As this is my last Bristol Wine Blog of 2016, I thought I’d like to share some highlights of a very busy year with you.
Back in the spring, on a trip to Burgundy, I got first-hand experience of what biodynamic winemaking really means:
Here, a group from the local village are retrieving manure from cow horns. The manure is packed into the horns in the autumn and buried all winter. It is then recovered in the spring, mixed with water and spread in the vineyard to promote growth. Surprisingly, the manure smelt quite sweet – not at all what I was expecting.
Then, in the height of summer, a wonderful visit to the Rhine and Mosel. As often as I had read of the exceptional steepness of the vineyards there, it isn’t until you see them first hand that you really realise what is meant by hillside vineyards:
But this visit was also memorable for the extraordinary warmth shown to us by the locals the day after the result of the British vote to leave the European Union was announced.
A September visit to Lugano in Switzerland just happened to coincide with the local wine fair! I really didn’t know this in advance – honestly!!
But I took advantage of the opportunity to taste a few bottles that I’ve never seen in Britain. I’m not convinced that White Merlot – one of the local specialities – has much of a future beyond the region!
Perhaps the best wines I tasted during the year were at the dinner organised by Great Western Wine at Bath’s Allium Restaurant to mark the 40th Anniversary of the so-called ‘Judgement of Paris’. This was the blind tasting held in 1976 at which a group of French wine experts preferred a selection of top Californian wines to those from Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Sadly, despite this result and even 40 years on, there are still some who think that only France can make top quality wines.
And then, as the leaves fell to mark autumn, a superb overnight stay at Three Choirs vineyard in Gloucestershire. A delightful walk up through the vines from our room followed by breakfast looking out over this view. Could anything be more perfect?
So now, as 2016 comes to an end, all that remains is to thank you for your continuing support and wish you a very happy and peaceful New Year.