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

Vin-Brule-con-Barbera-d-Asti vinicartasegna.it.

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 tasteofdivine.com

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.



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.  

£19.95 Slurp.co.uk



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 thegrapewizard@gmail.com

…. 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.





A toast to Sunderland’s finest! 

Years ago the North of England was regarded as one of the great areas for industry. Many thought that anywhere past Watford was ‘Grim’.  Coal was big business and raw materials were in high demand. It was a ‘golden age’.  These days the North of England seems to have lost most of that industry that made it prosperous.


Sunderland ( A shipbuilding town), in particular, was one of those such towns that had it all. Much of that is gone now but what remains is the stoic determination for something great again.  That dream, that desire, might just be becoming to fruition.

Just look at neighbouring  Tynemouth and you might think your in Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds   Not only are fabulous independent shops on the high street but also the gastro-scene is flourishing. Posh shops everywhere and London prices – the only thing missing is the Hunter Welly’s !  Having looked out from Rileys Fish Shack (Below) just 2 weeks ago the gastro-scene had truly arrived!

TM The Grape Wizard

TM The Grape Wizard

Fish and Chips on the Beach – How Victorian and totally stress free

(No London life allowed here !)


™TheGrapeWizard.com – Turbot & Capers with Samphire YUM YUM

The creativity built out of 2 * 40ft containers is there to see – great food cooked to order and craft beer on tap.


TM Rileys Fish Shack

carefully selected beer and ale from some of the regions favorite brewers including

Wylam Brewery,
Almasty Brewing Co
Three Kings Brewery
Allendale Brewery.

Good choice of wine also adds to the experience. Not only was the food good for the stomach but the experience was good for the soul   All fish 🐟 was unusual – even the ugly gurnard was on the menu.  Just shows you we don’t have to be reliant on cod and haddock all the time.!!

If there is a lesson here it is the determination of a business to showcase talent to the local economy in the hope of greater things. Such is the determination up in the North of England that other businesses have taken the step to modernise and become uber-cool in recent years –  Alnwick gardens, The Sage and the Baltic in Gateshead all benefiting from a revamp !

Even the Angel of the North champion’s optimism and the hope for the future !


Then…. just the other day i was driving into Sunderland  and drove through a ‘suburb’ of Sunderland – Roker


and saw “Poetic License ” adorned on a hotel wall. Further investigation highlights a fabulous gin distillery.

It Achieved a Gin Masters Award and Gin of the Year Award 2015. Set up by a guy who worked in the hospitality industry. This is a Gin/s to try I thought!.

Here is the range



 Northern Dry Gin £34.95 thefoodmarket.com

Juniper, Cardamom, Pepper, Citrus.

43.2% Vol.

Expect a big fistful of juniper that is complemented with green cardamom to warm the heart on an Autumnal evening . Undertones of lemon and eucalyptus together with Persian lime intensifies the citrus feel  GW score 4*

Good for Negroni and the sharp citrus flavour of a classic Gin Sour

Old Tom Gin £34.95 thefoodmarket.com

Juniper, Sweetness, Rose, Oak

41.6% Vol.

A sweeter and more peppery taste compared to the Dry Gin. Oak casks add a woody flavour and colour to the Gin. Rose petals infuse a distinct character to the sweetness as well as a rose gold tinge.

Mixing Tips:  Old Tom Gin suits subtle cocktail recipes. Ingredients like lavender and rose give it a good balance GW Score 3*

Graceful Vodka £32.50 MasterofMalt.com

Smooth, Pure, Subtle Sweetness.

40.4% Vol.

 a smooth spirit, to be sipped and savoured.

Created entirely from British wheat giving a velvety smooth texture,

Mixing Tips: Cocktails with a lighter citrus flavour = GIMLETS. Avoid mixers with too much acidic content try a dry Vodka Martini

Fireside Gin £34.95 Poetic License

Mulled Winter Fruit and Juniper

40.1% Vol.

This gin is a winter warmer, your granny’s favourite blanket on your knee. Very wintery.  Juniper, coriander and orris root give it its base flavours whilst a sweetness from dried winter fruits and a zingy freshness from clementine.

The mulling spice blend of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg gives a warming flavour reminiscent of your favourite seasonal treats, sure to warm you from the inside out!

Mixing Tips: Try Winter Cocktails – Poetic License  like it ” hot, served with ginger ale warmed through with a little honey and extra mulling spices.” Try It!

The citrus edge also makes a delicious white lady.”

