Grape Britain: Hattingley Valley – a warm ray of sunshine on a bleak wintery day…

In the last 10 years hectarage of planted vines in the UK has more than doubled making wine one of the fastest growing agricultural products in the UK. Visit any supermarket and you’ll discover many increasingly impressive bottles from some of the big Estates – Nyetimber, Chapel Down and Camel Valley in Cornwall to name a few.

Interest in English wine has surged along with the rise of craft beers and locally sourced produce. Customers are increasingly interested in tasting wines from lesser-known producers but who are these new winemakers?

Hence my quest – Grape Britain – to visit everyone of the 500+ English and Welsh Vineyards

Logo_HV ESW_no backgroundSomewhere between the M3 and the south coast sits a criss-cross of country lanes, roads so entwined you easily find yourself lost. It is here in the heart of Hampshire you will find Hattingley Valley and it sits perfectly in this idyll. It was quite a sight for a Londoner – the bare branched trees forming tunnels along the roads. It had me wondering if I was on my way to Westeros.

Simon Robinson, a former lawyer, established Hattingley Valley in 2008 with the help of Emma Rice, Founder of Custom Crush, a wine analysis laboratory.  Together they have grown the vineyard into a modern, eco-friendly winery over 60 acres across two sites. Simon and Emma and their teams take pride in the quality their work and the use of the latest technology. They were the UK’s first winery to adopt solar power.

MICHAEL BOUDOT 019_HV tasting room

TM Michael Boudot

Ten years on, the winery has attracted a passionate and dynamic group of individuals, excited about the explosion of interest in English wines and about the prospect of working at the forefront of English wine-making.

They are separated into two distinct teams who together look after the vineyard and make the wine. The wine-making team is made up of Emma and Jacob Leadley (top photo) with help from Will Perkins (2nd Photo)



The second part of the team (vineyard team) is headed up by Lauren Merryfield (no photo) (Vineyard Manager), Roman Henrion and Tom Birkett

Everyone I spoke to was passionate about viticulture and enthusiastic to try new techniques – from new ways to provide wind and frost protection, irrigation, nutrient application and canopy management (that’s looking after every part of the vine visible above the ground).

There is a huge commitment to evaluating the Hampshire terrior and planting an experimental range of grape varieties and root stock in search of the best fruit-bearing vines.

Hattingley Valley has the potential to be one of the leading and most respected of English sparkling wines. They have already won many global awards and are a leading player in the English sparkling wine industry

The team now manages 60 acres on two well-situated sites. The vines are nurtured throughout the growing year with an environmentally sensitive approach to enhance ripeness, yield and fruit quality.

Just some of the awards Hattingley Valley has won

I was lucky therefore to have an interview with Rebecca Fisher (Marketing and Events Manager) to talk about Hattingley Valley and also put some questions forward to Jacob Leadley, wine-maker.



16th March 2018

The GrapeWizard inaugural interview

GW. What motivated you to join the wine industry ?

JL. It’s such an exciting time to be part of the emerging English wine industry.

GW. What’s going on in the month of March?   Is this month any different from any other. Has the snow caused you any problems?

JL. We are in the midst of tirage (the drawing of wine from a barrel prior to bottling). Its always very stressful, but also very rewarding, it is just great to get the wines safely into bottle then have a beer!

GW. What would you say makes the winery here at Hattingley unique?

JL. At Hattingley we have created a reputation based on quality and we work hard to maintain and improve those standards. I have been here for 7 years and have worked tirelessly to ensure we make the best possible wines every year, the wines tell all.

GW. What is the best thing about working at Hattingley?

JL. It has to be the team – we have without doubt one of the most passionate and fun-loving teams going. Coming to work and working with people so passionate is infectious.

GW.What is the one thing that scares you ?

JL. An empty wine fridge and sub-zero temperatures in April.

GW. What are your predictions for the industry in the year ahead 2018?

JL. Its going to be a bumper year – both in terms of volume and quality, but I always say that in March.


GW.   And now SIP-SAVE-STALK. What are sipping right now, investing in and what are your hot tips in the industry?


GW.  What you are drinking at the moment?

JL. Gibbston Valley – School House Block (2012) – An amazingly pure and lighter Pinot from Central Otago, New Zealand (Sadly, it’s only available to buy in NZ!).2012schoolhouse-pinotnoir


GW. What wine you would like to or have invested in and why?

JL. I wish I had put away more of our World Champion 2011 Blanc de Blancs (Hattingley’s 2011 Blanc de Blancs was awarded gold medal, best in class and ‘World Champion’ trophy in the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships 2017)

Slide3GW.  And finally who is the person or persons you most admire in the industry and why?

JL. Anyone who takes a chance and just enjoys what they do. This industry is full of passionate people and thats what makes the industry so vibrant

GW. ANd of course wine is always better if paired with music.  What music pairing would you make for your Brut,  Sparkling Rose,  Kings Cuvee and Vintage?

JL. We play so much music in the winery that it is impossible to pick a song for each of these wines.  What I will say is that these wines would not be as good without the music.

Hattingley’s range :

Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve_black background

£30 each or 6 = £180


Perfect for toasting all occasions.


A blend of several vintage wines. The grapes were hand harvested and whole bunch pressed. 15% of this wine was put in French barrels to soften the wine’s natural acidity before secondary fermentation in bottle and a minimum of 18 months ageing on its lees and at 5 months on cork to add complexity.


Pale gold in colour with an abundance of fine bubbles, this has vibrant baked apple, creamy nougat and brioche notes on the nose, supported by a hint of toast and fresh red fruit

Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly



An elegant wine with delicate nose of hedgerow flowers , it has finesse, vibrant green fruit and a characteristic toasty flavour.

Pale gold in colour and well-balanced on the palate showing crisp acidity and fine mousse. It has delicate toasty characteristics from being aged on lees whilst the gentle oak flavour adds complexity.


