Marques de Murrieta

Murrieta menu

One of my favourite Rioja producers is Marques de Murrieta, which happens to be one of the oldest and most famous estates.  It can actually claim to be older than Rioja itself, as Murrieta was established in 1852, and the Denominacion d’Origen (D.O.) was created in 1925! Lucian Murrieta was of South American decent. He […]


Chilled reds

chilled red

I’m frequently asked about chilling red wines, particularly as people return from drinking chilled reds on holiday abroad.  Very often in warmer regions, the challenge is to keep red wines from becoming too warm and soupy,  so they are kept under refrigeration.  A chilled red on a warm day can be refreshing, rather like iced […]

2016 Wine Wish List

Wine  Wishes

If I were to create a wish-list of what I’d love for 2016, it would read something like this: That the proposed minimum pricing legislation is carefully thought-out before being implemented.  I for one, do not want to have to pay even more for wine.  I have yet to be convinced that pricing will impact […]

Wines for Christmas Day

turkey & wine

If you are part of a large gathering on Christmas Day, choose wines which will appeal to everyone, rather than anything too esoteric. Save your prized bottles for a quieter time, when you can appreciate them better, and not have to worry about excited children knocking over glasses! If you are having a fish starter, […]

Beaujolais season!

Beaujolais & food

If you are lightening up for summer, then take a closer look at Beaujolais. It’s the quintessential summer red from France – light in body and alcohol, with barely-there tannin, and bursting with fresh raspberry and cherry.  Unusually, the wine (made from Gamay grapes), undergoes an enzymatic fermentation called carbonic maceration, which results in vibrant […]

Discovering Oseleta

Maureen O'Hara _ Sandro Boscaini

Wine students are frequently overwhelmed with the number of grape varieties they have to study when it comes to Italy.  At WSET Level 2, the course syllabus is primarily varietal-driven, yet when the course is delivered differently in relation to Italy as it is impossible to cover the multitudinous unusual varieties on offer. At WSET […]

Australian Chardonnay

bernard hickin

The changing face of Australian Chardonnay It seems hard to believe, but Australian Chardonnay is a relative newcomer to the wine scene.  In the early 1970s, Murray Tyrrell of Tyrrells, and of Bob Oatley of Rosemount, led the way in creating a full-flavoured, oaky, dry Chardonnay, to replace Riesling which dominated at the time.  It […]

Penfolds Bin wines

penfolds logo

Australian Shiraz is one of the world’s most recognisable and popular styles, and owed much to Penfolds.  Until the 1950s, Australian wines were fortified with spirit, and drank ostensibly for medicinal purposes.  Max Schubert came back from a European tour with a yearning to replicate the wines he had tasted there.  He continued to make […]

Best wines for Christmas


Many people ask for wine recommendations at this time of year.  I am fortunate to be attend retailers’ wine tastings, where they show their exclusive wines, and am pleased to relate that there are many superb wines on offer, and some exceptional value.  The flipside of this is that there are more disappointing wines than […]