Top UK Wine Merchants

If you’re serious about developing a wine collection, don’t overlook the UK’s splendid array of independent wine merchants. These companies aren’t the cheapest places to buy a bottle of basic...

Wine Vintages

One of my favourite cartoons, published by the Pacific Wine Company, depicts a vintage bore surrounded by people who’ve hanged themselves out of tedium: ‘I’ve just started drinking the 1982s,...

Lebanon

by Tim Atkin
Part salesman, part winemaker, part impresario, Serge Hochar is standing on the steps of Château Musar, arms extended in greeting. Hochar gives “good quote”, as we journalists like to say,...

The Douro Valley

by Tim Atkin
If you’re fond of trains, the 110 mile trip from Oporto to Pocinho, close to the Spanish border, is one of the most beautiful railway journeys in the world. For...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...