This wine signifies their style –  the grapes were harvested and 25% of the total blend was barrel fermented for 8 months in tank and barrel  to create texture and richness

Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly

Hattingley Valley Rose_No Vintage_black background

£36 each or 6 for £216

2014 ROSÉ

Perfect for balmy summer days.


Subtle and delicate in colour with bright red fruit and fresh acidity, supported by fine toasty notes developed by ageing in the bottle.

2014 was the best vintage to date at Hattingley Valley with near perfect growing conditions. Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes were hand picked and gently pressed. Approximately 8% of the blend was fermented in Burgundy barrels. The wine spent 5 months in tank and barrel before tirage where 2% of Pinot Précoce was added to enhance colour, body and flavour.

Hattingley Valley Kings Cuvee_black background

£80 or 6 for £480


A very limited release, the Kings Cuvée is a premium blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 100% barrel fermented and then aged for 8 months in 4-5 year old oak barrels.


A classic blend of grapes from the Home vineyard. It has a fine persistent mousse with soft approachable fruit, a subtle hint of autolysis and a delicate oak character.


After rigorous taste tests, only the top 7 barrels were selected out of 180 available. Once bottled the wine spent 30 months on lees and 6 months on cork before release.

Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly

Hattingley Valley Blanc De Blancs_black

No price on HV Website


Selected from the very best parcels of Chardonnay.


A fabulous vintage for HV.  The Chardonnay grapes were harvested between the second and third weeks of October with a good sugar:acidity ratio. The October sunshine also contributed to exceptionally ripe fruit and some wonderful wines.


This wine has a lovely deep gold colour with a green hue and a fine mousse.

The nose has delicate white fruit that gives way to a rich toasty and honeyed charm. The palate has ripe apples with a crisp yet soft acidity that is balanced by a hint of oak influence.


A rich and rounded mouth-feel and long finish.

It has great ageing potential.

As well as doing fabulous sparkling wines they also complement there range by 2 other wines.

Entice_2016 vintage_reflection_HR


2 bottles £40 or 12 for £240

Elegant English dessert wine full of aromas of peach and  elderflower  crisp acidity with a long finish.

Food pairing English blue cheese & any pudding

All vegan and vegetarian friendly

Aqua Vita Shadow -® The Electric Eye Photography



Hattingley Valley decided to hand harvest chardonnay grapes earlier than usual from the vineyards in order to retain a high level of acidity specifically for this project.

This Aqua Vitae is a smooth digestif to enjoy at the end of the meal and benefits from being served straight out of the freezer. It also makes an ideal white base spirit for a cocktail that focuses on English products.


…and that butterfly that features on the branding is the Silver-washed Fritillar.  It is a rare butterfly found on the chalk-based vineyard at Hattingley Valley in rural Hampshire. The presence of the pretty butterfly indicates the vineyard is a healthy environment with a rich biodiversity.

The weather may have been bleak and cold on the day of my visit but the team and their welcome could not have been warmer. I was very impressed by the team and and the vineyard. I would recommend HV to anyone looking for a fine English sparkling wine.  I’ve already got my bottle of Kings Cuvee and my playlist ready for the next ray of sunshine…


Enjoy Kings Cuvee with :

3rd March Mulled Wine Day. Enjoy anywhere, anytime, any place – as long as its cold !


As I write this the “Beast from the East” and a local UK storm “Emma”  is firmly beating down upon us ! – Scotland is in the grip of -15, Most of NE England has fallen to a stand still and most of SW is almost under control of the Army . Almost sounds like this could be a take over from a military dictatorship or an episode from “Game of Thrones”

The polar vortex nicknamed “Beast From The East” has spiraled in from the arctic and is to blame. Winter is coming…..

What caused this and what can we do to solve it !

A polar vortex is a mass of desperately cold air that sits above the Earth’s north and south poles.  Controlled by a large pocket of low pressure it rotates in an anti-clockwise direction at the North Pole and clockwise at the South Pole.  When the vortex is strong it is concentrated over the Arctic or Antarctic area -but when weak it can split into two or more freezing vortices. This is where the problems start as they can move south to Canada, the USA and Europe, increasing the risk of air temperatures decreasing to potentially dangerous levels.Which is what we are witnessing at the moment.


Photo taken this week showing the cold snap over most of Europe


This weeks weather affecting airports


A scene from Chinatown, London

 All this means we are cold , we are grumpy and more importantly we need a winter warmer.

Perfect timing for one of the coldest events in recent years and the US celebrating Nation Mulled wine day on the 3rd March


National  Mulled Wine Day is observed annually on March 3rd.

Mulled spirits are wine and liquors that have been heated and spiced. Mulled wine is usually made with red wine (usually inexpensive but full of fruit – Cabernet Sauvignon works best)  with various spices, fruits and sometimes slightly sweetened with honey.  Popular blends include cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus, vanilla, anise, cloves, raisins or pears. Despite its high sugar content, mulled wine is not a drink that ages well.

Historically Pubs who make their own usually make a rather thin alternative to mulled wine that was once designed to show off the wealth and generosity in Medevial times. Indeed a cookery book published about 1390 first highlight the potential benefits of a warming drink. With a recipe which included cinnamon, ginger, galangal, cloves, long pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, cardamom and grains of paradise itwas more overpowering and medicinal than it was enjoyable

what all of these recipes show is that the mulled wine is a basic drink. Not much finesse , not much elegance but a pleasant spiced alcoholic drink merely for warming the soul.Because of its basic Nature it can never command an expensive price and is therefore great in Winter for people to enjoy a drink with friends.

Searcy’s Champagne Bar in St Pancreas currently holds the world record for the highest cost per glass   (Click here for link to find out more ! )




Franz Settner and Son 5 Euro

Outstanding Value !!



Screaming eagle 1992 £500,000

Although a person who mixes spices with this scarce Cabernet is a brave person!!!


