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The heart of the wineanorak site: a series of in-depth - but readable - articles covering all aspects of wine. See also the section of the site devoted to controversies for more feature articles.

  • MOVI tasting
    The Chilean wine scene is dominated by large producers. MOVI is attempting to change this: an association of small, independent producers doing things differently
  • Meet Bruno Paillard
    The man who began his own Champagne house
  • Eben Sadie and his remarkable wines
    A stunning vertical tasting and interview with one of South Africa's leading winegrowers, Eben Sadie of the Swartland
  • Is noble wine a valid concept?
    A star-studded panel are convened by the AIV to discuss whether 'noble' is valid when applied to wine. Here's an in-depth report.
  • Research at Château Margaux
    Paul Pontallier presents results from in-house research at this Bordeaux first growth, looking at trials of screwcaps, the effect of organics and biodynamics, and the role of stems in winemaking.
  • Carbonic maceration
    A closer look at this winemaking technique, which is commonly used to maker light, fruity red wines.
  • Sir George Fistonich interview
    Jamie Goode meets the man who, 50 years ago, founded one of New Zealand's leading wineries.
  • Social media in the wine industry
    Jamie Goode outlines 12 things that you need to know about using social media in the wine industry
  • Pomerol: Bordeaux's afterthought
    Jamie Goode reports on a remarkable tasting of the wines of Pomerol, ending with the 1952 Petrus

  • The amazing Wendouree tasting
    Tasting 14 of these rare cult wines from Australia's Clare Valley, back to 1990

  • Dry River: a remarkable story
    New Zealand's leading winery? Perhaps. Neil McCallum's Dry River demonstrates how science can be applied to produce really interesting wines

  • The great Portuguese fortified wine tasting
    Portugal makes some of the globe's greatest fortified wines. Here, Jamie Goode gets a once in a lifetime chance to sample old Ports, Madeiras and Moscatels back to 1863

  • Meet Randall Grahm
    An interview and tasting with the man behind Bonny Doon - one of the wine world's most interesting characters

  • Wine tasting: subjective or objective?
    Jamie Goode tackles a thorny question. Most experts, when pressed, say that wine tasting is all subjective, but they behave as if they don't really believe this. See also: Constructing reality - some thoughts on the nature of perception, and how this applies to wine tasting.
  • What have the scientists done for us?
    Jamie Goode tracks some of the key advances in wine science over the last 20 years, and casts an eye to the future

  • Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier
    Now widely recognized as one of Australia's great wines, Clonakilla's Shiraz Viognier comes from the rather obscure Canberra region. I meet with owner Tim Kirk for a vertical tasting of this remarkable wine, spanning 1997-2008

  • Icon Sauvignon Blanc: can it be serious?
    Sauvignon Blanc is a much-loved grape variety, but it has been accused of being a bit of a one-trick pony, only capable of making one style of wine. Jamie Goode tastes 25 top Sauvignon Blancs, and asks the question: can it be serious?
  • Microterroir: science in the vineyard
    Chilean producer Viña Casa Silva have initiated an interesting collaborative project aiming to understand the small-scale differences in their vineyards, with a view to using this information to improve wine quality.
  • The Berlin Tasting (in London)
    Eduardo Chadwick brings his Chilean icon wines to London, to conduct a blind tasting pitting them against the greats. How did the Chilean wines fare?
  • Huet: great Vouvrays, back to the 1940s
    Domaine Huet is one of the top Loire producers, and here Jamie Goode gets to taste an impressive vertical of their wines back to the 1940s
  • Lower alcohol wines: a new retail category?
    Technology exists to remove alcohol from wine without beating the wine up too much, and now producers are beginning to develop wines with 'designer' levels of alcohol. Could this be a new category of wine? And what do the wines actually taste like?
  • Terroir baggage
    One of the most interesting concepts in wine is that of terroir – the notion that a wine can possess a sense of place, or a local flavour. But the problem with this concept is that it is both blindingly obvious and hotly controversial at the same time. Jamie Goode grapples with some of the issues that obscure thinking on this topic  
  • Soldera: a remarkable vertical of one of Italy's top wines
    This was a remarkable tasting: a chance to try a vertical from one of Italy’s most celebrated producers, Gianfranco Soldera, and it's written up here in true anorak detail.