They also do a whole host of seasonal stuff GW Score 4*

Click to see more of the Guys from P.L.


Gracie – She does all the work and surely deserves a medal – at the very least a mention

Having tried the Northern Gin last night (22nd Sept 2017 ) I have to say it’s one of the most stand out gins I’ve tried   Up there with Herno Gin and  Icelandic Vor Gin . All too often gins can loose there distinct style and flavour. Poetic Licence Northern Gin seems to be spot on.

The growing market for sipping gins seems to be growing – using more richer flavours and combining that with your favourite music seems to enhance the experience.

Some of you may have noticed that I havn’t put up a blog for a few weeks. My father in law has been battling with a long term illness. Obviously this week is a little more personal than normal but it is only fitting to finish this weeks blog with a tribute to a man who lived and loved life.  Tom introduced me to many a fine whiskey in the company of Robert Zimmerman (click here to find out more!). . 

Perhaps it is some sort of ‘poetic licence’ to have discovered a gin called ‘Old Tom’ made in his home town in the week he passed away. He is now immortalised

So here’s to you Tom  🍻 – You did a fabulous job as a Father, Mentor and a Guardian.  You are a true inspiration – an example of what all of us should be as individuals and you did it without trying. You will be sorely missed but never forgotten. Since beginning this blog and finishing it I am now sadly dedicating this piece to you.

Cheers !


This weeks music pairing 



GW Spirits Rating

  • 1* Not very interesting, boring branding, expensive cost price for product
  • 2*Branding improving, showing signs of some thing interesting. Good value for money
  • 3* Middle of the road product, not good value for money and not too expensive.    Simlar products on the market make it generic
  • 4*Unique in character and good value for money
  • 5* Inventive, unique in character, visually fabulous together with a favourable cost price

 Unstuffy learning: Learning to love Chardonnay : Chablis Premier cru (1er) (3/4)

Learning about wine is easy , what makes it hard is stuffiness and the lack of freely given information given to those that hold the wine knowledge. The key to unstuffy-ness

So to understand Chablis it is important to break it down into 4 stages for each of the categories. Posts 1 & 2 looked at Petit Chablis and Chablis whereas the 3 article in a series of 4 highlights Premier Cru Chablis. From the last 2 posts you can see that Petit Chablis is a wine that has high yield (produces lots of grapes), has no oak influence (not woody in character ) and is designed to be drunk young (0-2 1/2 years ))

Chablis , by contrast, has more minerality (remember pebbles in blog 2/4) with green apples and citrus


Chablis Premier Cru

The vineyards cover 750 hectares (750x international rugby fields ) scattered across 15 communes (areas of vines) on slopes with good sun, soil and drainage  There are 17 principal Premiers Crus but in total 89 vineyards can use the 17 crus

GrapeWizard Investment advice : Be CAREFUL when purchasing , some of the crus have doubled in area since the 1970s so quality varies and producer is key.

any questions please Emai the Wizard !

Styles also vary, with some maturing (ageing) and fermenting in stainless steel tanks for a purer, more mineral style

or in barrels 

The best examples or Premier Cru Chablis reach their maturity at eight to 10 years What ever your style or character of the Chablis look for characteristics in similar producers. Not all producers have white blossom as one of their characteristics ! What ever your preference look for those flavours

(Use Google!)

At the turn of the 21st century, there were 40 Premier cru vineyards.

As of 2009 the official list of the 17 climats  for Chablis Premier Cru included total of 89 vineyards, names of which could be used on the label.


Examples of where climate are used. Note the use of Vaucoupin, Vallions and Mont de Millieu. These climats are often inclusive. The 17 bigger classified climats, have names which the producers opt to use more often are bolded below:

