Shiraz

by Tim Atkin
I’ve always considered it neatly ironic that Shiraz, one of the world’s greatest red grape varieties, takes its name from a town in Iran. Ironic because Iran is not exactly...

Grenache

by Tim Atkin
Jacques Reynaud, the late owner of Château Rayas, was notorious for playing tricks on journalists. A friend of mine once told me a story about turning up for a pre-arranged...

Cabernet Sauvignon

by Tim Atkin
If grape varieties were football teams – bear with me for a second if you’d rather eat iron filings than hear about our beleaguered national sport – then Cabernet Sauvignon...

Pinot Gris

by Tim Atkin
As a kid, I was a great fan of a cartoon show called Secret Squirrel. (Yes, I am that old.) The furtive rodent was a master of disguise. I don’t...

Tempranillo

by Tim Atkin
Cenicero is one of the nicest towns in Rioja, with a picturesque central square, narrow streets of white-walled houses and an elevated walkway full of old-timers in black berets philosophically...

Riesling

by Tim Atkin
A wine merchant friend of mine likes to play an innocuous trick on members of the public. When novice punters come up to him at tastings and ask for a...

Gewürztraminer

by Tim Atkin
On my first visit to Istanbul, I spent a fascinating, if expensive, afternoon amid the colourful madness of the Grand Bazaar. There were slick performances from salesmen offering ‘big cheapness’...

Sauvignon Blanc

by Tim Atkin
My local wine merchant was in conspiratorial mood. ‘I have a couple of bottles under the counter. I can let you have them but, for goodness’ sake, don’t tell anyone...

Semillon

by Tim Atkin
To the uninitiated, harvesting grapes can seem like a lot of fun. What could be nicer than walking, secateurs in hand, down a row of fruit-laden vines, with autumn sunshine...

Nuts

by Tim Atkin
Wine tasting is an inexact science. We professional slurpers talk in generalities rather than specifics. That’s why terms like ‘nutty’ crop up so often in tasting notes. The same goes...

Petrol

by Tim Atkin
The satirical columnist, Simon Hoggart, once ran an occasional series of disgusting-sounding tasting notes which, as he put it, ‘would make you decide never ever to buy, still less open,...