The Franz Stettner & Sohn firm is one of the largest distilleries in Bavaria. Everything began with a bottle of lemon liqueur on 12 July 1949. Since then, the firm has passed into the hands of its third generation, with premises of over 40,000 m², its own transport fleet of 23 trucks, a warehouse with a capacity of over three million litres, and six fully automated filling lines. In our selection, you will find the most diverse fruit brandies and liqueurs, distinguished wines, as well as sparkling wines, Champagnes, Federweisser, mulled wines, and fruit and honey wines. Our self-produced, alcohol-free range includes fruit juices, spritzers, refreshment drinks and mixers, energy drinks, iced tea, mineral and table waters, and syrups and of course mulled wine

Franz Settner and sons (click to go to their website )

How to make the perfect  mulled wine

Perfect mulled wine

Makes about 12 servings

2 unwaxed oranges
1 lemon, peel only
150g caster sugar
5 cloves, plus extra for garnish
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 bottles of fruity, unoaked red wine
150ml ginger wine

1. Peel and juice 1 orange, and add to a large saucepan along with the lemon peel, sugar and spices. Add enough wine to just cover the sugar, and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 – 8 minutes until you have a thick syrup.

2. Meanwhile, if you’re serving the mulled wine immediately, stud the second orange with 6 vertical lines of cloves, and then cut into segments to use as a garnish.

3. Turn the heat down, and pour the rest of the wine into the saucepan, along with the ginger wine. Gently heat through and serve with the orange segments as a garnish. Alternatively, you can allow the syrup to cool, and pour it into sterilised bottles for use at a later date.

Is mulled wine a guaranteed spirit raiser, or by far the worst thing about Christmas – Slade and paper hats included? What do you put in your own festive punch – or what would you prefer to be offered instead?

Global Gluwein


Mulled wine rpavlch flickr 2

AUSTRIA goes gaga for Glühwein

Basotxerri Gluhwein

Means: “Glowing Wine”. A steaming staple drink of ski resorts and Christmas markets nationwide.

Classic ingredients: Lemon juice + sugar + cloves + cinnamon sticks + orange + vanilla + wine (make it a bottle of Blaufränkisch to keep the whole thing Austrian).

ITALY brews bellissimo Vin Brule


Means: Simply “Mulled Wine”

Classic ingredients: Nutmeg + sugar + cloves + cinnamon + lemon peel + apple + wine (something full bodied and fruity, like a Piedmont Nebbiolo).

NORWAY does glugs of gorgeous Gløgg

Glogg Lemsipmatt Flickr 2

Means: From “glödgad vin” = “glowing, hot wine”

Classic ingredients: Orange + raisins + cardamoms + cloves + ginger + almonds + cinnamon + dash of Muscatel/Port + wine (a dry red, like a Svenska from neighbouring Sweden).

FRANCE says Vive la Vin Chaud

Vin Chaud Jf2C Flickr Public Use 2

Means: “Hot Wine”

Classic ingredients: Cinnamon + orange zest + sugar + cloves + cardamom + cheeky splash of cognac + wine (go for a good old red vin de france).

SLOVENIA snuggles up with mugs of Kuhano Vino

kuhano-vino-2 Christine

Means: “Boiled wine”

Classic ingredients: Clementines + lemon + orange + nutmeg + star anise + cinnamon + cloves + wine (there are some super Slovenian Merlots like Quercus).

FINLAND has glorious Glögi

Glogi check Raija Lehtonen Visit Finland 2

Means: “Glow Wine”

Classic ingredients: Blanched almonds + berries + raisins + cinnamon + sugar + cloves + fruit juice (grape / orange / blackberry) + wine (maybe a Scandi merlot).

Recommended grape varieties:

Fruity red wines are especially suitable for making a good Glühwein. By heating the wine the aromas which are often reminiscent of red fruit are particularly strongly expressed and create a wonderful harmony with the seasoning ingredients.

Red wine varieties  that go well with the spices include Cabernet Sauvignon, Rioja Crianza and a Merlot. Grape varieties that either have black or red fruit with little tannins and little oak will work well.  Pinot noir is especially worth a try. Even go for a German Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir).

So today is mulled wine day in most countries. even if it isn’t who needs an excuse to try a variation on any of the above recipes. Give it a try. Enjoy the warming drink , sniff the aromas and have fun.



2018 Open That Bottle Night (OTBN)

OTBN Saturday 24th February 2018

Today is a a day just like any other day , except 18 years ago a day was set aside for “open that bottle day” We all open bottle of champagne for celebration and we open bottles of port to enjoy with cheese – Sometimes you just need some ‘ME TIME’ to enjoy that bottle , that moment and that memory!

The founders of Open That Bottle Night  are Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher of the Wall St. Journal ( The event was first celebrated in 2000 and the practice has continued every year since then.

Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher write “Tastings,” the weekly wine column of The Wall Street Journal. They also are the authors of “Wine for Every Day and Every Occasion,” “Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes from a Marriage” and “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine.” A complete revision of that book, called “The New and Improved Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine,” was published in September 2002.
Ms. Gaiter and Mr. Brecher have been married since 1979. Ms. Gaiter was a national reporter and editor covering issues of race for the Journal from 1990 to 2000. Mr. Brecher was Page One Editor of the Journal from 1992 to 2000. They began writing “Tastings” in 1998 and became full-time wine columnists in 2000.

It is always celebrated on the last Saturday in February, so the date can range from the 22nd to the 29th of that month.

The originators of Open That Bottle Night realized that we all have such bottles, but we never find just the right occasion to open them up and enjoy the contents. Wine is meant to be enjoyed. OTBN allows a bottle to come out from it’s hiding place, be opened up and to be enjoyed

To some wine lovers a special bottle of wine is one that came from a particular wine region and is of a particular year. To a married couple, it may be a bottle of ordinary wine or champagne that was given them at their wedding.

Whatever makes your bottle of wine special to you, Open That Bottle Night is the annual event in which those special bottles are brought out to help us share our lives and celebrate the memories.


In a new format i will from now on highlighting SIP, SAVE and STALK on every article

Sip- is a wine that can be drunk now!

