Francis Peel's wine wisdom

PUBLISHED: 16:29 25 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:26 20 February 2013

Francis Peel’s wine wisdom

Francis Peel’s wine wisdom

The latest wine news

The cases for the prosecution

Dodgy Dealings

We were ripped off last month by a credit card fraud over some wine that we sent to Southern Ireland. It cost us 300 but we got off lightly compared to some others in the wine trade. The worlds most famous vineyard, Domaine de la Romane-Conti, the jewel in Burgundys crown, has been the victim of a blackmail attempt. Earlier on in the year it received a number of anonymous letters demanding one million euros or the vines would be poisoned (bear in mind that the auction price of the fabled 1990 vintage is now 80,000 per case). The perpetrator was arrested while trying to collect false banknotes left as a ransom. In Australia, Andrew Hashim of Rivers Wines was convicted of passing Chardonnay that was actually the inferior Sultana grape variety. And here in England there are reports of some companies selling cases of Chteau Lafite 2009 for 12,000 before the chteau has even offered so much as a bottle on the open market certainly a case of caveat emptor!

Crystal Clear

Last month Georg Riedel was in London giving a Masterclass in tasting wines out of his famous lead crystal glasses.The Riedel glass-making history dates back to 1678 in northern Bohemia. More than 300 years later Riedel is making the finest wine glasses combining optimum glass shape with exquisite balance and looks, matching each grape variety to a glass shape that perfectly suits it. The worlds greatest wine expert, Robert Parker, said in the Wine Advocate: The finest glasses for both technical and hedonistic purposes are those made by Riedel. The effect of these glasses on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasise enough what a difference they make."

Professor Claus Riedel was the first designer to recognise that the bouquet, taste, balance and finish of wines are affected by the shape of the glass from which they are drunk. In the late 1950s, Riedel started to produce glasses which were a design revolution. In 1961 Riedel created the first line of wine glasses made in different sizes and shapes. The concept was illustrated to perfection with the Sommeliers series in 1973, achieving worldwide recognition.

At Whitebridge Wines, we are in the fortunate position of being directly on the Managing Director of Riedel UKs way home from their offices in Trentham, Staffordshire. As Riedel hold no stock in the UK but only ship to order, we have come to the happy agreement that we take all their stocks when orders are placed incorrectly. Although we never know what glasses and decanters we are going to have, we are able to offer what we take at a fraction of the normal retail price. So if youd like to try the worlds greatest wine glasses, but dont want to pay top whack, look at www.whitebridgewines.co.uk or call us on 01785 817229.

Francis Peel lives in North Shropshire and runs Whitebridge Wines, the Midlands leading wine warehouse


The Dictionary of Wine Terms

G is for...

Grafting: Since an aphid that destroyed vines by eating their roots called phylloxera swept through the vineyards of Europe at the end of the 19th century, all European vines have been grafted on to American rootstocks as these were the only ones that proved resistant to the dreaded aphid. Almost all commercial vineyards are now planted with grafted wines, the notable exception being the wine regions of Chile which phylloxera never reached.

Gran Reserva: A Spanish classification used particularly in the Rioja region. Red wines have to be aged at least two years in small wooden barrels and then an additional three years in bottle before being sold. Whites remain in the bottle at least six months, then four years in the tank or bottle.

Graves: A fine wine region inside the larger Bordeaux region of France, named for its gravelly soil, and known mostly for red wines (Chteau Haut-Brion being the most famous estate) as well as many of Bordeauxs finest dry whites.

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