  • All about Sherry
    An introduction to this fortified wine, a report on an amazing tasting, and a plea to consumers to drink more of it - all rolled into one article.

  • The International Pinot Noir Celebration:
    Oregon's remarkable wine gathering

    Each year, McMinnville, a small town in the heart of Oregon's wine country, hosts an incredible event - a celebration of Pinot Noir, attended by winegrowers and winelovers from around the world. 

  • Project Cabernet Franc
    Cabernet Franc from the Loire has generally been ignored and unloved by UK consumers. Now there are moves afoot to change the wines and change the image. Jamie Goode has a close look.

  • Meet Bernard Hickin
    Bernard who? He's the winemaker behind one of the world's most successful wine brands - Jacob's Creek.

  • Domaine Leflaive masterclass
    Anne-Claude Leflaive is the head of one of the world's leading white wine Domaines. I'm lucky enough to meet her and taste a number of her wines. 

  • Miguel Torres interview
    Miguel Torres is one of the leading names in Spanish wine, and since he took the reins of the family business, there's been no looking back: Torres make wines of remarkable consistency from their inexpensive brands through to exclusive single-vineyard wines.  

  • Meet David Hohnen
    The man behind Cloudy Bay and Cape Mentelle has started again in Western Australia. Jamie Goode meets David Hohnen and comes away impressed. 

  • Barbara Banke and Kendall-Jackson
    An interview with Barbara Banke, wife of Jess Jackson, and a tasting of the Kendall-Jackson wines.

  • Rosé revival: is it good for wine?
    Pink wines have enjoyed amazing sales growth over the last few years, and the evidence is that they are pulling in consumers who don't normally drink wine. This has to be a good thing, doesn't it?

  • Alain Dominique Perrin interview
    The man who saved Cartier is famous in France but less well known in the UK. As well as a celebrity, he's a wine nut whose making Cahors' most expensive wines. 

  • Storing wine at home, a guide
    Fine wine needs to be treated properly. Few of us access to traditional cellars, so what are the options if we want to keep our precious bottles at home? This feature, rewritten from an older article, is a handy resource to help you decide where to stash your wine.

  • Russ Weis and Silverado
    An interview and tasting with the man charged with spreading the world about high-end Napa producer Silverado

  • Bordeaux 2007: initial impressions
    A little early for a proper vintage report, Jamie Goode visits Bordeaux as picking of the 2007 vintage commences. 

  • Bruce Jack's surprise move
    Bruce Jack is the charismatic genius behind South Africa's Flagstone wines. In a surprise move, he's sold up to Constellation, the world's largest drinks company. But there's another side to this story....

  • Chateau Palmer
    A vertical tasting of wines from this leading Margaux property, dating back to 1970.

  • James Halliday interview
    Jamie Goode meets one of the icons of the Australian wine scene, leading journalist and winemaker James Halliday.

  • Is there an art to wine science?
    Jamie Goode outlines how science works, and why it is so useful for answering questions about the world around us. But, despite its utility, the scientific process is of only limited real-world use for wine scientists, giving answers to just a limited subset of important questions. There's somewhat of an art to good wine science, even though this sounds heretical to most trained scientists.  

  • Brian Croser, Petaluma and Tapanappa
    As one of the leading figures in the Australian wine scene, Brian Croser needs little introduction. Jamie Goode spends a couple of days with one of the great wine scientists, and tries the new Tapanappa wines, as well as a vertical of Petaluma's Coonawarra red.

  • Tannins
    The term 'tannin' is commonly used in wine circles, but many people aren't really sure exactly what it means. In this detailed article, Jamie Goode unpacks this important subject, and discusses some exciting new data that challenge the conventional wisdom on this topic.