Save – is a wine that should be invested in or stored for improvement

Stalk- is to name a person, place or Wine that should be inspirational or aspirational




Taittinger Comtes BdeB 1998 £99 Berry Bros

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1998
First pressings only. 5% matured in new French oak. 100%.  Toasty, aromatic nose. The palate is fresh with lemony fruit


Quite structured and warm with some savoury bite.

Rich hazelnut, peach and pear

yet with bracing lemony acidity.

nice freshness



 1996 Ch. Petrus, Pomerol £2945 Berry Bros


PARKER – The 1996 Petrus is a big, monolithic, foursquare wine with an impressively opaque purple color, and sweet berry fruit intermixed with earth, pain grille, and coffee scents.

Full-bodied and muscular, with high levels of tannin, and a backward style, this wine will require patience.



Gerard Francis Claude Basset (born 1957) OBE, MS, MW, MBA, OIV MSc is the owner of Hotel TerraVina, a New Forest Hotel near Southampton in Hampshire, United Kingdom. He is currently the only person in the world to hold the combined titles of Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, Wine MBA, OIV MSc in Wine Management and World’s Best Sommelier.

Certainly an Inspiration !


Follow this link to learn more about Gerard


IDEAS for that bottle opening !

1. Choose the wine. Choose a wine that means the most to you, the one that you would simply never open otherwise. You’re looking for a bottle full of memories.

2. Both reds and whites are often better closer to cellar temperature (around 55 degrees) than today’s room temperature. Don’t over chill the white, and think about putting the red in the refrigerator for an hour or two before opening it if you’ve been keeping it in a 70-degree house.

3. Have a backup wine ready for your special meal, in case your old wine really has gone bad.

4. If you are having an OTBN party, ask everyone to say a few words about the significance of the wine they brought

5. Serve dinner. Open the wine and immediately take a sip. If it’s truly, irretrievably bad — meaning vinegar — you will know it right away.

6. Enjoy the wine for what it is, not what it might someday be or might once have been.


Just enjoy !


Unstuffy learning: Learning to love Chardonnay : Chablis Grand cru (4/4)

The pinnacle of the Chablis application is that of the Grand Crus. Just one hillside NorthEast of Paris show 7 plots of land on the hillside highlighting Chardonnay in all its glory.


Chablis Grand Crus (105 Hectares or 105 Rugby fields )



In recent years Chablis has endured a mixed love affair with its consumers. The 80’s and 90’s in Australia and USA put paid to the fact that over oaked whites was the way ahead. Little did those two countries realise that the image of that time was to stay until this very day. Most consumers still think there is a link between those days of big oak and the present day. As a result chardonnay is perceived as the least liked grape. Some of the best white wines are chardonnays as they offer diversity balance and elegance.  Chardonnay cannot be ignored !

So in the last of 4 parts. Chablis Grand Cru is explained.

Chablis Grand Cru

The Chablis Grand Cru appellation comprises seven Climats(or areas) :

Blanchot, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valmur, and Vaudésir.

It is mainly produced in the village of Chablis, but also at Fyé and Poinchy.


A greenish-gold appearance and with age changes to a light yellow. Can keep for 10 to 15 years, One the nose, the mineral aromas of flint


are intense. They nonetheless give way to linden




a hint of honey


and almonds.


The Fairy Ring or mousseron mushroom aroma


is a typical touch.

On the palate, the balance is perfect between liveliness and body, encapsulating the charm of an inimitable and authentic wine. The jewel in the crown of Chablis is a wine rich in nuances that finds expression through each individual area.


Chablis Grand Cru can be found in the commune of Chablis and on the right bank of the Serein, the little river which runs through the region to the northeast of the village, and is at an elevation of between 100 and 250 meters. Enjoying an excellent sunny location, the Chablis Grand Cru appellation is unique. It is spread over seven Climats, whose names feature on the labels, each with a distinct character as the Chardonnay demonstrates its wonderful variations:

Blanchot, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valmur and Vaudésir.


The terroirs, formed in the Upper Jurassic era, (150 million years ago), are composed of limestone and marl with tiny oyster fossils. Chablis Grand Cru is one of the rare French AOC wines to make reference to its geology, notably the Kimmeridgian age. The origins of which are in the Dorset villige of Kimmeridge

Map a9 copy

In Burgundy each Grand Cru vineyard has its own appellation. In Chablis Grand Cru there is only one vineyard but 7 plots

The total production surface area is 105.79 Ha

Area in production*:
1 hectare (ha) = 10,000 m² or 1 HA is 1x Internationally sized rugby field

Total area = 105.79 ha.
Blanchot: 12.39 ha.               12 x Rugby fields
Bougros: 15.79 ha.                15 x Rugby fields
Les Clos: 28.39 ha.                28 x Rugby fields
Grenouilles: 9.38 ha.           9 x Rugby fields
Preuses: 11.43 ha.                11 x  Rugby fields
Valmur: 11.04 ha.                  11 x Rugby fields
Vaudésir: 14.49 ha.               14 x Rugby fields 


Characteristics : Delicate and floral white flowers with little or no oak (especially Benoit Droin) SE Grand Cru location with a steep slope on white soil. Its setting makes it well positioned for good air flow and the sun is lost mid afternoon making it a cooler site than the other 6. This makes the wine have more finesse rather than power  Typical characteristics is White flowers


some producers don’t use wood (Benoit Droin) and some producers use Blanchot as the only Cru to mature in Oak (although very small in numbers )


 Lower on the slope and therefore more at risk of frost.  NW location of the Grand Crus. The character is Big soft and round. Only Fevre’s Cote de Bougerots shows minerality

 of chablis . as the rest are too low on the slope and can be unpredictable.

Les Clos

arguably the finest of the 7 areas. Situated on the right of the vineyard. Those vines at the bottom of the Les Clos plot are situated in deeper earth than this at the top of Les Clos. This results in fatter wines. Firm and austere racy minerality elegant

Les grenouilles.

