Anthony Rose writes a column about wine for The Independent.
03 November 2012 12:00 AM
It's a measure of how far the company has come since Tony Laithwaite hawked his wares in a Ford van that Laithwaites felt bold enough to put a selection of fine wines into its autumn wine tasting. Starting out as Bordeaux Direct, Laithwaites is part of the Direct Wines empire that includes the Sunday Times Wine Club, Avery's and virginwines.com. It must have been a tricky decision because 'fine wine' can be a no-no for value seekers. And along with exclusive labels, Laithwaites prides itself on value for money.
20 October 2012 12:00 AM
After Nacho Manzano's divine beetroot gazpacho soup at Ibérica in Marylebone, I was excited to see what David Muñoz, the chef of two-Michelin star DiverXO in Madrid, could do. Muñoz was invited as Manzano's guest to cook dinner at the new Ibérica in Canary Wharf.
Anthony Rose: 'Patrick Sandeman helped transform Lea & Sandeman into one of London's most impressive retailers'
13 October 2012 12:00 AM
Chatting to Patrick Sandeman at The Bunch's autumn press tasting, it was beyond anyone's worst nightmare that this most talented and popular of wine merchants would lose his life in a horrific skydiving accident a week later. A fixture of the London wine scene, Patrick, with his partner Charles Lea, transformed Lea & Sandeman's single Fulham shop into one of London's most impressive retailers.
06 October 2012 12:00 AM
It’s an ill wind as they say and the economic climate of recent years has blown benignly for the big German discounters Aldi and Lidl. With over 1,000 stores in the UK between them, Aldi (461) and Lidl (600) have both seized on a gap in the market for attracting new customers to their everyday low-price models. As cogs in the wheels of two bigger leviathans, they’re in a great position to pare overheads, and consequently prices, to the bone. The prize is the number of ABC1 yummy mummies sashaying into their car parks in their 4x4s.
Anthony Rose: 'South-west France's native grape varieties have been rescued from near pariah status'
22 September 2012 12:00 AM
Rural south-west France is the essence of the route feared by the less adventurous tourist in case of discovering something other than a beach. With the pink city of Toulouse at its hub, it's a colourful tapestry of 17 wine regions stretching from the Massif Central to the Pyrenean foothills. The better-known are Cahors, Gaillac, Madiran and the Côtes de Gascogne, but its 5,000 winemakers also lurk in obscure crannies such as Entraygues et Fel, Estaing and Thézac-Perricard (hands up who's heard of those?).
15 September 2012 12:00 AM
As I was adding a host of obscure grape names such as pelaverga, areni noir, and bovale sardo to some tasting notes recently, I was struck by the extent to which our experience of wine is circumscribed by a tendency to complacency. Like sticking to the same old newspaper, washing-up liquid, car or, as often as not, wine, brand loyalty may well be a virtue in the eyes of the marketing industry but it's as often as not the refuge of unadventurous consumers. A continually expanding wine universe challenges us to peer our from under the shell of our comfort zone and stick noses into an expanding array of new flavours and experiences.
08 September 2012 12:00 AM
I was standing on a Tuscan hilltop with one of the region's great winemakers, Paolo de Marchi, when the call came through from his importer, Liberty Wines' David Gleave MW. "David's unhappy," said Paolo. "At a wine dinner last night, two of my Isole e Olena chianti classicos were corked." He was talking, of course, about the problem of cork taint, which has become so prevalent that producers have been forced to find alternatives such as plastic, glass, and, most notably, the screwcap.
01 September 2012 12:00 AM
After the last tasting at which my mother refused to spit anything out, I was grateful for the fact that this wasn't an option at London's poshest new wine emporium, Hedonism Wines. Not so much as a sniff, in fact, of the fabled 1811 Yquem comet vintage at £97k or the grandiose Penfolds Ampoule at £120k. However, Tatiana Fokina, the Mayfair shop manager, was keen to impress on us that 500 of their 4,500 lines, including 1,000 spirits, cost less than £30.
18 August 2012 12:00 AM
An invitation to judge wine competitions in Japan and China last month gave me an irresistible opportunity to take a good look at the fledgling wine industries of these two Asian powerhouses side by side. Comparisons are, as they say, odious and the differences are in fact far more interesting and extensive than any features they have in common.
11 August 2012 12:00 AM
Offers for Bordeaux 2011 are now closing or closed. Did anyone notice? The 'campaign' to sell the 2011 vintage is a candidate for the most disastrous ever. How such a normally savvy region can get it quite so wrong is hard to grasp, but the Greek word hubris comes to mind. With a unique system known as the place, all the donkey work of selling is done by the city's merchants, so the châteaux don't have to get their hands dirty. But the châteaux fix the prices and they came unstuck this time round thanks to overpricing a perfectly good but not great vintage.
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