  • International Wine Challenge
    2006 sees the rebirth of an important competition. Jamie Goode takes part and reports back on the experience

  • Christian Seely: the interview
    Christian Seely is a big shot in the wine world. Jamie Goode catches up with the man in charge of AXAs wine estates, including Pichon Baron, Suduiraut and Noval.

  • Wine's image makeover
    How wine went from an elitist tipple to drink of the masses.

  • Extraction: making red wines
    The crucial step in red winemaking is getting all the colour, structure and flavour out of the grape skins. Jamie Goode presents an illustrated guide, telling us how it's done.

  • Back labels: the good, the bad and the absent
    The back label represents an opportunity for producers to speak to their public. Some take the chance well, but others don't even bother. Here's a round-up of some of the best and the worst.

  • Cellaring wine: the effect of temperature and humidity
    Wine storage is an important issue for trade and consumer alike. In this overlong and potentially boring article, Jamie Goode is surprised by the lack of good data on the effects of varying cellaring conditions on wine, and investigates the way wine is stored before it gets to the consumer.

  • 2003 Vintage Ports
    They are only declared, on average, three times a decade, so the release of a new batch of Vintage Ports is newsworthy. Which are the best, and should you rush to buy them en primeur

  • Wine and beauty
    Objects, people, ideas and actions can all possess it, yet we can’t measure it or define it terribly well. But beauty is of immense importance in our lives, and we spend pursuing it. Why? Jamie Goode takes a look at this concept and asks whether wines can possess beauty.  

  • de Vogüé: Burgundies with a history
    In a region not short of elite producers, de Vogüé sits near the front of the pack. Jamie Goode takes a detailed look at the exalted wines from this top property. 

  • South African Shiraz
    Pinotage is the grape variety most closely associated with South Africa, but it's currently Shiraz that is making all the waves. But do the new high-end wines made from this star grape measure up? Time to do some tasting.

  • The New Barossa
    The Barossa Valley is the historical heartland of the Australian wine industry, and it's still making some of this country's leading wines. In this multipart series, Jamie Goode catches up with some of the next generation of Barossa producers, and comes away impressed by the change in style that's taking place. 

  • English wine: an introduction
    English wine has for a long time suffered from being a bit of a novelty item. For most people, finding out that English vineyards can make drinkable wine is a bit like hearing that an 80 year old millionaire has fathered a child - it’s probably not the performance that’s the object of attention, but rather that they can do it at all. Jamie Goode gives an overview of this developing industry.

  • Wine and philosophy
    For philosophers, the study of wine drinking, its perception, and the shared experience that comes from our attempts to write about wine offers rich pickings. Jamie Goode reports on a meeting that brought together academic philosophers, winemakers and wine hacks to discuss the philosophy of wine drinking.

  • The New Douro
    Back in 2002, Jamie Goode first visited Portugal's spectacular Douro region to report on the table wine revolution that was taking place. In May 2004 he revisited the region, to delve deeper and see how progress was going. Here's his in-depth report.

  • Moving beyond hedonics: why we need to learn about wine
    There are certain flavour preferences that are innate; others must be learned. Jamie Goode argues that if we allow our innate preferences to dictate our wine choices, we're heading down a dead end. 

  • The Pepsi Challenge: what it tells us about wine tasting
    In this short piece, Jamie Goode describes an intriguing experiment that has implications for how we view wine tasting.

  • Discovering the Dão
    One of the most important wine regions in Portugal, the Dão is slowly but steadily transforming itself. Jamie Goode visits, and in this multipart series reveals some of the top wines and gets to grips with the leading producers.

  • A weekend in Porto
    Jamie Goode recently spent a weekend in Porto with Douro winemaker Dirk Niepoort, gathered to celebrate his 40th . For most of us the wines we had over these three days represented the best part of a year's worth of drinking experiences all crammed into a weekend. I took notes on almost everything, and they are reproduced here for the sake of the record

  • The art of blending
    One aspect of the winegrower's craft that is often overlooked is the art of blending. Jamie Goode takes a look at some of the component parts of two great wines - Niepoort Vintage Port 2003 and Beaucastel 2003 - and thinks about how they fit together to make the final wine.

