The List




The List: Wine


Chateau Ausone

There is an oft touted theory with claret that the right bank wines from Saint Emilion and Pomerol are softer and more approachable in their youth than the serious minded, cabernet sauvingnon-dominated left bank wines of Margaux, Pauillac, et al. Whilst there might be some truth to this generalisation, like most sweeping statements it is easily contradicted... click here for more



Clos Des Papes

Chateauneuf du Pape, with its thirteen permitted grape varieties (for red wine, at least) may seem like a rather strange appellation to modern drinkers brought up on more prescriptive AOCs. After all, how can an appellation that permits any proportion of grapes, ranging from the familiar (syrah) to the obscure (terret noir), to be used in its wines, be of any use in guaranteeing a level of quality and consistency to the consumer... click here for more


Chateau Conseillante

The 1855 classification system casts a long shadow over Bordeaux. Despite being the subject of much criticism over the past century or so, the system, and its various ‘grand cru’ epithets, still maintain a hegemony, of sorts, with the aristocratic cru classe chateaux lording it over the middle class cru bourgeois and the plain old working class AOC wines... click here for more




Chateau Cos D'Estournel

Saint Estephe would be forgiven for having something of an inferiority complex; it is only separated from the great Chateau Lafite Rothchild and Pauillac by a small stream, yet it does not possess that appellation’s Premier Grand Cru, having to make do with two mere second growths. And, no matter how hard it tries, it has never caught the imagination of the public in the same way as Margaux, or even the upstart Pomerol... click here for more



Chateau d'YQuem

Like the duck billed platypus, d’Yquem occupies a solitary position in a classification system; as the only Premier Cru Superieur classed wine in the 1855 classification of Sauternes and Barsac, it is peerless in both a strictly logical sense, and when compared, more subjectively, to any of the world’s great sweet wines... click here for more




Joh Jos Prum Riesling Spätlese Wehlener Sonnenuhr

German wine: a potential minefield of obtuse but very specific labels, oddly shaped bottles, unfashionable styles and highly variable quality. Given these factors, one could be forgiven for wondering why anyone would bother with it; after all, isn’t it all cheap, thin, sickly - sweet table wine designed for only the most unsophisticated of palettes... click here for more



Chateau Margaux

Chateau Margaux, one of the five Premier Grand Cru clarets, is often cited as the ultimate demonstration of what the Old World can offer: elegance, refinement, breeding, and a full expression of the particular terroir of the vineyard. Yet it has not always been this way; in the 1960s and 1970s, in particular, the estate was trading heavily on past glories, and it was not until 1977 that a change in ownership brought about the reversal in fortunes that has led Margaux back to its exalted position as one of the world’s greatest red wines... click here for more

Le Montrachet Grand Cru Domaine Des Comtes Lafon

If the study of wine were a core subject taught to secondary school children, the examination of the region of Burgundy, and its arcane appellation system, would no doubt illicit the loudest chorus of groans from average pupils and cries of delight from the more studious class members... click here for more





Chateau Musar

The gentile world of fine wine can seem at times to be far removed from the troubles and turmoil of the world at large. The grand chateaux of Bordeaux may have survived innumerable wars and even a revolution, but they have been tranquil places for over half a century now, as have most, if not all, of Europe’s wine regions. Spare a thought, then, for the Hochar family, owners of Chateau Musar in the Lebanon, who have long been producing unique wines of considerable class and elegance whilst civil war has raged all around them... click here for more


Penfolds Grange

New World. Old World. Ostensibly, two diametrically opposed viewpoints on how wine should taste, be produced and even how it should be labelled. France, as the Captain of the Old World, emphasises, not surprisingly, the importance of terroir – the individual plots of land upon which grapes are grown – and the wine’s pedigree and its ability to age into something graceful and complex... click here for more



Chateau Pichon Lalande

Sometimes being number one isn’t all that it is cracked up to be; there is the constant need to defend your position from others who are vying for the top slot, and eventually the only way is down. There is little chance of this happening formally in the world of Bordeaux crus, however, where the cru classe system was determined in the middle of the 19th century and has remained, with only a few exceptions, rigidly adhered to since... click here for more


Tenuta San Guida Sassicaia

It is, perhaps, an inevitable feature of modern society that those who rebel in youth become, with sufficient age, an integral part of the establishment against which they once vehemently fought. Take the knighted Mick Jagger, for example, or the trout fishery owning, sexagenarian, Roger Daltrey, who once proclaimed ‘hope I die before I grow old.’ And so to Sassicaia, a wine that, in a similar fashion, once led the Super Tuscans into battle against Italy’s rigid DOC regulations... click here for more


Stags Leap Cask 23

California, and the Napa Valley in particular, seem to have become, in recent years, so closely associated with the pinot noir grape variety that it is easy to forget that the wine that won best red at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, and set in motion a revolution in the perception of US wine, was actually a varietal Californian cabernet sauvignon. That wine was, of course, Stag’s Leap, and in the process of winning the tasting, it triumphed over some of Bordeax’s greatest crus classe... click here for more



Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc des Blancs

Champagne can have a strange effect on the average consumer. The mere notion of a fancy label and a few bubbles seems to be able to part a person from at least four or five times the amount of cash that they would be willing to spend on a ‘normal’ bottle of wine. This is, of course, primarily a consequence of the wine’s longstanding association with luxury; an association which the Champenois have cleverly cultivated for more than one and a half centuries... click here for more


Vega Sicilia Unico

Spain, like most Southern European countries has had its share of decidedly mediocre wines. No doubt, the influx of package tourists from the UK and Germany, who quaffed cheap red wine by the bucket-load from the 1970s onwards, did little to promote the cause of quality wine production in the country. But ignore the cheap end of the market (as we’re sure you already do), ignore the often disappointing middle market (although, it must be said that there are a few hidden gems there) and head towards the high ground. And high ground doesn’t come much higher than Vega Sicilia’s Unico... click here for more