Category Archives: Ramblings and Rants

Bordeaux en primeur – still ’in the doldrums’?

Oxford_blogFor those of you with an interest in the fine wines of Bordeaux and the en primeur circus, here’s an interesting article from Oxford Today, the university magazine, which we’ve republished with their kind permission. Several reasonably bright friends and family brought it to our attention. Hanneke Wilson, the wine steward at Exeter college, explains how en primeur is regarded by the Oxford colleges – once a strong market for Bordeaux. (In French too, for the Bordelais.)

The piece was from last Autumn, and focuses on the Bordeaux 2014 vintage – a very good one – but the points about consumer confidence and the way the offers come out are still valid. Keep reading

How UK wine duty, up 60% in 8 years, stacks up against others in the EU

UK wine duty went up to £2.50 a bottle (£2.08 ex-Vat) in the Budget on 16 March, which was disappointing following last year’s ’freeze’. It now seems that the freeze thawed fairly soon after the General Election and that any future drop in duty is unlikely.

I’ve updated the charts I’ve used before showing how the UK compares with the rest of Europe – not well – and the evolution of wine duty since 2000. It is demonstrably unfair to the British wine consumer, and spare a thought for the poor Irish. The Irish have the highest duty on wine, with Britain in second place.


It’s reasonable to believe that duty is almost non-existent in wine producing countries to protect their local industries, but what about wine-loving Belgium on just 40p a bottle? And as you can see below, the last eight years have been much tougher on British wine drinkers compared to the previous eight. (We bought the vineyard and started selling our wine in the UK in 2000.) The exchange rate is included to show the relative buying power of sterling against the euro. 005005_BudgetGraph-002 Keep reading

Those new UK drinking guidelines


With all that new wine, it feels strange to be cast in the role of villain. You’ve probably seen Dame Sally’s new UK drinking guidelines and you might be as bemused as we are. Most of our wine ends up in Britain; we don’t regard it as poison and we’re confident that most of our customers don’t either (oi, no heckling from the back). Wine is something to be enjoyed, especially with a meal, and when you’ve had enough, just stop.

Here are some excellent articles on the subject. We’re slightly biased, naturally.

Andrew Jefford in Decanter magazine: UK drinking limits – toxic advice?

“Britain’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, fired a torpedo at the nation’s drinkers in the first week of 2016. Or did she? Let’s examine the facts.”

Keep reading

London’s fine wine club: 67 Pall Mall – in pictures


We were thrilled that London’s smartest new club, 67 Pall Mall, poured Chateau Bauduc throughout the opening evenings last week. 200 bottles of Les Trois Hectares red 2011 disappeared, and half as much Sauvignon Blanc on top, alongside the free-flowing Gosset Champagne. Well done to all the team – a cracking effort.

Master of Wine and club member Richard Hemming has published A first look inside 67 Pall Mall. ’Les Trois Hectares 2011 was on very fine form’ he wrote.

With this gallery below, scroll over or touch a picture for a description; click for a larger image then scroll using < and > on the screen. Tap X top left to return.

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