  • Musarathon
    The iconic Château Musar, from the Lebanon, is one of the wine world's enduring oddities, loved by some and loathed by others. Jamie Goode enjoys a remarkable tasting of these wines dating back to 1966.

  • Global warming: what are the implications for wine?
    Weather's getting weirder and the world is getting hotter, or so it seems. Jamie Goode looks at what the researchers have to say about the potential effects on wine regions worldwide.

  • Montevetrano
    A complete vertical of these wines offers the chance for me to decide whether this Campanian wine is just another Parkerized collector's item or a terroir-infused marvel.

  • Spotlight on Madeira
    Madeira, a fortified wine style named after the island it comes from, is an oddity. But it's a worthwhile oddity, offering a complex array of interesting flavours. In this series of articles, Jamie Goode tastes his way through some of the island's best wines.

  • Words for wine: making tasting notes more useful
    One of the frustrations of writing about wine is the difficulty of communicating what flavour experiences in words. So how can we present tasting 'data' in a way that is interesting, relevant and good to read?  

  • Mechanisms of terroir
    As more new world producers start to take an interest in terroir, scientists are turning their attention to defining it and explaining how it affects a wine. Jamie Goode investigates. [Originally appeared in Harper's Wine and Spirit Weekly 12 September 2003.] See also: More on terroir, a geologist speaks

  • Spotlight on Stellenbosch: South Africa's key wine region
    British tourists have been flocking to the Cape in their droves in recent years, and for many of them one of the highlights is a visit to the winelands. Jamie Goode visits Stellenbosch to see what all the fuss is about.

  • The perfect tasting note?
    As an antidote to the usual format of brief, rather shallow tasting notes, Jamie Goode attempts to write the ultimate form of this genre. Of course, it isn't perfect, but does this 1400 word epic give you a good impression of the wine in question? You decide. See also: an extended tasting note on a German Riesling and a Southern French red.

  • Discussing wine, online
    Want to talk to someone about your wine habit? Are you seeking new buddies to share your vinous passion with? Here's the anorak's lowdown on the best wine bulletin boards.

  • Spotlight on Pic St Loup
    Jamie Goode visits one of the 'happening' wine regions of France's Languedoc, the soon-to-be appellation of Pic St Loup. 

  • The two cultures: how the rise of the brands is changing the face of wine
    The world of wine as we know it has changed radically over the last couple of decades, and while many of the changes have been for the better, some are giving cause for concern. Jamie Goode introduces a new multipart series tracing the rise of the wine brands, and asks whether this could spell the beginning of the end for interesting, affordable wine. 

  • Spotlight on Syrah
    It's probably the world's favourite red grape variety. But how does it perform in different regions? And which examples of Syrah/Shiraz are the 'best'? Jamie Goode tastes 25 of the best, blind, and tries to draw some conclusions.

  • Grain of Truth
    By the end of the 1990s, Sabaté’s Altec closure was widely criticised for unacceptable levels of taint. After modifications, the French manufacturer invited experts from the trade and press to test the performance of its old and new closures. Jamie Goode analyses the research model’s openness, methodology and its surprising results [Originally appeared in Harper's Wine and Spirit Weekly 15 November 2002].

  • The Douro wine revolution
    With its spectacular terraced vineyards and low yielding old vines, the Douro could be one of the world's great fine wine regions. Now that some of the best grapes—which previously were reserved for Port production—being used to make table wines, the Douro's immense potential is just beginning to be realised. This mammoth 12 part series charts the progress of the Douro wine revolution.

  • Biodynamic wine
    A major multipart series focusing on this supercharged form of organic viticulture that is increasingly popular with many of the world's leading producers, but which has caused a good deal of controversy among proponents of scientifically based viticulture.

