What Are The Top Travel Destinations For Wine Lovers?

travelling, Wine Tours


So we made it Friday again, eh?  As everyone’s thoughts turn to the weekend and what we’ll be getting up to, no doubt some of you will be off on a couple of trips with wine high in the agenda, as it bloody should be.  So what the not-to-be-missed wine-o destinations?

Fukushima Legacy Hits 2011 Napa Vintage…But Don’t Panic


In March 2011 a massive earthquake hit off the coast of Fukushima province on Japan’s east coast.  The massive concern in the subsequent aftermath was at the Daiichi nuclear power plant.  The initial damage from the earthquake, and subsequent damage from the tsunami left 3 reactors in meltdown, and officials scrambling to contain the radioactive pollution.



I just got the press release through from the brilliant team at AXA Millésimes that they’ve gone all “West Coast” and bought themselves Outpost Wines from Napa Valley.  Has MD Christian Seely been watching too much Baywatch?  Or is there real method here behind this splash of the cash?

Well of course there’s method to it all.  AXA’s wines are based firmly around terroir and the grapes.  Everywhere they own, be it in Bordeaux (Pichon Baron, Suduiraut, Petit Village), Burgundy (Domaine L’Arlot), Hungary (Disznoko), or Portugal (Quinta Do Noval), it’s true.

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Top Wine Memories of 2017 – March

Uncategorized, USA

For March there could only be one winner, an amazing trip out to Napa and Sonoma with the California Wine Industry.  Wast Coast US wine’s got a special place in my heart for the rest of my life.  Great trip, great people, and great wines!


“MARCH: Cakebread Merlot, Napa Valley, 2013

In March I went on a wino’s press trip of a lifetime (or for me at least) and headed off to California to visit Napa and Sonoma. Not only did I get to taste some wonderful wines, but I also met some friends for life.

The week gave me a much better feeling for the taste of the wine styles out there, and also helped me put the prices (which can put many off) into a better context. My top wine from there was Cakebread Cellar’s 2013 Merlot.

It’s by no means the best wine I tried out there, but that’s the wine we used when myself, Bruce Cakebread, Eleanor Standon  from R&R, and Ashford Castle’s top drawer sommelier, Phillip Dunne, nailed the pizza-pairing competition. If we’d have let him, Phil would still be there drizzling olive oil on it with a teaspoon. Chef would be proud, my lad!”



CALIFORN-I-A DAY 4: Aesthetics, Action Shots, and Agent 69

Uncategorized, USA


I’m not even sure how to describe some of the scenes from Day 4 but I’ll have go. We had a couple of vineyard visits that couldn’t have been more different if they tried, met up with one of Napa’s top somms for a glass or two of something special, and ended up at yet another belting dinner washed down with some top wines. All in a day’s work. 

#NWTW Week 32: ON TOUR – Red Wines in California

New Wine This Week, Reds, USA

week 32 LA wine bar

I said in my first post of this week that Cabernet Sauvignon is the legendary red wine of California. Is that strictly true? Hmmm, I’m not actually that sure. It’s definitely the grape that produces the wines from Napa in particular that go for hundreds of bucks in swanky LA restaurants. I know that much.

The Best of Burgundy #5: On Yer Bike, Son!

France, Info For Beginners, Info For More Seasoned Winos, Reds, Whites

Burgundy is really one of those places that is great to use to explain a few more general things. Last post I was saying about terroir and how everywhere in the world has it and is affected by it, but Burgundy’s one of those places where it’s easy to highlight the big differences it makes.

I decided to use the last post in this intro to Burgundy series for another of these topics. That’s the fact that when you think of a wine region, like Burgundy (or Piemonte in Italy, or Barossa in Australia, or Finger Lakes in the US, etc) i guess you have this thing in your head that you think “right I’ve had a Pinot Noir from there before, i know what this is going to be like”. But to be massively annoying, it’s just not like that

Thing is, these regions can be pretty big areas of land covering some really different areas of a country. We’ve spoken before about how things like hills and valleys, soils and stones, and obviously the weather and climate have massive effect on how a wine, from grape to glass (can’t remember where i nicked that from?!). Well Burgundy has the lot, somewhere within the border.

A very official looking map of Burgundy

A very official looking map of Burgundy

Burgundy’s over of the eastern side of France, pretty landlocked. It starts up close to the Champagne area, with the Yonne Valley going south to the Côte de Nuits, then onto the Côte de Beaune, and finishing down by the Beaujolias region with the Côte Chalonnaise and the Maçonnais.

Up north in the Yonne region (where Chablis is) it’s hilly and frosty. You’re right up by a town called Auxerre and that’s only a couple of hours drive from the north of France. Then down south by Lyon (a couple of hours from Nice and Monaco) you’ve got the Maçonnais. It’s a lot flatter, much warmer, and vines spend their time vying for space with cows and corn on the valley floor. I’m not going to bang on about the differences in every different sub-region here, I think you get the point.

The generalisation comes from the grapes and, to a large extent, the way the wine is made. It’s a branding exercise in itself. You can make a sweeping statement about the chances of a white wine from Burgundy being chardonnay, or that centuries old Burgundian winemaking techniques are in full swing up and down the region. But it stops there, as it does for wines from Napa in California or Walker Bay in South Africa.

The best bits about this are that you have an excuse to try more of it and that if you ever get a chance to go to one of these places, it’s a great holiday. If you enjoy your wine and your cycling or hiking you’d be like a pig in poo round here.

There's always room for a little rest here and there

There’s always room for a little rest here and there

So wherever you end up for a wine holiday dust off the bike clips and saddle up, or get the walking boots from the back of the cupboard and load up on blister plasters. It’s time to get moving. And if you’re in Burgundy, well hopefully you know roughly where you’re going now!