Mont de Milieu – Vallée de Chigot
Montée de Tonnerre – Chapelot, Les Chapelots, Pied d’Aloup, Sous Pied d’Aloup, Côte de Bréchain
Fourchaume – Vaupulent, Vau Pulan, Les Vaupulans, La Fourchaume, Côte de Fontenay, Dine-Chien, L’Homme Mort, La Grande Côte, Bois Seguin, L’Ardillier, Vaulorent, Les Quatre Chemins, La Ferme Couverte, Les Couvertes
Vaillons – Sur les Vaillons, Chatains, Les Grands Chaumes, Les Chatains, Sécher, Beugnons, Les Beugnons, Les Lys, Champlain, Mélinots, Les Minos, Roncières, Les Epinottes
Montmains – Les Monts Mains, Forêts, Les Forêts, Butteaux, Les Bouts des Butteaux, Vaux Miolot, Le Milieu des Butteaux, Les Ecueillis, Vaugerlains
Côte de Léchet – Le Château
Beauroy – Sous Boroy, Vallée des Vaux, Benfer, Troësmes, Côte de Troësmes, Adroit de Vau Renard, Côte de Savant, Le Cotat-Château, Frouquelin, Le Verger
Vauligneau – Vau de Longue, Vau Girault, La Forêt, Sur la Forêt
Vaudevey – La Grande Chaume, Vaux Ragons, Vignes des Vaux Ragons
Vaucoupin – Adroit de Vaucopins
Vosgros – Adroit de Vosgros, Vaugiraut
Les Fourneaux – Morein, Côte des Près Girots, La Côte, Sur la Côte
Côte de Vaubarousse
Chaume de Talvat
Côte de Jouan
Les Beauregards – Hauts des Chambres du Roi, Côte de Cuissy, Les Corvées, Bec d’Oiseau, Vallée de Cuissy

In the 3rd of a series of 4 articles Chablis is  easily understood if taken through 4 styles. Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru Chablis & Grand Cru Chablis
  • Petit Chablis tend to have higher acidity and more tart, citrus-like flavours and normally last upto 2 years to champion the refreshing dry taste.
  • Chablis delivers citrus, pear, and more exaggerated mineral notes these normally last unto 4-5 years
  • Premier (1er) Cru Chablis
    Wines have slightly richer fruit (starfruit and lemon and flinty minerality.)
  • Grand Cru Chablis -There is just one slope  with 7 climats (i.e. officially designated vineyard plots). Grand cru Chablis vary widely in taste, depending on the climat and winemaking technique. Some producers opt to oak-age Chablis, which adds a savory unctuousness to Chablis that can be both oily and smoky. The fruit in the Grand Cru wines range from intense orange-rind, apricot and passion fruit to more savory aged flavors of bruised apple and peanut shell.

More of Chablis Grand Cru in the 4th Instalment of the series.

Chablis Premiers Crus are stylish, mineral wines less intense than the Grand Crus but finer and longer-lasting than basic Chablis.

2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979
years in order of outstanding to years that are a little wanting .
If you want to try the best years work from the top. If you want to invest – work from the top and you cant go far wrong ! but do your research as well !
I can advise – free of charge !!!

Email me any questions    Email :TheGrapeWizard


Located near Auxerre in the department of Yonne, the Chablis vineyards lie along a little river aptly named the Serein (“serene”). Vines began to growth here during the Romanera. In the 12th century, the Cistercian monks from the abbey of Pontigny developed its cultivation. The AOC Chablis Premier Cru status was created in January 1938, thus confirming the excellent qualities of this dry white wine which, unlike the wines of some other regions, has held its leading place throughout its history thanks to the high quality of its raw material – the Chardonnay grape.

Characteristics of Chablis Premier Cru

White: pale gold in colour

To the nose :

  • Good aging potential (5 or sometimes up to 10 years). Each Climat is unique. do your research.
  • Most wines are well-built and long in the mouth (flavour follows after the palate .
  •  Mineral and tight in youth  or flowery and developing delicate and subtle aromas with age.

The nose is very fresh, lively and mineral with flint, green apple, lemon,

and field mushrooms

Notes of lime-flower, mint, and acacia occur frequently, as do aromas of liquorice and freshly-cut hay.


Age depens the colour and adds a note of spice to the bouquet. On the palate, these aromas retain their freshness for an extended period. Very dry and impeccably delicate, Chablis has a unique and readily recognisable personality.

Production surface area
Chablis : Area under production*:
1 hectare (ha) = 10,000 m²
3,367.28 ha. 3400 internationl rugby fields

Premier Cru : Area under production*:
1 hectare (ha) = 10,000 m²
783.19 ha. 783 international rugby fields

What gives Chablis that minerality !!

Premier Cru:  The main rock formation is Jurassic limestone (specifically, Kimmeridgian limestone)

Origins in Dorset. How beautiful is this !!!

laid down some 150 million years ago. The rock contains deposits of tiny fossilised oyster shells (here’s your minerality)  The most famous Climats are those on the right bank, surrounding the Grand Cru.

