The latest bit of food and drink language-torture to get me all peevish is “natural wine”. […] For a start there is the idea of “naturalness”. A quick bit of undergraduate philosophy: if the human race is a natural phenomenon, then anything we do is natural, just as it’s natural for ants to make ant hills and rabbits to dig holes. It doesn’t mean everything we do is fine. But it does mean that calling one thing we do natural and something else unnatural is to take the English language, jump all over it, drive a stake through its heart, cover it in butane, drop a match on it and laugh at the guttering flames.

But here’s what matters. Every natural wine I have ever tried has been horrible. It’s felt like punishment; a sweet promise broken. If that’s what additive-free wine is like – the whacking smell of a pigsty before it’s been cleaned down, an acrid, grim burst of acid that makes you want to cry – then bring on the chemicals. Hurrah for sulphur. Hurrah for humankind and its ability to use all the tools at its disposal to make nice things to drink.

A thoroughly agreeable commentary on natural wine by Jay Rayner from his November 2011 restaurant review of Green Man and French Horn.

Charming short film (with a very cool, lazy, guitar-noodling soundtrack) showing the development of a wooden box for Runiart Champagne designed by Piet Hein Eek.

Beautiful attention to detail and high production values (as always!) by Stranger & Stranger for Wiston Estate.

Using architecture as a brand tool? We’d agree, some of Spain’s modern bodegas are things of beauty and prestige. 

As seen in today’s Financial Times – we’re well intellectual, yeah.

This has been doing the rounds lately – is that actually a real pistol?!

Most Dangerous Ways to Open a Bottle of Wine (by XtremeWineProduction)

Simple die-cut identity for a range of Spanish wines. The attention to detail with the string-wrapped necks and the stamped corks is especially pleasing  as in that cheeky fullstop.
Designed by Javier Garduño Estudio de Diseño, Spain Simple die-cut identity for a range of Spanish wines. The attention to detail with the string-wrapped necks and the stamped corks is especially pleasing  as in that cheeky fullstop.
Designed by Javier Garduño Estudio de Diseño, Spain Simple die-cut identity for a range of Spanish wines. The attention to detail with the string-wrapped necks and the stamped corks is especially pleasing  as in that cheeky fullstop.
Designed by Javier Garduño Estudio de Diseño, Spain Simple die-cut identity for a range of Spanish wines. The attention to detail with the string-wrapped necks and the stamped corks is especially pleasing  as in that cheeky fullstop.
Designed by Javier Garduño Estudio de Diseño, Spain

Simple die-cut identity for a range of Spanish wines. The attention to detail with the string-wrapped necks and the stamped corks is especially pleasing  as in that cheeky fullstop.

Designed by Javier Garduño Estudio de Diseño, Spain

The accompanying video to the post below about the children-illustrated wine labels: Masroig Vi Solidari — 3a Edició

Well this is the most beautiful, heart-warming thing we’ve seen in ages. 1,750 plain labels, illustrated and scribbled on by children, applied to bottles of wine and then sold to raise €30,000 for child cancer research.
What a simple but emotionally fulfilling idea, wonderfully realised by Spanish studio Atipus. Watch the video here. Well this is the most beautiful, heart-warming thing we’ve seen in ages. 1,750 plain labels, illustrated and scribbled on by children, applied to bottles of wine and then sold to raise €30,000 for child cancer research.
What a simple but emotionally fulfilling idea, wonderfully realised by Spanish studio Atipus. Watch the video here. Well this is the most beautiful, heart-warming thing we’ve seen in ages. 1,750 plain labels, illustrated and scribbled on by children, applied to bottles of wine and then sold to raise €30,000 for child cancer research.
What a simple but emotionally fulfilling idea, wonderfully realised by Spanish studio Atipus. Watch the video here.

Well this is the most beautiful, heart-warming thing we’ve seen in ages. 1,750 plain labels, illustrated and scribbled on by children, applied to bottles of wine and then sold to raise €30,000 for child cancer research.

What a simple but emotionally fulfilling idea, wonderfully realised by Spanish studio Atipus. Watch the video here.

It’s Friday! Hear hear…

It’s Friday! Hear hear…

I Got Crus in Different Area Codes

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Like wine? Course you do! Like hip-hop too? Well then get your hands on a copy of Noble Rot, an alternative wine zine featuring, amongst other articles,  an interview with Mike D and an assessment of Jay-Z’s role in the fortunes of the champagne industry.

A colleague asked me for some advice on finding a dry Riesling, so I thought I’d post the email here, just in case you might be looking for something similar.

Hello,

Forgive me if you know this already, but I think the best places for dry Riesling is Clare Valley and Eden Valley near Adelaide. Anything with those appellations on the bottle will be dry, zesty, limey and zingy! I’m sure there are some good German/Alsace dry Rieslings, but I’m less confident knowing how to pick them.

Look out for Knappstein, Peter Lehmann and Grossett producers, and my favourite is the Pewsey Vale Riesling, but can’t find it in any supermarkets. What’s great about Eden/Clare Valley Rieslings, is they are super fresh and dry to enjoy young, but have enough acid to age for a long time into something even more interesting.

Try…

Pewsey Vale Riesling
From N. D. John

The Lodge Hill Riesling 2012 Jim Barry, Clare Valley (nice label)
From Majestic

O’Leary Walker Polish Hill Riesling
From Ocado

Henschke Julius Riesling 2009 (if I had the money!)
From Tesco

Also, Austria tends to make white wines in a much drier style, so check out…

Loimer Seeberg Riesling (Loimer make great wines!)
From Tesco

And maybe try a Gruner Veltliner, which tend to be VERY dry!
From Waitrose

Hope that helps,

Ed
x

What’s it like to be a winemaker? Here’s a nice short film about the life and work of Ernst Storm of Storm Wines, Santa Barbara County.

Shot in a typical low-budget art-student aesthetic on a DSLR, it has short depth-of-field, handheld wonkiness, a Sigur Rós soundtrack and picture of someone holding something in their grubby hands. If you like that kind of thing, and motorcycles, check out The Build Film and pretty much everything on Vimeo.

Simple type and a wax top, all on a reused glass bottle. What more do you need?

From the Garage Wine Co. website:

What’s with the stencils and silk screening?

Our first few vintages were bottled in reused glass that we painted with stencil like old port and re-used amongst friends. No one seemed to appreciate the Madiera type artistry so we began silk screening a more polished presentation when strangers began buying wine (who sadly but realistically would not be returning the bottles).

Painted labels are still done, one by one, by hand on a machine we built. We continue bottling in previously imbibed bottles because it just feels right, giving two uses to the glass. We have a terrific source of great used glass (see our  classic motel champagne bottle for the Carignan, and classic round shouldered port-style bottle for the big reds— for us: perfect, cleaner, and cheaper. Better to reduce and reuse than recycle if one stops to think.

Waxing our bottle necks instead of using capsules has become a tradition. It is the final physical touch required to make GWCo. The secret: we wax bottles with food-safe crayon wax we acquire from a small school supplies manufacturer who just happens to be a big supporter and Futures buyer.

It’s Friday! Wine boobs! Yeah.
Beautiful embroidery style label for Camins del Priorat, which also gives us an excuse to repost the lovely Logan label design in a similar vein. Beautiful embroidery style label for Camins del Priorat, which also gives us an excuse to repost the lovely Logan label design in a similar vein.

Beautiful embroidery style label for Camins del Priorat, which also gives us an excuse to repost the lovely Logan label design in a similar vein.