Press Articles

Richard Esling

16 September 2021

Written by Richard Esling

Great Flavours from Northern Rhone Wines

Six pages of close type in a wine list, with around 60 wines per page, and that's only the red wines from one region of France. This was the range of wines from the Rhone Valley in a specialist wine merchants in the fabulous city of Lyon. The shop is called Malleval in Rue Emile Zola and has been serving its loyal local customer base since 1869. Of course, there are wines stocked from all over France and the nineteenth century underground cellars hold some 40,000 bottles, with a value of arou...
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Richard Esling

25 January 2021

Written by Richard Esling

Winemakers Doing the Right Thing for the Environment

Winemakers Doing the Right Thing for the Environment Purato, a forward-thinking wine producer on the island of Sicily, is a leader when it comes to sustainability and environmental conscience. All large-scale agricultural activities undertaken by man have an impact on our environment. Our planet is being ravaged by man’s activities and those that have been watching ‘A Perfect Planet’ by the environmental demi-god David Attenborough, cannot fail to be shocked by the consequen...
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Richard Esling

11 January 2021

Written by Richard Esling

Sparkling Pinot Gris. A first for the UK

Novel English Sparkler from Fox and Fox Wins Gold So, our somewhat muted Christmas festivities are well and truly over and here we are, nearly halfway through January in Lockdown Number Three. A definite sense of ‘Déjà vu’. This wine discovery, however, I am fairly convinced would not be on most people’s list of ‘Déjà Bu’! It is a sparkling Pinot Gris made by the award-winning English wine producer Fox and Fox, based in Mayfield, East ...
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Richard Esling

21 December 2020

Written by Richard Esling

Celebrate With Champagne Boizel

Celebrate with Champagne Boizel With very different celebrations this year, if nothing else, we can celebrate seeing the back of 2020. It goes without saying that this has been a year like no other and not one that any of us would wish to repeat. A whole new vocabulary has grown up – furlough, self-isolation, social-distancing and even ‘un-mute’! So with the end of 2020 in sight and hope on the horizon with vaccines in 2021, there are more than enough reasons to open a bottl...
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Richard Esling

09 November 2020

Written by Richard Esling

Noble Wines, Simple Food. The Pig at Harlyn Bay

The Pig at Harlyn Bay – Noble Wines, Simple Food Just two of the underlying principles on which the Pig group of restaurants are built, though for the food side, read ‘Simply delicious’. Launched less than 10 years ago with the first Pig in Brockenhurst in the New Forest in 2011, The Pig at Harlyn Bay in North Cornwall is now the seventh to open. Robin Hutson, one of the co-founders of the group and erstwhile founder of the Hotel du Vin chain, carefully calls the Pigs &lsqu...
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Richard Esling

12 October 2020

Written by Richard Esling

Camus. An Intensely Aromatic Cognac

Deemed by many to be one of the best Cognacs in the world, Cognac Camus is one of the most refined and aromatic cognacs, made for the pleasure of those who appreciate the finer things in life. Fiercely independent, the company was founded in 1863 and is currently run by Cyril Camus, the fifth generation of this outstanding cognac family. Passionately run with an enduring and uncompromising philosophy of seeking the utmost quality and refinement, traditions run hand-in-hand with scientific and...
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Richard Esling

28 September 2020

Written by Richard Esling

The Sweet Smell of Success

Particularly appropriate last week for the winner of the annual Monbazillac sweet wine Competition. Held at the prestigious Chateau de Monbazillac, a select group of wine professionals gathered to judge the best wines of the 2019 vintage, the 25th such competition to be held. Being privileged to have been invited as one of the judges, it was impressive to witness the measures put in place against Covid-19 at such an event. Each taster had an individual spittoon and tasting glasses, all wine...
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Richard Esling

20 July 2020

Written by Richard Esling

Chateau de Mercues - A Haven of Peace in the Cahors Wine Region

As France opens up again after lockdown, so do the hotels, restaurants and wineries. The four-star Chateau de Mercuès in the Quercy region of south-west France, has all three and is thus a wine-loving gourmet’s delight. Set atop a hill, with stunning views over the majestic river Lot and surrounding vineyards, the chateau is a stone’s throw from the ancient city of Cahors. This is a wine region with 2000 years of history, where the Malbec grape reigns supreme. Once one of ...
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Richard Esling

13 July 2020

Written by Richard Esling

La Chartreuse du Bignac - one of the Hidden Gems of the Dordogne

La Chartreuse du Bignac - one of the hidden gems of the Dordogne.  At last! Here I am in south-west France. Something a couple of months ago I thought would never happen again. But although the pandemic is far from over, control measures are now well in place and, for the time being at least, seem to be working. So restaurants have reopened, and France has reopened, so that we Brits now have the opportunity once again to visit the top gastronomic country of the world. What’s more,...
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Richard Esling

06 July 2020

Written by Richard Esling

Top Vouvray is the Legacy of a World War II Hero.

