong point and I can’t see that they are going to change […]

Hurrah ! for my i Pad

When you get a new toy, you sometimes wonder what is the best way to enjoy it. My wife bought me an iPad for my birthday recently and after a few one-to-one sessions at my local Apple store, I’m finally getting the hang of it. Naturally, I wanted to make as much use of as […]

(Un?) Natural Wines

I read a thought-provoking article by my old friend, Douglas Wregg, of Les Caves de Pyrène, a merchant that has done more for the promotion of good French regional wines than perhaps anyone else in the UK, but I can’t help feeling a little uneasy at his infatuation with “natural wines”. For those who are […]

Try travelling in France from East to West in a hurry

Maybe it was a sense of adventure but we decided to travel from the Vallé des Merveilles between Ventimiglia and Cuneo (although the valley is actually in France) to just near Langon in the Gironde without using a toll road! Well, not so difficult really since there are hardly any toll roads going east-west, they […]

British Airways comes up trumps again

Well, British Airways have come up trumps again by supplying the best wine in steerage class that we have ever come across again. Last year, the red quarter bottle choice on my frequent flights to Italy was a very acceptable Côtes du Rhône called Mas Joséphine – a lovely, Grenache/Cincault/Carignan/Syrah blend with nice red berry, […]

Cullen Wines needs your help!

Those of you who are Bacchanalians or who have downloaded the 7th edition of Wine Behind Tne Label will know that Cullens Wines in Western Australia are one of our Stellar Cellars of the year. Here’s a plea from them to see if you can help to stop their wines being ruined. Cullen Wines needs […]

Post VinItaly meals

Relaxing in Genoa after a frustrating train journey from Verona having participated at the VinItaly dog and pony show. Italian known preponderancy  for unpunctuality is legendary and we just made our connection for Genoa at Milan by the skin of our teeth despite having a theoretical 40-minute leeway. Still a good way to relax, after […]

“Michelin Stars” for Cru Bourgeois wines?

The “bourgeois” were inhabitants of the “bourg” of Bordeaux and during the English rule they had acquired rights and privileges, notably an exemption of taxes on the wines from their vineyards. By the 15th century the bourgeois of Bordeaux were able to acquire the finest lands in the region, which were referred to as “Crus […]

2009 Bordeaux Primeurs – a first impression

There’s no doubt about it – 2009 was a great year for Bordeaux reds (can’t say that for the whites, though) and like 2005 – it’s going to be hard to find anyone who has made a real dud. However, there is one caveat. I found a number of wines, particularly in the right bank […]

Don’t be frightened to drink older wines (as long as they are well stored)

We had the opportunity, earlier this week to produce a dinner for a private group of 16 people, where I was invited to explain the wines, at which we used the opportunity to serve some of the older wines in our cellar. Now some people might be sceptical about this – especially the whites. But […]

April is going to be a busy month

Packing my bags now to prepare for my trip to Bordeaux to taste some of the much-hyped 2009 primeurs. Looking forward to tasting my daughter’s modest efforts in the entre-deux-mers along with the grand crus. (Aye – they’re a grand crew!) I’ll report back in common with lots of other wine scribes, of course, so […]

The Latest

We have just posted up our March updates for this site and would love to have your feedback whether you are Bacchanalians or not. Please do comment about the site on this blog – it will be much appreciated.  

Out of the Frying Pan?

Readers of my recent blog on the sacking of Tim Atkin by The Observer will be pleased to know that Tim has now been invited to join The Times. Tim’s first column will appear on ­Thursday 4th March, as part of  a new food and drink supplement for the paper. We wish him luck and […]

An Identity Crisis?

The Vini ad Arte convention was held at the International Ceramics Museum in Faenza on 21st and 22nd February. The protagonists of this event were the eight founder members of the Convito di Romagna (Tre Monti, Stefano Ferrucci, Fattoria Zerbina, Poderi Moroni, Calonga, Drei Dona-Tenuta La Palazza, San Patrignano and San Valentino) as well as […]

Another Good Boy Lost

This is what I used to say when my friends got married! However, this time it applies to Tim Atkin’s wine column in The Observer which is about to be crushed. This Sunday will be the last time it will appear in full as it is going to be reduced to an indication of price […]

A Hedonistic Evening

Every now and again you are entitled to a treat. I had one the other night with my friend, Peter Young. Some months ago, Peter brought me a bottle of Penfolds Grange 1999 when he came up from Dover (where he lives) for an overnight stay in London with me. I had already opened other […]

We’ve gone live!

After spending too many days getting it all together, we are (almost) ready to go! There are a few more goodies to bring in but basically, the 7th edition of Wine Behind The Label is ready to roll. Go to the bacchanalians page to take full advantage  

All will age gracefully for well over a decade

We are not talking about Brigitte, Sophia or Lauren here, but David Moore’s description of the single vineyard cuvées of Domaine Tempier’s Bandol in Provence on page 280 of the new edition of Wine Behind The Label. We had the opportunity of drinking a bottle of the 1998 Tourtine  cuvée the other day, unsurpassed by […]

Sonia’s Thoughts on Food

On this website I intend to  write about food, my profession, (not writing, cooking!), well, my adopted profession! since I was a cook for 24 years! I do not use the word “Chef” too grand and pompous, lacking humility for someone who loves the art of combining colour,  taste and texture and wants to interact […]

Vins Sans Frontières (The Official Launch of Terroir Moselle)

In the beautiful and historic city of Trier (Trèves) on the banks of the Moselle river, I attended the official launch of the “Terroir Moselle” project. This concept brings together under one theme, 3 countries, 5 wine regions and one river – the Moselle. With the help of the Leader programme of the European Union, […]

Fancy Drinking and Driving?

Two of Surrey’s most popular tourist destinations have teamed up to offer a first class joint group tour package at a price that’s distinctly affordable.  Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge and Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking have launched the group scheme, and both tours are available at the special price of just £10 per person for […]


Welcome as a member of this unique elite club of the “gastronomically washed”! Please feel free to make a comment on anything that is wine, food or travel related. As a kick off, I am very happy to report that Bryan Webb, of Tyddyn Llan in North Wales has, at last, received his long overdue […]

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