  • Cornas: Syrah from the Northern Rhône
    The most southerly red wine region in France's Northern Rhône, Cornas has been overshadowed by more illustrious neighbours Hermitage and Côte Rôtie. This is a little bit unfair, because this tiny appellation makes some seriously seductive expressions of Syrah. Time to investigate.
  • Spotlight on Argentina
    Grim times for the economy, but how's it looking for the wines? Not too bad, as long as Argentinean wine makers can focus on quality as well as quantity.
  • Australian Semillon: the ultimate tasting
    I'll be honest. The prospect of blind tasting 44 Aussie Semillons doesn't sound too enticing. But the reality turns out to be better than I'd expected: Semillon from down under is a bit of a forgotten star.
  • New Zealand Pinot Noir
    Pinot Noir, the prima donna of red grape varieties, is doing rather well in New Zealand. So well, in fact, that you could argue that overall NZ makes the best Pinot Noirs outside of Burgundy. Now that’s a big claim, but one I feel is backed up from this tasting of 25 leading New Zealand Pinot Noirs.
  • Côte Rôtie: the world's greatest Syrah?
    The ancient hillside vineyards of Côte Rôtie, in France's Northern Rhône, produce highly perfumed, expressive wines that are considered by many to be the finest expression of the Syrah grape. Sounds like perfect wineanorak territory.... 
  • Spotlight on Mourvèdre: a grape variety on the rise  
    After languishing in the wilderness for a while, Mourvèdre is now on the verge of becoming hip. It’s in the new world where the real image change is taking place, and in particular California and Australia. It used to be Mataro, a spotty teenager with a crap social life. But it’s undergone an image makeover, metamorphosing into Mourvèdre, the grape that everyone wants to know. 
  • Top ten Pinotage: can I fall for it?
    Pinotage, South Africa's 'own' grape variety, has a bit of a mixed reputation. Tasting a range of award winning efforts, I see whether I can be seduced by its charms.

  • Château Musar vertical: remarkable wines from the Lebanon
    Owner Serge Hochar has propelled the complex but somewhat quirky wines of Chateau Musar to the forefront of the fine wine world. In this vertical tasting (i.e. lots of vintages of the same wine), we take and in-depth look at the Musar phenomenon.

  • Spotlight on Semillon
    It's one of those grapes that often gets forgotten about. Always rooting for the underdog, I taste some leading Semillons.

  • Focus on organic wines: interview with Monty Waldin
    With organic and biodynamic wines gaining ground in the marketplace, it's time to look a little deeper at what they're all about. The wineanorak asks organic wine expert Monty Waldin some searching questions.

  • Struggling vines produce better wines
    It's a strange phenomenon: give a vine a hard time and it actually produces better grapes. This is the principle behind an interesting new technique called partial root drying. We take a look.

  • Garage wines of the Languedoc
    The anorak tastes a stunning line-up of some of the emerging stars from what is probably France's most happening wine region. The only problem is getting your hands on these small-production gems... 