Situated next to the road that runs at the base of the grand crus part of the steep slope of grenouilles plateaus out. This is where there is deeper soil. It is this deep soil that wines are richer and heavier as opposed to the mineral wines on the slope

Les Preuses

Sits above bougros on a gentle slope  and deeper topsoil, has fractured rock formation so has good drainage . Wines are not that aromatic but do age well .. Preuses is not an area different from all the others  it sits in the shadow of Vaudesir (especially the producer Dauvissat) Some areas retain heat better than other whilst the rest is on a lower slope and as a result is at risk of Frost



space between grenouilles and les Clos . The climate is important here. It beciomes very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter . This is because it sits in a valley and the cool air cannot dissapate. The reult is less aroma but with more body


The valley is enclosed with little air circulation  so intense summer heat   but it is more elegant and more floral than others. It is regard as second best (behind Les Clos.) Always retaining there minerality and the intense richness of fruit

2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979

10791Pinson 2010 ,Chardonnay £45 each Berry Bros


2012 Chanson, £50 each Millesima


(label representative of producer)

Ravenau 1990 Chablis Grand Crus $1350 Rare wine Company

Every wine critic has there favourite plot not down to exclusivity or price or demand from consumers. But from the mere fact that each plot has different characteristics it is for the consumer to choose. Go for what you like and let people know what you want. Don’t stand on ceremony don’t feel like you are acting like a fool. Passionate people want to help you they don’t want to ridicule you. Embrace people’s desire to make you learn. Without it you won’t enjoy it as much. Go for it. !!!

Any questions please email me. contact thegrapewizard !

See list below for producers in Chablis

Australian Day – 26th Jan 2018 – ‘flamin heck!

Australia Day Friday 26th Jan 2018

This Friday (26th Jan 2018 ) sees the world 🌍 witness a global event. A crazy event where a country in the Southern Hemisphere takes park in”their” day.

Australia 🇦🇺 day celebrates everything that is good about its citizens about its life and what it is to be an Aussie

Forget corked hats

Image result for australians

kangaroos and dingos. Australia 🇦🇺 has moved on.

Aussies are known for enjoying a tipple or two 😉 but there is a lot to celebrate.

Australia Day is celebrated each year on the anniversary of the first fleet from Britain landing in Sydney Cove. Many Australians consider January 26 with national pride, flying the Australian flag from businesses, homes, cars and even their babies. They attend festivals, fireworks, community and sporting events or gather for family barbecues at homes, parks or on the beach.

However, there is also a growing movement of people who feel the holiday must change date or theme on account of the terrible impact of colonisation on indigenous people  

home for tens of thousands of years before European settlers arrived nearly 230 years ago.

The public holiday of Australia Day always occurs on January 26 no matter what day of the week it occurs. Many people become citizens of Australia on Australia Day at Citizenship Ceremonies across the nation.

It is also the day that the Australian Government awards the Order of Australia 

  to selected Australians, which is ‘an Australian society of honour for according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service’.

The beginnings of colonised Australia As a nation, Australia had a painful start. Under British rule it was initially intended as a penal colony. The ruling classes in 18th century England considered criminals to be incapable of rehabilitation. Their method of reprimand was to segregate convicts from the general population.

In October 1786, Arthur Phillip was appointed captain of the HMS Sirius, and assigned to transport British convicts to the continent. His mission was to establish an agricultural work camp. Captain Phillip commanded a fleet of 11 ships and 1,500 passengers, including 700 prisoners. After an 8-month journey, they reached Sydney Cove.

It was January 26, 1788 when the First Fleet landed in Sydney Cove. Between January 18 and 20, 1788, the First Fleet of 11 ships sailed into Botany Bay to set up a penal colony there but the bay proved to be unsuitable. Captain Phillip took a team north and named the area on the south shore of Port Jackson as Sydney Cove. The formal establishment of the colony occurred two weeks later on February 7.

The first colony got off to a rocky beginning as the soil was poor and the settlers didn’t know how to farm. The settlement was on the verge of starvation for several years. However, under the able leadership of Captain Phillip, the people persevered. By 1792, when he returned to England, the outpost was prospering. As a sense of patriotism and pride developed, the people began to consider January 26 as their founding day. In 1818, January 26 was declared a legal holiday, marking the 30th anniversary of the British settlement in Australia.

Over the next 80 years, the population steadily increased, and five additional self-governing colonies were created. On January 1, 1901, all six colonies united to form the Commonwealth of Australia.

Australian of the Year Awards Each year on January 26, an “Australian of the Year” award ceremony takes place. The lawns of Parliament House in Canberra are the site of this prestigious event. The awards go to four individuals who have made outstanding achievements. The award categories are:

• Australian of the Year

• Senior Australian of the Year

• Young Australian of the Year

• Australia’s Local Hero

Award recipients enjoy tea with the Prime Minister


Malcolm Turnbull

Then the honours are conducted from a podium in front of Parliament House.

Events across the country• Sydney Harbour Bridge flag-raising • Australia Day in Sydney starts at the Harbour with the 7:30am raising of the Aboriginal and Australian flags   on Sydney Harbour Bridge. This dramatic event begins with the lighting of an honorary fire at the Sydney Opera House, which is carried to the Tribal Warrior, an Aboriginal vessel. Bark canoes are then dispatched to meet the Tribal Warrior beneath Harbour Bridge. Fire from each of the tribes rises like incense as the Aboriginal and Australian flags are raised, paying tribute to the nation’s history.

• Sydney Ferrython • This unique race begins at 11am, when decorated commuter ferries depart Circular Quay for Shark Island and back to Sydney Harbour Bridge.