“It was late morning when a bent, elderly looking man, a handmade knapsack on his back, came trudging through the mud and slush of a warm February. Gaston Huet was on his way home.” Words taken from a fascinating book called ‘Wine and War’ by Don and Petie Kladstrup. Huet was one of the top winemakers in Vouvray, a small village in the Loire Valley. A lieutenant in the French army, he was taken prisoner near Calais in 1940 and spent five years in a POW camp in Germany ...
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Richard Esling

08 June 2020

Written by Richard Esling

The Exacting Standards of Bruno Paillard Champagne

Over the past few weeks and months of Lockdown due to the Coronavirus threat, there may have seemed little cause for celebration, particularly in the early weeks. Champagne is the primordial drink for celebrations and with far less people all around the globe being in a mood to celebrate, champagne sales have taken a huge hit – 64% down according to some reports. There is then the problem of where to put this year’s wine, with storage tanks that should be empty, still full to the ...
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Richard Esling

11 May 2020

Written by Richard Esling

Local Sussex Family Strikes Gold

No, not the result of over-zealous gardening during Lockdown and digging a little too deeply in the flowerbeds! But the award of no less than three gold medals to the owners of a local Sussex vineyard in the recent Sommelier Wine Awards competition, the results of which were announced at the beginning of this month.  The vineyard is located  in East Sussex and is owned and run by husband and wife team Gerard and Jonica Fox. The boutique brand of Fox and Fox has been producing a ran...
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Richard Esling

27 April 2020

Written by Richard Esling

More Wine Supplies for our Stay at Home Meals

Recent reports in the wine industry trade journal ‘The Drinks Business’ indicate the extent of the coronavirus pandemic on the Drinks industry. With restaurants, bars, pubs and cafés closed, sales of alcoholic drinks have fallen off a cliff. Meetings in Europe are discussing ways forward for top wine producing countries such as France, Italy and Spain, all of which have been hard hit by consequences of the lockdown. With massive stocks sitting in warehouses and producers&rs...
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Richard Esling

13 April 2020

Written by Richard Esling

Lifeline Thrown to Isolated Wine Drinkers

Lifeline thrown to Isolated Wine Drinkers Also Supports Hospitality Sector Berkmann Wine Cellars, the largest independent family-run wine importer in the UK, has opened its doors directly to the wine consumer for the first time in 56 years. The Berkmann Family has been supplying remarkable wine to the UK’s leading restaurants and retailers for over 50 years. The company works with 250 innovative and prestigious producers, including Marchesi Antinori and Champagne Drappier, alongside sma...
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Richard Esling

30 March 2020

Written by Richard Esling

Wine Still Available to Keep Up Morale

It was great to see last week that off-licenses were added to the list of businesses allowed – and even actively encouraged – to stay open in these difficult times of social distancing. The reason was twofold. Most importantly, I believe, it was due to the recognition that we all need a little something to lift our spirits and enjoy a glass of wine or beer with our meals at home.  Secondly it was recognising that the supermarkets were having an unfair advantage, since they ...
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Richard Esling

01 March 2020

Written by Richard Esling

Tasting at the Top!

  Tasting at the Top!   Etc Magazine March 2020 Have you ever wondered what the top Bordeaux wines taste like, those which sell at over a hundred euros per bottle – and more? Well now your curiosity can be satisfied.  Max Bordeaux is ready to educate your palate, without the need for taking out a second mortgage. Tucked away down a gallery off one of the main streets of the city of Bordeaux, Cours de l’Intendance, Max Bordeaux offers a tasting experience like n...
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Richard Esling

10 February 2020

Written by Richard Esling

A Rare Cognac from the Perigord

The natural region of Périgord, once a French province, now roughly equates to the Department of the Dordogne, much loved by Brits for many years and the majority of which belonged to the English crown back in the Middle Ages. Sadly lost to England at the end of the 100 years’ war at the battle of Castillon in 1453, it is currently a prime destination for both tourists and those seeking to settle permanently in France, despite the current political turmoil.  The small vill...
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Richard Esling

03 February 2020

Written by Richard Esling

Discover the Vineyards of the Dordogne Valley

Discover the Vineyards of the Dordogne Valley     Etc Magazine February 2020 With the still, cold, grey of winter lingering with us, admittedly interspersed with the odd glimmer of sunshine, our thoughts in January and February inevitably turn to Spring and Summer Holidays. The Dordogne region in south-west France, has been a popular destination with us Brits for a long time, due to its gently undulating terrain, glorious peaceful green countryside and agreeable climate. A litt...
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Richard Esling

23 September 2019

Written by Richard Esling

Winemaker Journeys From South Africa

And the Journeys End was in Brighton! Mike Dawson is the young, dynamic winemaker for one of South Africa’s top vineyards, with the unusual name of Journeys End. At the age of only 29, he has already been winemaker for the estate for five years, having trained in his own country and also in South America. Last week, he hosted a lunch at the fabulous Gingerman restaurant in Brighton, in order to showcase a selection of the wines for which he is responsible. The name ‘Journeys End...
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Richard Esling

09 September 2019

Written by Richard Esling

The Rise of Albarino

If you’re tired of the usual white grape varieties, Sauvignon Blanc from a hundred different places or the ubiquitous Chardonnay from all around the globe, you may find a liking for a fresh up-and-coming varietal from North-west Spain. The region of Rias Baixas is located in Galicia and is now widely regarded as the top white wine region of Spain. 95% of all grapes grown in this region are the Albariño variety, a grape variety which is growing greatly in popularity, now being gr...
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