Oeno-File, the Wine & Gastronomy Column

by Frank Ward

Archive for the ‘Other Countries’ Category

BAROLO & BARBARESCO – Study in Scarlet

Posted by Frank Ward on December 17, 2017

December 2017. Earlier this year I attended a tasting of Piedmont wines hosted by Justerini & Brooks. The focus was on the 2013 vintage. Luckily a number of growers had the imagination also to show some more mature wines, notably from 2009, 2006, 2003, and 1999. This gave an invaluable insight into how Piedmont wines develop in the course of time. How else can one get to understand the long-term prospects of such wines, which can be especially hard to judge in youth? Barolo, that most masculine of Italian wines, vastly outnumbered all other appellations at the tasting; but some Barbarescos merited [….]

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A Taster’s Tour of Three Kent Vineyards

Posted by Frank Ward on August 31, 2017

August 2017. Tasting trips usually entail long flights to vineyards in other lands, so it was pure luxury when, a day or so ago, I climbed into a friend’s car and was among the vines only 40 minutes after leaving home. The wineries were all English; and all in Kent. Kent can boast quite a few vineyards. And since I live in Kent, they’re almost literally on my doorstep. English wine was just a cottage industry a decade or two ago. In the interim it’s grown considerably. Today, some 130 estates on 2,000 hectares produce well over 6 million bottles annually. [….]

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A retrospective review of Eating Out in Stockholm

Posted by Frank Ward on July 14, 2017

July 2017. In 1972 – 45 years ago – I published a guide to the restaurants of Stockholm: “Eating out in Stockholm”. Nobody had ever before tried to make an objective, critical appraisal of the Swedish capital’s eating out scene. To my amazement – and dismay – it created a bit of a sensation. It turned the country’s leading krögare (restaurateur), Tore Wretman, incandescent with rage. He led a campaign not just against me personally but also against my publisher, Bertil Hökby of Prisma Books. He induced gossip columnists in the Swedish press to print defamatory tales about him – he, a scholarly person of transparent honesty and integrity. As for me, Wretman banned me from his restaurants, the prestigious Operakällaren [….]

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New World Wines – Old World Terroir

Posted by Frank Ward on March 27, 2017

March 2017. Simpson’s Wine Estate is a totally new property created, here in the old world, in the purest spirit of the new world. The location: Barham in Kent, “the garden of England”. Three 10-hectare plots of land were chosen where no vines had ever grown before; a winery was created within the shell of an old barn, complete with offices and a (projected) tasting room; and Kent-based fruit pickers were induced to transfer their fruit-sensitized fingers from apples and pears to the more fragile fruits of the vine. [….]

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Austria Revisited

Posted by Frank Ward on February 27, 2017

February 2017. Herewith a few wines, out of many hundreds on show, sampled by me at a vast tasting of Austrian wine recently held in London. Most of those sampled were white, 100% either Grüner Veltliner (a characterful indigenous variety) or Riesling – a grape that gives outstanding results in many countries, especially Austria, France (Alsace) and Australasia.[….]

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A Few Aussie Wines

Posted by Frank Ward on January 30, 2017

January 2017. The other day I dropped in on the Australia Day tasting in London. A thousand wines were being sniffed at, sipped, guzzled, gargled, and (mostly) spat out by a thousand avid tasters of all ages, shapes, sizes, and dispositions. The wines were likewise varied: light and ingratiating, vigorous and enticing, dark and complex, elegant and nuanced. It was as cheerfully noisy an event as a football stadium with the home side winning. And the most crowded tasting I’ve ever attended.[….]

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Major Tasting of 37 Top Australian Chardonnays

Posted by Frank Ward on October 19, 2016

October 2016. How good are Australian Chardonnays? I tasted some good ones 36 years ago (and plenty of other white and red varietals) – when Len Evans invited me down to Château Rahoul in the Graves – in Bordeaux of all places! – to deepen my understanding of Australian wines. Not one to let any opportunity slip, he also roped me in to help pick unripe grapes in the catastrophic 1980 vintage, then in progress. Under unceasing rain we got very wet together. Since then I’ve tasted all kinds of Australian wines [….]

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A Taste of Vienna – Twenty Five Years after

Posted by Frank Ward on February 28, 2016

AvatarFebruary 2016. A quarter-century ago, in 1990, I visited the Wieninger winery in Vienna and tasted some wines. I was then the wine correspondent of “The European”.Twenty-five vintages later, in late 2015, I went back to taste some more. The wines were good all those years ago; now they’re not only better but there are a lot more of them. The winery is still run by Fritz Wieninger. When I first met him he had 10.5 hectares of vines.[….]

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Posted by Frank Ward on February 9, 2016

AvatarFebruary 2016. Pavel Zemek Novak (may his tribe increase), learning that I was about to visit the Czech Republic, agreed to show me around his native city of Brno – his country’s second city – and to drive me to one of the best wine estates in the nearby Moravia region. To put you in the picture, Pavel has been described as one of the most individual and distinctive composers of his generation. He has written a large body of symphonic , choral, chamber and orchestral works and teaches music in his native city, at the Brno Conservatoire. [….]

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