• Salute to Australia • A spectacular 21-Gun Salute to Australia takes place at 12pm under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

• Australia Day Harbour Parade • Starting at 12:45pm, vessels in colorful flair and flags loop around Sydney Harbour and finish at Athol Bay. At 2pm,

• Tall Ships race in Sydney

• Australia Day Regatta • The Australia Day Regatta begins at 1:15pm, featuring a line-up of traditional and classic yachts,

Melbourne• Australia Day Parade •t is preceded by a rousing flag-raising ceremony at 10:30am, at Melbourne Town Hall. The Governor of Victoria gives an Australia Day Address, accompanied by the Royal Guard of Honour. At 11am, the colourful parade begins.

Brisbane fireworks cap off a day of music, interactive art, and swimming.

Perth Perth’s Langley Park is the site of the state’s largest annual fireworks celebration.

For whats on in London please click on the link below

Austrailia Day – Parties and events in london

But that is the frivolity of the day. Here a a few wines to enjoy the day with…

Worth choosing……


 2013 Penfolds Grange

1 Penfolds Grange 2013

On the Nose


soy/ hoisin, balsamic reduction, kirsch and fresh raspberry.

black fruits, black liquorice,  black pudding, black fig, black cardamom….


Big Top vintage. Full of Character and lots going on. The fruit is big Shiraz but in a grown up sort of way. Different levels of charater in the experience of the tasting. Savoury notes as well. Can be drunk now but would do well if left for years and would become a “trusted old gent” … but it will hurt your wallet !

2 Image result for giant steps wine

Giant steps Chardonnay £34.99 Selfridges

Based in Yarra Valley, Giant Steps has won a reputation for making consistently excellent wines like the ‘Sexton Vineyard’ Chardonnay. Expressive, fresh and lengthy, the wine is yellow-gold in the glass and has notes of


white peach, lemon curd and melon. With touches of fennel and lime  


The Peppermint Paddock Red Sparkling Chambourcin NV

Abundant red fruit flavours, mixed with dried herb notes and edges of tarry tannins and mineral-like acidity.

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breathtaking McLaren Vale in South Australia, and produces an enviable range of wines. A vibrant purple and persistent mousse, the bead lively; a wine that tickles the nose as it tantalizes the palate.




The nose is a swirl of exotic spice, ripe plum 

and black olive, a heady mix that draws you back for another whiff of dark fruits

and a hint of cedar.

The palate is full and fresh, slightly sweet, showing strong flavours of
mint, black fruits  and Christmas spice.  




Grape Wizard Vintages (best to worst in order)

2015, 2012, 2010, 2004,2003, 2001, 1996,1995

2016, 2014, 2008, 2006, 2005, 1991, 1990

2011, 2009, 2007, 2000, 1997, 1994, 1992

2013, 2002, 1993

So the most important thing is to enjoy tomorrow and to enjoy Australia Day

Drink Responsibly



Practical storage tips to keep your wine at its best until the moment you pull the cork!

How to store

If most wine is made to be drunk within a year or two of the vintage and most of us consume what we buy within days of purchase, what benefits are there to storing wine for future consumption and how do you do it?

The more I have got to know wine, the more I’ve understood a big part of the enjoyment is buying wine and waiting for the right moment to drink it.  My first experience of what a joy this can bring came one New Years Eve and involved a bottle of Leoville Barton 2003.  That first bottle was nothing short of a mouthful of sheer joy!  Blackberry, liquorice, earth and smoky tobacco being common characteristics it was like a Willy Wonka sweet moment!   In contrast, roll forward 5 New Years Eve’s later and the final 2003 Leoville Barton was plucked from the rack and poured.  From the first sniff, I knew the two experiences of this fine wine were not going to be same.  The wine was a shadow of its former self and had acquired a bitter, sour tar like taste –full of rubber characteristics and all flavours had gone. This wine was either stored incorrectly or time had finally caught up with its characteristics. In truth it was a bit of both!

3 golden rules for storing wine

Wine is a simple product. Remember just one thing. It is organic!  Whether its that bottle of ‘90 Chateau Pavie or a plastic bottle of table wine, it will begin to breakdown as soon as the wine comes into contact with oxygen: changing the character and structure of the wine, robbing it of any vibrancy and character.

So good storage is essential. Where possible, store your bottles horizontally, in an atmosphere with a little humidity to help stop the cork from drying out and exposing the wine to oxygen.  Keeping the bottles out of direct sunlight and cool and stable is also important. The wine should be subject to as little movement as possible.

Temperature and humidity

Temperature fluctuation is the probably the greatest hazard in wine storage as the wine matures. Avoid storing wine where there are widely ranging daily temperatures. The recommend temperature is 10°C-13°C (50°F-55°F). The warmer it is stored, the faster it will mature because heat inevitably speeds up all reactions. so the cooler wine is kept, the slower, and very possibly more interestingly, it will develop. Bottles closed with natural cork should always be stored on their sides so the wine touches the cork and keeps it damp and swollen.  Bottles stoppered with screw caps or synthetic ‘corks’ can be stored at any angle. Champagne bottles can also be stored upright.


Vibration can shift the sediment in the wine, resulting in a gritty texture. Make sure to avoid dropping the wine, or moving the crates or shelves suddenly


Strong light can adversely affect the taste of wine, particularly sparkling wine, and particularly if the bottles are made from clear or pale glass. (This is why wine is sold increasingly in darker bottles, and why champagne is sometimes special lightproof cellophane (Cristal))

Which wines can I store?

Although there is no definite answer, 95% of wine is not meant for “cellaring” or storing for extended amounts of time. Shelf wines are intended to be consumed while fresh and young in the bottle.

Wines that do improve with age must have a higher degree of concentration of fruit, more body and higher levels of natural preservatives called phenols;anthocyanins, the colouring matter found just under the grapes’ skins) and tannins, the bitter, dry ingredient found also in skins and pips and the wood in which wine is aged.

The best red varieties that age successfully are:

Cabernet SauvignonMerlotSyrah/Shiraz, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese

The natural preservatives help keep the wine fresh, whilst the tannins gradually soften and the colour changes from purple through ruby, mahogany to finally becoming pale and brown. Primary aromas of fresh fruit develop into secondary (aged) and tertiary aromas (added by the winemaker). The bouquet and flavour of fine wine has many nuances and layers of complexity that really make it worth the wait.

