Letter From Colombo – Week 3


A MARSH BECOMES A BIODIVERSITY CENTRE Kotte Marsh, situated just outside Colombo has always been a good spot for an evening walk watching waders and the odd nesting Paradise Flycatcher. At one time, there were plans to drain it and build a housing complex. There was an uproar from nature lovers. It is now being…

Tasting Wine With Friends in London


The tasting list included Champagne Perrier-Jouet NV, Barbadillo Manzanilla Solear, Niepoort Douro White 2011, Crawford River Young Vines Riesling 2010, Hugel Gewürztraminer 2008, Rene Mur Muscat Alsace Grand Cru Vobourg 2000, Warwick Cabernet Franc 2008, Warwick Pinotage 2009, Torbreck Cuvee Juvenille 2009 and Moss Wood Amy’s Blend 2010.

A Great Gattinara


I was being driven to the Gattinara vineyards in the Alpine foothills of northern Italy. I tried to talk to the grim faced driver. “He is a Russian,” the girl from Antonilolo said. I spoke to him in Russian and he nearly fainted! Was my Russian that shocking? That was a few years ago. This…

English Wines at Harrogate Food show


Julia Trustram Eve of the English Wine Producers conducted a tasting of seven English wines at the Harrogate Speciality Food Show on Monday 27th June 2011. Jenkyn Place Brut 2007: Predominantly Chardonnay (60%) with the rest made up of the two Pinots. Too acidic, short with no consistency or flavour. Difficult to imagine paying £24.99…

Jacqueson Grand Cru Avize 1995


On a warm, sunny spring day, I drank a bottle of old champagne with a dear friend. I have been feeling out of sorts for over a week and the Jacquesson Grand Cru Avize from the very good 1995 vintage was the perfect pick me up. It was one of several from a visit to…

Buying Champagne


I like to drink champagne mostly as an aperitif and some times with seafood and white fish. Chardonnay based wines from the Côtes des Blancs fit the bill very well. The big Champagne Houses in Reims and Epernay make excellent non-vintage blends and prestige cuvees using their vast and varied reserve wines. The good smaller…

Back to Reds


Back home in Yorkshire after ten weeks away in Sri Lanka eating mainly fish and drinking only beer and Black Label, I have been relishing the Reds – both meat and wine. Even wines I did not care for very much like Rockford’s Moppa Hills 1999 tasted pretty good. Pontet-Canet 2002 was sublime. A bottle…

A Remarkable Cellar in Sri Lanka


I had dinner with an old friend in Colombo yesterday who has the most remarkable cellar of over 4000 bottles – Rheingau Rieslings from Tony Jost, Frescobaldi‘s Brunello, Ornellaia, Sasacaia, Hill of Grace, Grange etc. Untill his new air-cnditioned cellar is ready, he keeps the wine in 25 Eurocaves!

Van Zeller


I had dinner at Van Zeller’s in Harrogate yesterday. The food was good without being great. The wine list was uninspiring and the markup was ridiculous. I have no problem with restaurants charging a fair price for good food but a 300 – 400% mark up for grape juice they did not ferment is immoral.

First Game of the Season


I had my first game of the season the other day. A good friend who shoots on Sundays brought me a few partridges and a grouse. They were roasted wrapped in bacon and served with Anna Potatoes and red cabbage. Ployez-Jacquemart 1996 en magnum set the scene for the Josmeyer Alsace Grand Cru Hengst 1997,…