Eating humble pie
August has been the humble pie season and I’ve had a double-helping! First, I said I’d never blog and here I am, writing my first blog! Second, I ditched my street cred, borrowed Sir Cliff Richard’s biography from my local library (really!) and headed out to his Algarve winery, Adega do Cantor, for an uncorked/unplugged visit to taste his wines and hear him live in concert. Never thought I’d say this but what a great performer, boyish in looks, energy and voice. Read my report of the visit here.
So, what about this blogging business. Maybe it’s taken 10 years to ditch the conservative lawyer in me, but I have social media gurus and pro (as in for and professional) wine bloggers Ryan and Gabriella Opaz to thank for my induction. The Barcelona based dynamic duo’s website, Catavino, is a mine of information on Spain and Portugal. I met them at the Essencia do Vinho wine fair in Portugal in March and wow, it’s taken only 6 months to convert me – so now you know who to blame for unleashing regular Ahmed wine spiel into the ether! And yes, they’ve even persuaded me to microblog a.k.a. tweet…
Regular readers will notice that this blog spot is part of a major overhaul of my website. I set up my first cheap as chips website in 2005 when I went freelance and, though it’s been good for promoting my tastings and events, it served less well as a place to post my wine notes and thoughts. To be honest, back then I’d just published my first features and had no idea that my wine writing would become so successful that I could develop a following for my writing too via the website.
So it’s now very timely to beef up this element of the website not least since, for my specialist areas, Australia, the Loire, Portugal and South Africa, I have plenty of information to share. This you will find in individual regional reports’ pages for each area. For other regions or reports of retailer tastings etc, check out the imaginatively named (not!) “Other” category on the regional reports’ page. And I’ll post highlights of reports on my blog which will be a space, nay forum, for wine chat, opinion and views, yours and mine, so post away your thoughts on any wines I’ve tasted or regions I’ve visited. Be great for a spitter like me to have the drinkers’ take!
Under regional reports I’ve uploaded as many tasting notes and trip reports as I’ve had time to muster and type up – an ongoing process but I’m sure you’ll find lots to whet the taste buds including new to regular readers:
Australia – tasting notes from a Grange –v- Bin 389 vertical hosted by Penfolds’ Chief Winemaker Peter Gago and current and older releases shown at a Great Wine Estates of Western Australia Masterclass. Members of the GWEWA are Cape Mentelle, Cullen Wines, Devil’s Lair, Howard Park, Houghton, Leeuwin Estate, Moss Wood, Pierro, Plantagenet, Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate and Xanadu.
The Loire – a write up of an auction release tasting of Domaine Huet Vouvrays.
South Africa – notes of a tasting of old, rare Pinotage (including the first Pinotage ever bottled – the Lanzerac 1959) and from De Wetshof’s cream of the crop of South African Chardonnay tastings of 2006 and 2008. (Flickr photo by Ryan Opaz)
There’s a handy search box on the new site so that you can home in on the specifics. And you can keep up-to-date with new posts and reports by subscribing to my newsletters via the contact page or by clicking on the orange RSS tab on my home page. You’ll then receive updates direct to your inbox for free!
And as if the new all blogging and dancing presence is not enough, you can hear me, talking to Bryn Terfel about wine on the BBC Radio 4 programme “ Opera singer Bryn Terfel attempts to become a master sommelier,” which was broadcast on this Saturday, 29 August. It also features contributions from Brian Julyan, Chief Examiner for The Court of Master Sommeliers, Vanya Cullen Chief Winemaker at Cullen Wines, Edouard Oger sommelier at Gidleigh Park Restaurant, Neleen Strauss co-owner of High Timber Restaurant and Alun Griffiths Master of Wine of Berry Bros & Rudd.
The Wine Detective