When is the right time?

Because of the high tannins, it’s not uncommon for some Bordeaux’s to last up to 35 years and take up to 10 years to be at their best!

It really it all depends on the original quality of the wine (How well is the vineyard regarded); the vintage (lighter years mature more quickly); the storage (a dark place and a steady coolish temperature of 13ºC or so help; see below); and even the size of the bottle (half bottles age faster than full bottles or magnums) but the right age also depends too on personal taste, whether you prefer the accent to be on primary fruit or you look for the added complexity that comes with age.

How to tell if your wine has spoiled?

Look out for a change in the colour of the liquid (usually a cloudy appearance) or a dusty settlement in the bottom of the bottle. If these things are going on in the bottle, then it has most likely gone bad and the taste will not be pleasant!

Storing wine that has been opened

The best way to store an open bottle of red wine is to replace the cork and put it in a cool, dark place. If you don’t have a red wine fridge (set to a specific temperature), you can either:

▪ Re-cork after every glass to limit the oxygen that gets into the bottle.

▪ Better still, buy a wine preserver. The wine preserver sucks all the air from the bottle, reducing oxygenation and extending the lifespan of your wine. (Up to a week)

▪ Alternatively don’t even open the bottle and use a Coravin system – a device that extracts the wine through the cork with a fine needle (i.e. without having to open the bottle) and replaces any air in bottle with argon gas.

▪ And always store in the right place for the wine: Put whites and light wines in the fridge, and keep reds and fortified wines in a cool, dark place away from light and heat If you don’t have a cool, dark place like a pantry then your fridge is better than letting the wine sit out in a 70°F (21°C) room.

Life Expectancy after opening:

In a cool, dark place with a cork, red wine will last 5-7 days.  The more tannin and acidity the red wine has, the longer it tends to last after opening. So, a light red with very little tannin, such as Pinot Noir, won’t last open as long as a rich red Cabernet Sauvignon.

Where to store

So from everything we have discussed so far it follows that the ideal for wine storage is a nice, dark, protected cellar or a room, lined with wine racks.  Alas for most of us it is but a dream so a more affordable alternative is needed.

Whatever you do, avoid the places at home where usually there is spare space  – usually the top of the fridge, or cooker or near the central heating boiler!!! Also avoid the corner of a spare-room near the radiator. If you are serious about wine you could buy an ‘artificial cellar’, a temperature- and humidity-controlled cabinet like a refrigerator or specially excavated ‘spiral cellar’.  The more serious collector-investor will do best using a professional storage company.

And finally, wherever you choose to store your wine, don’t forget to make a list of ideal drink dates for your collection.   If you miss their drinking times you may miss the wine at its best. And if you have followed these hints and tips – it would be a shame to miss the fruits of your labour and mess the best bit!  Enjoy!

Something that you have been unable to answer yourself?  Any advice on hard to find wines?  Please ask away at

…. and now for something completely different ! New York : Long Island wines


Located on the East Coast of the US sits a crazy place  , a place that’s very stressful, full of suits and more coffee houses than you can “shake a stick at” !!. Captialism is king and if you ever look round each block you’re sure to find a new fad , a new ideal or a uber cool innovation

New York has always been a central hub for business. Full of stress bunnies

but… if you look a little east of manhattan, past the fabulous districts of Hoboken, DUMBO and the Bronx then you’ll find a peaceful haven called Long Island.

Out here stocks and shares are rarely spoken about and the mere mention of old blue sumatra coffee beans (for a cappachino to be drunk after 10:30am) is frowned upon!

Leave that city stuff in the city.

Here they have the coastline ,



They have nature and no skyscrapers. Here vines can be left to grow.  It is the equivalent of Margaret River in Australia ( almost forgotten about , not overworked and sustainable.)

Due to the nature of the weather the following grapes grow :


RICH & FULL-BODIED whites are complex and have oak influence to encourage complex flavors and aromas.  Pairs well with crab and lobster, cream sauces and soft cheeses. These wines can age up to 10 years.

Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc

AROMATIC whites are light and refreshing & intense aromas. Pairs well with baked salmon, sea bass, pork and cured meats. These wines can age up to 8 years.

Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Tocai Friulano, Albarino, Viognier

CRISP & ZESTY whites are fresh, light and invigorating and crisp acidity.
Pair well with seafood and regional food These wines can age up to 4-6 years.


Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Tocai Fruiano


FULL-BODIED & POWERFUL reds have been fermented on the skins and aged resulting in higher tannins, higher alcohol, and darker fruit flavors
Pair with barbecue, smoked meats, read meat and steaks as well as savory mushroom dishes.These wines can age up to 30 years

Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Refosco, Syrah

MEDIUM-BODIED Their characteristics are balanced = a perfect harmony of fruit, acidity and tannin.  Pair with pizza to roast meats; hearty vegetable soups to burgers.These wines can age up to 15 years

Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Blaufrankisch

LIGHT-BODIED & FRUITY are perfect for a  summer bbq. (rubbish for winter – but refer to FULL BODIED above )These wines have lighter tannins, bright acidity and slightly lower alcohol with red fruit flavors.
These reds can chill for drinking on their own or with risottos, chicken and other poultry.These wines can age up to 10 years.

Cabernet Franc, Lagrein, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Refosco

Long Island Rosés range from pale to more deeply colored, medium bodied and fruit-scented.

Pair with lighter vegetable and chicken dishes, and are great with grilled fish and meats.​These wines can age up to 3 years.

Reds Long Island best GW vintage years (in order)

Very good – 2013 2012 2015 2014 1998 1995

Good – 2010 2001 2004 1994 1990

The Rest – 2011 2008 2009 2007 1997 1996 2006 2005 2000 1999 1992

Whites – best GW vintage years (in order)

Very Good – 2004 2010 1991 1990 2001 1997 1994 2007

Good – 2015 2014 2013 2012 2008 2006 2002 1999 1993

the rest -2009 2005


What more could you want  !!!