Please click the link below for a complete list of all Premier Cru Producers Click to view all Chablis 1er Cru producers

but if you want to look at 3 choices for fabulous Chablis Premier Cru  see below

2010 Chablis Butteaux, Raveneau £ 141.00 Crump Richmond Shaw

2012 Chablis, Fourchaume, 1er Cru, Héritage, Le Domaine d’Henri £43

Berry Bros, London

Cote de Lechet Chablis Premier Cru 2013 £22.49      12 Green Bottles

No one expects 2010 chablis Premier cru for £10. Unfortunately the issue with supply and demand is that price invariably increases as the demand becomes acute.

Look for 2010 premier cru and the smallest vineyard and you are going to pay a high price.

The secret is to look at the GrapeWizard’s Vintage chart and maybe look at the 2nd and third row – see a year and search for a producer. as a guide the following apply

use Wine Searcher

Petit chablis expect to pay £0-15

Chablis expect to pay up to £30 

Premier cru £30-70

Grand Cru £35-£200+

Anything outside this is overpriced or won’t be what you expect. Not worth the effort.  Just enjoy the research and remember your tastes. Its an experience that is supposed to be enjoyable !

Unstuffy Learning: How to love Chardonnay – Chablis.(2/4)


Chablis vineyard

If you refer to my last post on Petit Chablis you’ll remember ( won’t you ) that Petit Chablis lies on the outskirts of Chablis itself. Not on the best sites, not on the best vistas and certainly not on the most expensive corner of your wallet 😜


Something to help you with !!

Chablis is probably one of the most pretentious topics for wine.

Don’t be put off by all the information, all the jargon its very easy


Chablis is a Chardonnay grape full of ………..

 with a healthy amount of minerality (think of licking these)


Then you have Chablis.

Wine is not a stuffy subject. WE make it that way!!!

Chablis is different from Petit Chablis in that it has minerality (when you were a boy at school you liked the pebbles  or licked your knife at lunch.(i never did and still don’t) For the ladies its the smell tarmac after a downpour on a warm summers day) It has green apples and citrus (limes and /or lemons) SEE ABOVE as its primary characteristic and it is very fresh and crisp


It has very little or no oak influence (contact with the barrels is very very minimal ) So much so it is made in stainless steel tanks (see below)


The Chablis  region is the northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region in France.


The cool climate produces wines with more acidity (refreshing mouth feel ) These wines often have a “flinty” note and sometimes “steely”. The grapevines around the town of Chablis make a dry white wine renowned for the clean aroma and taste directly in opposition to the rest of the white wines in the village,

There is an important process that is present in Chablis but for now it doesn’t really appear in Petit Chablis or Chablis.  Malolactic fermentation will be discussed in parts 3 and 4 of the series. Dont worry it wont be stuffy, pompous or hard to digest !!! But it does describe why Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru have their distinct characteristics

 3 Suggestions for Chablis-

please view thegrapewizard vintage chart for best years for Chablis then search the wonderful internet for a Chablis 2010

The ageing potential of Chablis is for the following from year of vintage

Petit chablis 0-2 1/2 years

Chablis 2-5 years

Chablis Premier Cru 4-8 years

Chablis Grand Cru 8-12 years

Obviously there are some exceptions but as a general rule these should be followed

2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979
If you want to try the best years work from the top. If you want to invest – work from the top and you cant go far wrong !

One’s to buy now


Laroche Chablis Saint Martin 2010 £36 


Daniel-Etienne Defaix : Chablis Village “Vieilles Vignes” 2010 £20


Louis Jadot Chablis White Wine 75cl  £16.69


BEST Grape Wizard VINTAGES – Chablis
2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979
In order of grape wizard scores (scores taken from wine critics and assesed by myself) to give the best vintages.

Click on the link below for all chablis  producers

Chablis Producers

If in doubt with any wine please click on this link The Grape Wizard. I can tell you anything you need to know. just ask.

One thing that you do need to know about is that in the next two blogs i will be highlighting Premier Cru and Grand Cru. Both these classification have, on the wine labels the area within Chablis. They all vary in flavour and characteristic but Chablis, from one area of the village,  will be consistent from one year to the next. In effect defining an area. I will of course describe this in more detail in later posts !!

If you examine all the points raised above you will be better informed and can make some wise choices. So use the Vintage Chart, use the characteristics when tasting and just experiment with just Chablis for a while. You will gain an understanding of minerality and will appreciate that Chardonnay isnt that bad after all……..


So what you need to know

Chablis is fresh crisp and citrussy with a good hint on minerality.

Pair it with tomatoes, Some Hams

Goes very well with clean white fish (Salmon Bass and Skate) and Shellfish


Music Pairing Bruce Hornsby and the Range




Unstuffy and Chilled !!



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