  • Riesling: the noblest white grape
    Chardonnay has won the minds and hearts of the masses, but Riesling makes the wine trade's favourite white wines. Jamie Goode tastes 18 of the finest Rieslings from around the world, and discovers why the experts think it's the noblest and most versatile of all the white grapes. 
  • South Africa's leading reds: ready for the premier league?
    Tasting some of the best South Africa has to offer, the wineanorak discusses whether these underrated wines are ready to slug it out with the big boys. 
  • Understanding a wine: how blind tasting fails
    Wines are a bit like people: first impressions can be misleading. While some wines have a suave persona, others need to be understood—blind tasting does them no favours.
  • Focus on the Pacific Northwest: the wines of Washington State and Oregon
    If you thought US wine was all about California, it's time for you to check out the increasingly sophisticated offerings from Oregon and Washington State. I taste 62 wines from 13 producers. 
  • Spotlight on Condrieu: blind tasting of the 1999 vintage
    Once almost extinct, the Viognier grape is now super-trendy, and Condrieu, in the northern Rhône, is its home. The anorak takes a peek at how the 1999 vintage is shaping up.
  • Italian wines: resurrecting dead DOCs
    The Italian DOC system has been so devalued that leading producers find that names like Soave and Chianti actually hinder their marketing efforts. Italian specialist Joel Hopwood suggests a way forward for rebuilding these once great names.
  • A wine that is good enough
    It's easy for wine geeks to overlook supposedly humble wines which, in the right context, can be much 'better' than something a lot grander. 
  • The science of taste and smell: insights from an evolutionary perspective
    OK, so this piece is probably a bit self-indulgent. I look at how the field of evolutionary psychology can shed light on why wine tasting is such a compelling pursuit.
  • Châteauneuf on a roll: Beaucastel vertical tasting
    With three great vintages in a row, it's boom time in Châteauneuf du Pape, and Château de Beaucastel is one of the top performers here, consistently making compelling, ageworthy wines. The anorak tastes a string of vintages from 1979-1998.
  • Beaujolais: 'the one night stand of wines'
    Coinciding with the release of the Nouveau 2000, Jamie Goode checks out the wines of Beaujolais. 
  • Chardonnay isn't dead yet!
    I have a sort of love-hate relationship with Chardonnay: one the one hand it makes sublime white wines with depth of flavour and stunning complexity; on the other, it produces a sea of bland, technological concoctions that hardly merit describing as 'wine'.
  • Terroir revisited: towards a working definition
    It's hard work discussing a concept that means different things to different people, so I thought it might be worth trying to nail down some sort of working definition for 'terroir'. Here's my rather lengthy  attempt!
  • Taking wine appreciation too far: a spot of amateur psychology
    A light-hearted look at some of the deviant personality types that result from getting too obsessed by the wine hobby.
  • The white wines of South Africa
    South African wines, and in particular their whites, have maintained a low profile in the UK marketplace. But as this feature shows, it's probably not because of their lack of quality.
  • Alcohol and health: can drinking wine really be good for you?
    The wine anorak teams up with Dr Chris Kissack to present a series of articles investigating the potential health benefits of wine.
  • English wines: raising the standard
    Although they struggle against a wretched climate and a naff 'Olde worlde merrye Englande' image, English wines are now better than they've ever been, as this tasting demonstrates. 
  • Back to France
    A new phenomenon: thirty-something wine drinkers, weaned on Australian Shiraz, Argentinian Malbec and Chilean Cabernet, are now turning to the classic European wine regions. The anorak reports.
  • The price of wine
    I take a look at the impact of e-commerce on the price of fine wine, and discovers some surprising discrepancies.
  • Anything but Chardonnay?
    Chardonnay is everywhere! Although I'm an ardent fan of this grape variety, even I have found myself wanting a break from its rather obvious charms. Here I consider some of the alternatives.
  • Scoring wines: does it measure up? The anorak turns the spotlight on the controversial practice of assessing wines by means of a numerical rating. More gripping than a Parker 97-pointer!
  • The myth of the universal palate Wine competitions, numerical scoring of wines and the concept of the 'best' wines all assume one thing: that when we taste a wine, we are all experiencing the same thing. But there is good evidence that this may not be the case.
  • Spotlight on Portuguese wines With the relentless, global swing towards branded, technology-driven varietal wines, the wines of Portugal have something unique and fresh to offer for those prepared to try something a bit different. I'm a convert!  
  • The scandal of cork taint
    The dirty secret of the wine industry is that around 5% of all bottles are ruined at source by tainted corks. Why is it that many people are still prepared to put up with this astonishing failure rate? I share my views, and investigate the alternatives.
  • Terroir: muddy thinking about the soil? The term 'terroir' is undergoing something of a renaissance at the moment, but with its extended use comes a degree of confusion—just what do people mean by this term? Here I attempt to nail down a working definition of 'terroir', and explore some of the controversial issues that surround it.
  • Pic St Loup: an emerging region The Pic St Loup region, a sub-region of the Coteaux du Languedoc, is now producing some of the most interesting wines in the South of France. I check some of them out.

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