Bordeaux plays cat and mouse

by Tim Atkin
There were sixteen flags fluttering forlornly in the drizzle outside Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, each representing a different nation. Some of them were making their debuts at the 2009 en primeur tastings,...

Thank you, Mr Darling

by Tim Atkin
Even when you’re prepared for it, a punch to the stomach still hurts. Alistair Darling warned the wine industry in March 2008 that the annual duty escalator would be 2%...

Are we ready for Turkish wine?

by Tim Atkin
“Read it? I know him.” Travelling around Turkey on a wine trip, there are times when you’re reminded of the joke about the Polish man who goes to the optician’s...

A Hedonist’s Paradise

by Tim Atkin
No one needs an excuse to go to Wellington, New Zealand’s most cosmopolitan, food-loving city, when it’s central heating and thermals time back in Europe. But throw in the chance...

Happy Birthday, Cloudy Bay

by Tim Atkin
Happy birthday, Cloudy Bay. As the first grapes of 2010 are picked in Marlborough, New Zealand’s largest wine region, the country’s most famous winery is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Who...

The cheat’s guide to wine

by Tim Atkin
There must be some very long faces on the other side of the Channel at the moment. The French have always suspected we were a treacherous bunch, but they’ve just...

A beginner’s guide to Champagne

by Tim Atkin
THE WINE BOX Become an instant expert — this month: Champagne Dom Pérignon didn’t invent bubbles; we did. Christopher Merret presented a paper to the Royal Society about sparkling wine...

Beware of floods, fires and locusts

by Tim Atkin
If “Sex change bishop in mercy dash to Palace” is the funniest fictitious headline ever written, then “Small earthquake in Chile: not many dead” is surely the dullest. Claud Cockburn’s...

French wines and Charles Aznavour

by Tim Atkin
“Fall in love with France again” sounds like a Charles Aznavour song — imagine it crooned in a soft-toned Gallic accent — but it’s actually the title that one importer...

Wine: Is it the real thing?

by Tim Atkin
How could they tell? The recent kerfuffle about fake pinot noir in the Languedoc reminded me of Dorothy Parker’s quip about the death of President Calvin Coolidge. If you missed...