The Ebullient North II

(Continued from “The Ebullient North” on 21 July 2017: The northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna is in fact an amalgamation of two historical regions, namely the substantially larger

The Standard-Bearers of Württemberg VII

In comparison with other major wine-producing countries in Europe, Germany possesses a notably high number and indeed proportion of aristocratic and ecclesiastical estates. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Rheingau and Mosel

The Palatine Idyll II

(Continued from “The Palatine Idyll” on 29 December 2017) German wine laws are notoriously complicated, and those governing the VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter)

From Raspberry to Yangmei (杨梅)

With Chinese New Year comes the biggest annual movement of population on the planet, being the most important time in Asia for family gatherings. It is the time

Organic versus biodynamic

In the past twenty years organic products have become a selling point, as customers are more and more conscious of their well-being and the need to “make the

The Standard-Bearers of Württemberg VI

(Continued from “The Standard-Bearers of Württemberg V” on 8 December 2017) Amongst Germany’s 13 wine regions, Württemberg stands out as an anomaly on two counts. First, it

Good Buy II: Where To

Following our previous chapter about critics, we can extend this contempt to wine competitions and other gold medals, the results of which can be questionable. This can

The Tropical Spirit

Covering some 28,000 sqkm and with a population of 1.4 million, the Great State of Hawai‘i is the 50th and youngest one of the US of A. Hawai‘i

Good Buy I: The Critics

Here comes the delicate moment of choosing and purchasing a wine. Our last chapter about deciphering wine labels is part of the process, and now several more ways

Label Deciphering

Choosing a wine based only on its label can make you feel like an explorer in front of an unknown civilisation. This applies particularly to wines of the

The Palatine Idyll

With some 23,000ha of vineyards, Pfalz is Germany’s second largest wine region, marginally smaller than Rheinhessen, which has approximately 26,000ha. Formerly known as Rheinpfalz (or Rhine Palatinate in

The Port Side

Before its reputation as a wine-producing country was recognised, Portugal used to be first and foremost a Port-producing country. Port was the first Portuguese wine to achieve international


The use of oak barrel to store wine is at least as old as Jesus. Back when the Romans invaded the Gauls, they discovered that some locals were

The Standard-Bearers of Württemberg V

(Continued from “The Standard-Bearers of Württemberg IV” on 1 September 2017) Besides being the capital and the largest city of Württemberg and indeed Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart is one

Glassware Reflection

I’m not proud to say that I used to be part of the vast majority who thought that as long as a glass is waterproof it will do the

The Saxon Renaissance

On 3 October 1990, the Free State of Saxony (Freistaat Sachsen) formally became part of the reunified Germany. East Germany, for the most part of its history (1949-1990),

The Alchemist’s Magic

Legally defined by Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 s.3(2) as “a blend of one or more Single Malt Scotch Whiskies with one or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies”, blended


People often seem to think that the sommelier’s main job is to laugh out loud at any wine suggestion a customer might have. Au contraire, the main

Vine & Wine

The biggest catastrophe that the wine world has had to face was the infection of a tiny bug called phylloxera, originally from northwest America, which nearly wiped out

The German Connection

That Alentejo has been one of the spearheads of Portugal’s vinous renaissance over the past 40 years is not without good reasons. Covering nearly one third of Portugal’s

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