"Buy my book about the Roussillon on Amazon UK in paperback or eBook or black & white version, and Amazon USA: paperback or eBook or black & white. OR BUY IT DIRECT FROM ME (UK & EU only). Also available in the US from Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback or eBook. For other countries, tap on the link above the cover (below)." Richard Mark James

17 September 2021

France, Roussillon: Domaine of the Bee

Bees like lavender.

This is the first full update on Roussillon wine producers since I published my book on the region (did I mention it already?! Click there for details), focusing on new vintages and releases from wineries featured in the book, and potentially any new-to-me places that would then be slotted into the winery guide sections for a future edition. Domaine of the Bee was tentatively launched in 2004 (some old vines purchased) by Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, wife Amanda and business partner Philippe Sacerdot, with their first 2007 vintage unleashed in 2009, and who are working on the 15th vintage at the moment. You'll find the full story and commentary on their wines over the years in the book. Notes on 2019 vintage reds, 2020 white and rosé and English bubbly are posted below.

06 September 2021

Coventry & Manchester: bars, beers, restaurants.

The Gourmet Food Kitchen seems to be a unique idea in UK City of Culture Coventry, launched by local chef Tony Davies (pic. below) 'who has worked in kitchens across Europe.' Located in Fargo Village just out of the centre (Far Gosford Street, Coventry CV1 5ED), which has the feel of a burgeoning trendy boho kind of spot. Tony offers 'a chef table experience' reserved in advance on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for 12 guests only, whether one large group together or a few smaller tables and seated outside when the weather's good, serving up a slow onslaught of seven flavoursome elegant and varied mini-courses across the evening, each one introduced by the chef.

06 August 2021

Bubbly and white wines of the moment

Photo from saint-chinian.pro
Château Viranel Intuition blanc 2020 Saint-Chinian Languedoc (60% Grenache blanc, 15% Roussanne, 20% Vermentino, 5% Bourboulenc, 13.5% abv) - This delicious mix of southern French grape varieties undergoes a modest 15% of the blend fermented in barrels (and all the better for it) with the completed wine stored and stirred on the yeast-lees for three months to maximise flavour and texture. Lovely aromatic floral nose with grapey honeysuckle and aniseed tones, lightly lees-y palate with full rounded and oily mouthfeel then fresh and zesty finish, concentrated flavour too. Tasty and classy. €10-€11 France and Belgium, £16.99 Bancroft Wines London, 185 KR Sweden, €12 Germany.

30 July 2021

Old Luxters Farm Brewery: craft ales of the moment.


This multi-faceted business is also known as the Chiltern Valley Winery & Brewery and Old Luxters Vineyard and Barn (wedding reception venue), with a luxury farmhouse B&B (four rooms) and cookery school too; in addition, they make a range of fruit liqueurs and sell local cheeses, honey and chocolates among other things! Certainly couldn't accuse them of not being enterprising.

09 July 2021

South of France, Pays d'Oc part three: Rosé.

These five rosés are all IGP Pays d'Oc from the Languedoc.
Marselan 2020 Les Caves Richemer (13.5% abv) - As I said in two previous posts about IGP Pays d'Oc (part 1 and part 2), Marselan is a crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache that's been around for a few decades and has adapted well to the Languedoc. Well-made easy-going tasty rosé combining juicy red fruits and white peach with creamier food-leaning mouth-weight and fresh zingy finish. Not bad match with a kinda 'surf & turf' pasta dish: spicy sausage tortelloni topped with bolognese and sardine sauce with courgettes, garlic, ginger and smoked paprika! France cellar door €4.30, Netherlands €8.95, US €9.99.