Tim's Blog

The wine trade is buzzing with all the latest developments in Chile at the moment. Numerous journalists and correspondents are sallying back and forth to review the latest vineyards and grape developments. Indeed, I shall be sallying forth in a couple of weeks to do just that, perhaps in a more leisurely way – on…(Read More)

At Richmond Wine Society on Tuesday and Wednesday nights we tasted our way through some wines that for me, defined what the annual wine awards are about.       It’s easy to see these awards as the industry trying to drum up some hype, but my experience over the last few years has…(Read More)

The first of this year’s medal winning tastings took place at Teddington last night.  This is a much anticipted event as we reveal some of the best wines judged at this year’s wine competitions.  As always our focus was on gold medal and trophy winning wines, and this year’s results have delivered…(Read More)

English sparkling wine was our theme for the early July tasting and as the temperature gauge hit 35 degrees we sweltered through a fabulous selection of top class fizz from Hampshire, West Sussex and Dorset, assisted by some examples from Champagne, Franciacorta and Argentina. English fizz is on the ascendant and the wines are regularly…(Read More)

Last night, a select group from Teddington Wine Society convened at my house to sample the delights of the Loire Valley. These lovely wines, which I had previously shown to Richmond Wine Society at the end of May, once again demonstrate the breadth and diversity of the Loire region. Everyone agreed that the Muscadet de…(Read More)

Now completed two Loire tastings at Richmond Wine Society, and I think everyone was impressed by the diversity and quality of the wines we tasted. If you missed the tasting, and want to try some of the highlights, they are available in the Shop. We started in the West with a crisp and minerally Muscadet…(Read More)

Top night at Richmond Wine Society as we focused on the depth and breadth of the Loire Valley. For many this region has become synonymous with everyday quaffing wines and a few expensive Sancerres.  But we discovered a whole new world of top class Muscadet, the diversity of Chenin Blanc and just how good Cabernet…(Read More)

A fascinating Champagne Masterclass unfurled at Bacco last night as we explored Champagne through the eyes of Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards. With all the hype and marketing bling that the big names of Champagne bring to bear, the existence of the Echelle des Crus – a system that gives a % rating to…(Read More)

awaits us in tonight’s Masterclass at Bacco. The big Champagne houses have done a great job of brand building, but brands require consistency, achieved by blending from many areas and vintages.  Few people realise there are wines of wonderful quality and great value, made with great artistry and heritage by smaller producers.  We will…(Read More)

At Richmond Wine Society on Monday and Wednesday this week we explored cool climate South Africa, tasting a magnificent range from Constantia, Stellenbosch and Walker Bay. We kicked off with a trio from the famous Klein Constantia estate, comprising a delightfully mature 2011 Cap Classique: 100% Chardonnay, made in the Methode Traditionelle with a pleasant…(Read More)

Old Australians

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Last Monday we met at Bacco for an extraordinarily diverse evening of mature Australian wines. With vintages going back to 1996, this was an incredible opportunity to witness at first hand how top class Australian Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon develop. It is rare to find wines from Australia this old and…(Read More)

Teddington Wine Society met for the first time at the Railway in Teddington last Thursday. We explored the well-known grapes such as Syrah, Grenache and Viognier and lesser known Marsanne, Roussanne and Mourvedre – varieties that were pursued by pioneering wine makers in California in the 1980s, seeking to  celebrate the quality of these grapes…(Read More)

Rhone varietals were the theme of two great evenings at Richmond Wine Society this week.  We explored the diversity of well-known grapes such as Syrah, Grenache and Viognier as well as the unsung heroes of Marsanne, Roussanne and Mourvedre. The term Rhone Rangers is coined from a movement that started in California in the…(Read More)

Brula Birthday

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I had the pleasure of being taken out to Brula last night in lovely St Margarets. This restaurant has been a stalwart of the local dining scene and has maintained a consisntly high quality reputation. My good friend friend Stefano Bergamin, who owns Bacco in Richmond has recently bought Brula and I’m sure he…(Read More)

St Emillion was the focus at Teddington Wine Society this month, with a similar line up of wines to the Richmond tastings a couple of weeks before. Once again the variety of vintages we tasted highlighted the importance of vintage in Bordeaux. The 2010’s were full-bodied, plump and structured, with potential for good…(Read More)

