All Wine Info
The fascination of Alsace is the kaleidoscope of flavours - from bone dry to very sweet - delivered by unusual grape varieties planted in a very specific terroir. The vineyards are strung in a narrow - less than 3km wide - band running for 60km. north-south along the eastern foothills of the Vosges...
“There’s a complex series of criss-crossed faults among the sub-Vosgian hills, giving a wide variety of soils among the best vineyards, usually at altitudes of 200-420 metres, from schist to...”
A tiering of the Alsace vineyards - mainly based on analysis of the soil and exposure to the sun - was enshrined in November 1975 with the conception...Read More
"…if red wine can be nubile, this red wine is" - Andrew Jefford, in The New France
“That immediate fruitiness of the Gamay grape, allied to refreshing acidity, moderate alcohol levels - usually 12.5 degrees to 13 degrees - and ability to be served cool (don’t overchill, or you...”
We only offer one (excellent) Beaujolais-Villages: note that there is good land for Gamay outside the Crus, particularly in the north of the...Read More
The Burgundy Pyramid
“Making sense of the complexity of the complexity of Burgundy isn’t easy. Though Burgundy only comprises 5% of France’s vineyard area, it holds 100 different Appellations, 25% of the entire French...”
This table shows the pyramid of quality in Burgundy. Note in particular that only 13% of the wine produced is from 1er or Grand Cru vineyards. (N.B....Read More
There’s something very complete about our annual offer of wines from the Languedoc and Roussillon: with whites, rosés and reds, and wonderful fortified wines, the Vins Doux Naturels which are such a speciality of the region, there should be something for all tastes. Secondly, there are wines for...
“There are two sub regions (Pic Saint-Loup and La Clape) which are allowed to put their names alone on the label. These two are presumably to be up-graded to full appellations in their own right at...”
We occasionally refer to wines from this region showing the influence of the Garrigue, a word which has no exact translation in English. It describes...Read More
In early February I undertook our annual visit to the wine fair in Angers, escaping the snow which engulfed much of the UK during that week. This is the yearly opportunity for the vast majority of vignerons in the Loire valley to show off their latest offerings to the rest of the world. The early...
“We have found several new wines from a number of our best sources to complement the many perennial favourites. ”
Gordon Coates April 2009Read More
Sadly, there isn’t enough Austrian wine! Austria is a country with a strong and historic wine-drinking culture, but it only produces as much wine as a middle-sized region of France, for example the Loire. Export isn’t necessarily a priority for many growers, but fortunately some of the top...
“The vineyards all lie in the east of the country, around Vienna, downstream along the Danube to the west, and in a wide band south to Styria. Best known are white wines, particularly from Riesling -...”
Austria is also the source of some of the greatest sweet wines in the world. Key to this is the Neuesiedlersee, an enormous shallow lake south-east...Read More
Germany = Riesling. Yes, the Germans still grow piles of Muller-Thurgau and other white varieties; and they make more than passable, if expensive, reds from Pinot Noir (= Spatburgunder), Dornfelder and even Syrah. But for centuries the most admired wines of Germany, once as highly priced as First...
“The big debate now is how dry you like your wine. The Germans demand dry Riesling as an accompaniment to food. Elsewhere in the world drinkers love the traditional “noble sweet” styles, in...”
A simple guide to decoding the names of the wines: the first word is usually the name of the village, but with -er added. The second is the name of...Read More
Malbec and More?
“We should all be drinking more Argentine red wine. Argentina has only a fifth of the sales of wine (by value and volume) of Chile within Britain. The US is the Argentines’ most important export...”
By far the most successful grape in Argentina is Malbec. It’s original home is in south-west France, and specifically in the appellation of Cahors....Read More
Chile is probably the most progressive wine-producing country in the world right now. Look at the evidence of this success story, and the determination to drive this still young wine industry forward:
“• Production doubling every ten years • An increased focus on cooler-climate regions, notably along Chile’s long coastline,...”
Among the reds - and do remember about three quarters of the quality vineyard area in Chile is still given over to reds - the dominant variety is...Read More
In global terms New Zealand wine production is tiny - about half a percent of the world’s output - but small really is beautiful there. New Zealand has one of the most exciting, profitable and fast-expanding wine industries in the world. The vineyard area is doubling every 5-6 years, the number...
“New Zealand has such a bright image: there, far cross the sea, lies the home of a friendly population, distinguished by sporting giants; and stunningly empty landscapes with clear and unpolluted air....”
The wines do mirror this vision. There is a purity about the best, with that bracing climate showing through in the glass. Sauvignon Blancs,...Read More
You certainly know when you are in an African vineyard - you are told to watch out for puff adders, and you can see the paths left on the surrounding hills by troops of raiding baboons. I covered fifteen hundred miles around the Cape winelands in April 2009, and it was a hugely stimulating trip....
“Why is or printed list subtitled “Ancient and Modern”? First, because we have to get away from the idea that South Africa is a “New World” wine country. The first grape harvest for...”
Along with that history come notions of national style, a concept difficult to pin down, but unquestionably relevant to Cape reds, which so often...Read More
“Here at SVS we find California tricky. Wine produced in the Sunshine State seems to fall into two camps - the huge sea of cheap, nastily sweetened fruit-juice purveyed by Gallo et al; and the highly...”
The unique feature of California is of course, the grape variety Zinfandel. Related to the Italian Primitivo, this was introduced to the States...Read More
Our Favourite Selection
“From a very sunny, well-exposed site, this has become one of our benchmark wines: lightly (almost undiscernibly) oaked and with an ability to age...”
“This refined and pure Syrah is new to our list - in style it’s worlds away from an inky Australian example, rather crafted in a light and fragrant...”
“From about 50% Syrah, 25% Grenache and 25% Carignan, grown on black schist vineyards near the village. Youthful, opaque purple. This delivers a...”
“Ripe pears and a touch of lavender honey on the nose. Attractive weight and rich texture, with bright, pure flavours of pear and melon: a lovely...”
“Sourced from the Woolshed block of Mud House’s Marlborough vineyards in the upper Wairau Valley. The sheltered hillside site and clay soils shape...”
“Deep ruby. Ripe and seductive scent of morello cherries. This combines great purity of red fruit with impressive concentration. Lushly textured....”
“In 1998, after building a huge reputation at both Delegats and Martinborough Vineyards, Larry McKenna established Escarpment on 24 hectares of...”
“We continue with this excellent vintage fizz, made from Chenin Blanc (here known as Pineau de Loire) with 10% Chardonnay. Chenin Blanc has excellent...”
“The “nameless” wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 15% of each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Soft purple. Aromas of red fruit and cloves....”
“The hillside slopes of the Apalta valley, a sub-region of Chile’s warm Colchagua Valley is a superb terroir for red grapes, notably Carmenère....”