Mad for Madeira
BYWine - know more, buy better
by Richard Bampfield MW
2y ago
My visit to Madeira for a week was holiday rather than work but it did allow me to visit three producers – and drink Madeira on every occasion that presented itself! Above all, it reminded me that there is nothing like visiting the source to gain a better appreciation of the product and to fire the enthusiasm. Madeira, both the wine and the island, is remarkable. If you like ravines, vertiginous cliffs that rise sheer from the sea, forest walks, steep winding roads and dramatic scenery around every corner, then Madeira is for you. If you’re looking for a beach holiday, it probably isn’t – most ..read more
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Cap Classique is 50
BYWine - know more, buy better
by Laura Clay
2y ago
Cap Classique celebrates 50 years. A wine history that is younger than I am makes me feel ancient but, do you know what, I don’t care because I’m totally up for celebrating with Cap Classique their 50 years of making South African fizz and an exciting new wine story. It all began with Kaapse Vonkel 1971. Kaapse Vonkel translates as Cape sparkle which could easily have become the generic name for South African sparkling wine when others joined Simonsig in producing quality sparkling wine but, in their wisdom, as a group then an Association, they hit open Cap Classique – easier to say, easier t ..read more
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Organic Bordeaux
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by Laura Clay
3y ago
Being organic is not a piece of cake. Being organic in Bordeaux can be particularly tricky. But it’s a challenge more and more winemakers are prepared to undertake, even in Bordeaux. The region may be criticised for lagging behind the trend towards sustainability and organic winemaking practices but this is unfair and far from the truth. 12% of French vineyards are currently organic compared to 13% of Bordeaux vineyards. And when you do the sums 13% of a large region embraces a lot of organic vineyards – almost 14% of all of the 94 000ha of France’s organic vineyards in fact so I don’t think ..read more
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At last – The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia
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by Laura Clay
3y ago
Whose book shelf hasn’t displayed an edition of Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopaedia? Whose fingers haven’t flipped the pages to learn, to refresh or to check? Whether you’re a wine pro or wine enthusiast the likelihood is that you will have had a copy of at least one of its past 5 editions. After a 10 year hiatus and published for the first time by National Geographic, you can ditch your old one and make space, quite a lot of space, for the latest one. It’s bigger, better and certainly heavier than its previous incarnations. The easy to use format is the same; divided by country and then by region ..read more
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WSET Level 2
BYWine - know more, buy better
by Laura Clay
3y ago
WSET Level 2 Date/Time Date(s) – 13/03/2021, 20/03/2021, 27/03/2021, 03/04/2021 9:30 am – 13:30 pm Location ZOOM The WSET Level 2 Award Course is suitable for anybody who keen to learn more about wine, extending their knowledge to help them buy and enjoy wine more. The course is also appropriate for those employed in the drinks industry and such is a qualification with full accreditation from the UK Government’s Qualifications & Curriculum Authority as a Level 2 Vocational Qualification. This qualification provides the knowledge required for those wishing to ..read more
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New New York State Wines
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by Laura Clay
3y ago
Not in any way claiming to be an expert on New York State (NYS) wine, I nevertheless presented a virtual tasting on that very subject. I soon discovered that I wouldn’t need to make any excuses for my lack of knowledge because it seems no one is a NYS expert, even the people who grow the grapes and make the wine. Diligently doing my research, and thus learning as I went along, I found that this is exactly what the winemakers say they are doing themselves. On the webinars I watched, it being tricky to get out there to visit just at the moment, I heard winemakers say that the area as a wine reg ..read more
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The Crus Bourgeois Alliance Is Updated
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by Laura Clay
3y ago
In those untroubled, pre-pandemic times, a highlight of my year was the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc tasting – always a privilege to taste so many top quality Bordeaux and to gain a real insight into the vintage and its expression across different Médoc appellations. I’ve also had the honour in the past to be a judge for what was the annual Coupe awarded to the top Cru Bourgeois of the vintage. So I was delighted to discover that a perk of being a Bordeaux Accredited Tutor and Médoc Ambassador, or possibly being Chairman of the AWE, was to receive 3 bottles to taste from the lauded 20 ..read more
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Clean Wine – the broader context
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by Richard Bampfield MW
3y ago
The launch of a new, “clean” wine called Avaline by Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power has raised hackles amongst the wine fraternity who, understandably, resent the accompanying claim that most other wines must, by definition, be dirty. However, much though I envy those who see the world in terms of black and white, I seldom do; in this case, I too would defend the wine industry against claims that it is dirty but I also believe that much of what goes on is, at best, grubby. And that perhaps this is the call to arms the wine business needed to sharpen up its act.   One of the reasons wine ..read more
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The Perfect Steware for the Right Wine Part II – Orange Wine
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by Laura Clay
4y ago
You may already possess the ideal Pinot, Chardonnay or Cabernet glass but is your wine cabinet lacking the perfect glass for Orange Wine. You may not have even known you needed such a thing, well some of us have done some extensive research on your behalf in case you do. My friend Clive Platman tasted, scored and reported on the experience of tasting Orange wine in a variety of wine glass styles, over three rounds and with a nail-biting finish. Tbilvino Qvevris 2017 DO Kakheti Georgia (12% abv)   Provenance A Georgian Orange wine, made from the white Rkatsiteli grape.  The juice ..read more
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The Perfect Glass for the Right Wine Part I – Xinomavro
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by Laura Clay
4y ago
Clive Platman, my friend and fellow wine geek, I’m sure he won’t mind me calling him that, finds, like the rest of us, he has time on his hands. Rather than simply hitting the bottle, he has hit the bottle under the guise of stemware research. As a member of one of the monthly wine groups he organises in Birmingham, I can attest to the fact that this would have been done thoroughly, scientifically and with careful expertise. Clive claims he has in the region of 25 different glass profiles to choose from, some of which probably needed a good dusting off through lack of use and many of which are ..read more
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