It was a privilege to attend the 20th anniversary wine tasting at the Goring & Streatley Wine Society last week.  Having been part of my life for over ten years, it was great to catch up with some old friends, and a pleasure to celebrate such a milestone. The tasting, led by Ian Hewson, was…(Read More)

An absolutely fabulous masterclass was enjoyed at Bacco last night.  In fact it was two masterclasses in one! We welcomed Guillemette de Couesnongle who presented a fabulous tasting of Loire wines from Langlois Chateau, a top class estate owned by Bollinger.  We tasted a comprehensive selection ranging from some outstanding Cremant de Loire through some…(Read More)

They came, they drank, they tasted over 40 cheeses and 40 different wines plus ale, cider and even some Malt whisky. We reached the culmination of our five week Cheese Course last night and truly tested everyone’s expectations and beliefs as to what cheese can be. A conventional start of Sancerre with Crottins de…(Read More)

Week 4 of the Cheese Course focused on ewe’s milk cheese, and another revelatory evening was in store.  Some of the best known cheeses in the world, such as Manchego and Roquefort come from sheep’s milk, which came as a big surprise to many. Highlights from the cheese and wine matching were The…(Read More)

One of the confusing things about Saint-Emilion is the term Grand Cru.  There are nearly one thousand estates, domaines or chateaux in the large appellation of Saint-Emilion and as long as producers adhere to four criteria they can add the term Grand Cru onto their label. To qualify for Saint-Emilion Grand Cru…(Read More)

A second good night, the whites showed as well as the first night, but our first red displayed a low level cork taint which I hadn’t picked up when decanting earlier in the day.  The disappointment was converted into a positive learning experience by understanding the damp cardboard/rotting vegetation characteristics on the nose…(Read More)

Fascinating tasting last night at the Richmond Wine Society as we explored the intricacies of Saint-Emilion as well as venturing into some lesser-known white Bordeaux.  Places available tonight – contact me asap if you would like to come! We kicked off with an utterly delicious Entre deux Mers Chateaux Fontenille 2013, which oozed crisp…(Read More)

Last night at the second ‘class’ of my Cheese Course, I like to think some people experienced something of a revelatory moment! I presented a trio of camemberts, and we absolutely ‘got’ the difference between a perfectly nice, ordinary supermarket Camembert, (which was a delight with a simple Chenin Blanc from South Africa) and a…(Read More)

Terrific evening at Bacco in Richmond last night, as we explored the wonderful diversity of Barolo and other wines from around Piedmont. Many people had not heard of white grapes Favorita, Timorasso and Arneis, and these proved to be absolute revelations, and a refreshing alternative to the oceans of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio out…(Read More)

Tuscany and Central Italy is the theme for the first tastings in the Richmond and Teddington Wine Society calendars. The top class wines of Tuscany are well known and loved but there are many, superb gems to be found in Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo and Lazio. Italy is a constant joy and delight and this tasting…(Read More)

January is normally very quiet in the wine world but 2015 is proving to be the exception! Looking at what is going on over the next 12 months I have barely paused for breath since Christmas. My brand new Cheese Course  filled up in less than 48 hours, I have had a terrific response to…(Read More)

The Christmas Extravaganzas at the Richmond Wine Society have been the centre piece of this week’s tasting schedule and on Tuesday and Wednesday this week over 70 of us attended what has become an unmissable annual event. We always splash out a bit on something spectacular and this year was no exception. Particular highlights…(Read More)

Blue Cheese and sweet wine A personal favourite of mine – it is a surprise to many how fantastic the pairing can be of a rich Roquefort, a creamy dolcelatte or a mature stilton with a high quality dessert wine. Sauternes and Barsac sweeties are delightful as are Monbazillac and Bergerac Moelleux, any botrytis Semillon…(Read More)

Medal Mania

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The International Wine Challenge (IWC) and Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) have become two of the most important wine competitions in the world. April sees a frantic, two week judging fest, where hundreds of the world’s top tasters convene to taste tens of thousands of wines. Trophies, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded…(Read More)

corkage & byo

Corkage and BYO

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I am very lucky, my job requires me to spend a disproportionate amount of time tasting fine wines and matching them with different dishes – often in restaurants. The matters of corkage and BYO (Bring Your Own) often arise and over the years I have discovered that a surprisingly large number of establishments are happy…(Read More)