Kathleen’s Blog

Kathleen’s Blog

Tasting a selection of Jackson Family Wines

I recently attended a tasting of Barbara R. Banke’s selection of Jackson Family Wines, the Californian producer of premium wines. Had I not already known their status even before the actual tasting, two other factors would have told me. First of all, the tasting was held at Claridge’s; and secondly, one description referred to what […]

Barboursville Vineyards

For all our readers we will now be bringing you two regular weekly full profiles from the 11 & and upcoming 12th editions of Wine behind the label with our ratings. This should give you an excellent idea of what you can enjoy when purchasing a full guide. Here Kathleen Burk assesses the Barboursville Vineyards […]

Weingut Ernst Triebaumer, Rust, Burgenland, Austria

The first Triebaumer, a Lutheran fleeing from the Catholic Counter-Reformation, arrived in Rust in 1691, married the daughter of a local winemaker, and set the family on its course for the following three-and-a-quarter centuries. Rust is the centre of the production of Ruster Ausbruch botrytis wines, amongst the greatest sweet wines in the world, and […]

Jordanian Wines, Ancient And Modern

Not long ago, my husband and I spent eight days in Jordan as part of an historical and archaeological tour. Naturally I was looking forward to drinking Jordanian wines, about which I knew virtually nothing. What I had not anticipated was that I would also see two ancient wineries. Thanks to the knowledge of our […]

Weingut Rainer Wess

The father-daughter combination of Rainer and Christina Wess work in tandem in both the vineyards and the winery – deciding when to pick, what yeast to use, and when to bottle. Whilst Rainer appears to do more of the clambering around the tanks, Christina takes the lead in marketing. It’s a successful combination, with Weingut […]

A Winery on Vancouver Island

My husband Michael and I spent last week at a family reunion on Vancouver Island. Along with the beautiful scenery, the island has a burgeoning wine industry, and I wanted to take a half-day to visit at least one producer and taste his range of wines. We were staying in the island’s capital, Victoria, and […]

Wine and Food at the Edinburgh Festival

My husband and I recently spent a week at the Edinburgh Festival, interweaving going to Monteverdi operas with having lunch at some celebrated restaurants. We booked two of them, both of which have Michelin stars, several weeks before driving up, and all three turned out to be part of one organization. On our first full […]

History of Wine part 3 – Rome and Pliny, The Early Wine Connoisseur

Although the Greeks did differentiate between wines geographically – wine from Lesbos was of a certain quality, for example – true connoisseurship apparently had to await the Romans. Here, my hero is Pliny the Elder, who is probably remembered primarily for being killed in 79 AD by the eruption of Vesuvius. But in his own […]

Romania and Its Wines

Romania as a wine-producing country is a conundrum. As a quantity producer, its history stretches back to its position as Dacia, a province of the Roman empire, but as a quality producer, its history must be measured in decades, not centuries. In the 19th century, it suffered the same phylloxera devastation as the rest of […]

History of Wine part 2 – the Greeks

In many parts of the ancient world, such as in Egypt, wine was drunk primarily by the kings and the upper classes. In Greece, however, it was drunk by everybody. It played an important role in The Odyssey of Homer, in Odysseus’ fight with Polyphemus. Odysseus relates how he had saved from harm Maron, a […]

The History and Culture of wine

So who first invented wine?  It is probably more to the point to ask who first discovered wine?  It is not difficult to make it.  On the outside skin of the grape is the yeast and on the inside is the sweet juice:  mix them together, leave it for a few days for the yeast […]


    The wine area of Gaillac in South-West France surrounds the cathedral city of Albi, east of Toulouse and north of Carcassone. Cut through by the Tarn River valley, it is a landscape of rolling hills and plateaux. As befits an area which saw extensive warfare during the Albigensian Crusade and the Hundred Years’ […]

A Small but Focused German Tasting

I’m responsible for the German section of WBTL, and its recent publication was a signal to begin work on the next. My first duty is to take a close look at the 2014 vintage, but I also wanted to look at some producers which are not yet discussed in the guide. Because the organising principle […]

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