Sure you’ll find the rich families, the preppy school kids and the success of America in just one area.

Hugely influential and  perfect lifestyle but go east

The Long Island AVA is an American Viticultural Area encompassing Nassau and Suffolk counties of New York.


Please click on any of the links below  to see more on these fabulous producers. This is good reading when you need time to your self, press pause on life

Touch the screen to halt life for a moment !

just a moment and enjoy discovering something new!

  1. Ackerly pond vineyards
  2. Aanthony nappa wines
  3.   baiting hollow farm vineyard
  4.  bedell cellars
  5. Bouké Wines and Bouquet Wines
  6.   castello di borghese
  7.  channing daughters Hamptons
  8. Clovis Point wines
  9. Coffee Pot Cellars
  10. Corey Creek Vineyards 
  11.  croteaux
  12.  Diliberto Winery
  13.  North duckwalk vinyards Hamptons
  14.  South duckwalk winery Hamptons
  15.  gramercy vineyard
  16. harbes vineyard
  17.  james port wines
  18.  jasons vineyard
  19.  kontokosta winery Hamptons
  20. Laurel Lake Vineyards 
  21.  lieb cellars
  22.  macari wines
  23.  martha clara vineyards
  24.  mattebella
  25.  mccall wines
  26.  one woman wines
  27.   ospreys dominion
  28.  palmer vineyards
  29.  paumanok
  30.  pellegrini vineyards
  31.  pindar
  32.  premium wine group
  33.  pugliese vineyards
  34.  raphael wine
  35.    roanoke vineyards
  36.  sannino vineyard
  37.  scarola vineyards
  38.  sherwood house vineyards
  39.   shinne state vineyards
  40.  starking pointe
  41.  suhru wines
  42.  lenz wine
  43.  the old field Hamptons
  44.  tjara vineyards
  45.  vineyard 48 wine
  46. waters crest winery
  47. whisper vineyards
  48. wolffer Hamptons
  49. woodside orchards

North Fork – 49
The Hamptons/ Western Suffolk  5

The Geeky bit – The modern day wine industry in New York was founded in 1973.

  • The most planted grapes (varietals) to be planted are Cabernet Sauvigon, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
  • The number of vineyards have now swelled to 60 (some not available to the public and range from 2.5 to over 500 acres.
  • The annual production of cases equals 500,000 cases (1,200,000 gallons) attracting 1.3 million visitors
  • Total Number of Acres Owned: 4,000
    Number of Acres Planted: 3,000 (1200 Rugby sized pitches )

One of the dilemmas that the region faces is the effect of becoming popular. Just like Oregon : how do the regions protect the environment from erosion and over use  and still keep the region sustainable?  No one wants a dissolving environment buts its a fine line between getting the visitor numbers right and excluding the very hand that feeds you !  So far both regions have got it right.

The Long Island AVA was established in 2001, over 15 years after two smaller AVAs were created at the eastern end of Long Island. The Long Island AVA was set up to promote wineries outside the Hamptons and Suffolk AVA’s  It also protected the Long Island name; AVAs require that a minimum of 85% of the fruit used in the designated wine is grown within the borders of the region.

Due to the nature of the area being small in distribution most wineries sell locally. But with the internet and good shipping rates you can get some fantastic wines sent to your home. Import outside the EU is only £2.17 a bottle (plus shipping)  Go on  , be brave

3 suggestions below – but click on the vineyard links above to find out more


Wolffer estate rose 2016 £11.44 Midway wine and liquors

characteristics in photos

Bedell Cellera Cab Franc  £15.26 2015 Hamptons Wine Shoppe


characteristics in photos

Paumanok Chenin Blanc £14.04  Garnet wines and Liquors

characteristics in photos

Vineyards on Long Island benefit from the moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound, and Peconic Bay on the local climate.[3]

The North Fork of Long Island AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in eastern Suffolk County. The North Fork of Long Island is home to 38 wineries and 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) of planted vineyards. The local climate is heavily influenced by the presence of Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. The maritime influences of these bodies of water help to moderate temperature fluctuations and extend the growing season up to a month longer than other regions in New York.

The Hamptons, Long Island AVA is an American Viticultural Area located entirely within eastern Suffolk County, New York, and includes the entire South Fork of Long Island and the townships of Southampton and East Hampton. Authored by winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich in 1984, it was the first AVA to be approved for Long Island. The region covers an east-west oriented peninsula approximately 54 miles (87 km) long and between 0.5 miles (0.8 km) and 10.0 miles (16.1 km) wide. The local climate is heavily influenced by the nearby Atlantic Ocean and Peconic Bay. The region is generally cooler and more prone to fog than the nearby North Fork of Long Island AVA. The soil is silt and loam.[3] The area is in hardiness zones 7a and 7b.

Type American Viticultural Area
Year established 1988[1]
Country United States
Part of Long Island AVA, New York
Climate region Maritime
Soil conditions Silt, loam
Total area 136,448 acres (55,219 ha)[2]
Grapes produced Aligote, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Dornfelder, Gewurztraminer, Lemberger, Merlot, Muscat Ottonel, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Pinot Meunier, Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Tocai Friulano[3]

The New York grape, grape juice and wine industry generates more than $4.8 billion in economic benefits annually for New York State. 1,631 family vineyards… over 400 wineries… 175,000,000 bottles of wine… $408 million in state and local taxes – these are just a few of the many statistics available in this section. The “What’s in a Bottle of Wine?” poster summarizes it all, but other resources include map showing the number of wineries in various New York counties, detailed economic impact studies, descriptions of New York’s most common grape varieties, a photo gallery and much more. The grape and wine industry is a collection of small family businesses which, appropriately, do not share proprietary data, so there is some information which is simply not available. But here we offer you the latest and most detailed information that we have.





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