The Rules of BYO

by Matt Walls
Many of us have a few ‘special’ bottles in our collections but finding the time to drink them can prove surprisingly tricky. We don’t all have the skills or the...

The hidden red of the Southern Rhône

by Matt Walls
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – and her sister, Pippa. Andy Murray – and his brother, Jamie. Beyoncé Knowles – and her sister, Solange. Having a more famous brother or sister...

The Kingdom of the Blind

by Matt Walls
Most wine professionals have a story of when they aced a blind tasting, a well-worn tale of olfactory deduction that would have Sherlock Holmes slack-jawed in amazement. It inevitably concludes...

Crab brains and Cabernet

by Matt Walls
The last twenty metres of road aren’t yet tarmacked on the way to He Jin Zun winery in Ningxia, northern China, so we get out and crunch over the gravel...

Eccentric Current

by Matt Walls
English sparkling wine producers collectively present a terribly well-to-do appearance, all smart chinos and glasses of fizz on the lawn. But Pythonesque tendrils are creeping through the cracks in the...

Undeniable class

by Matt Walls
Imagine trying to buy a bottle of Burgundy if appellations didn’t exist. You’d have the producer, the vintage, maybe a brand name. But with no agreed village boundaries, let alone...

Missing link

by Matt Walls
The UK is home to over 400 branches of Nando’s. Greene King runs over 3,100 pubs and restaurants. There are over 2,300 Costa cafes; 12 in Chelmsford alone. We British...

Capital ventures

by Matt Walls
When London’s first urban winery opened in 2013, I was cynical. But London Cru is still going strong, having since won multiple awards for its wines and gained listings in...

The perfect 8/10 vintage

by Matt Walls
Last week I opened a bottle of 2010 Bordeaux. Nothing fancy – Château La Tour de By, a reliable Cru Bourgeois from the Médoc. Nope; still not ready. It hardly...

Has the sun set on UK wine blogging?

by Matt Walls
What does success look like for the UK’s best wine bloggers? Gaining ever more readers? An endless stream of free samples? Or perhaps earning money from advertising? It’s different for...

Floral testimony

by Matt Walls
In the car park on my street there is a rose bush. Every so often when walking past I pause to cup one of the red flowers in my hand,...

The winelover’s secret map

by Matt Walls
Standing in his sun-drenched hallway, my friend and I stood before the newly-hung painting that he bought not long ago. “With a bit of luck, it might even go up...