Press Articles

Richard Esling

21 June 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Sicilian Wines

Sunshine in a bottle - the wines of Sicily Open a bottle of chilled Sicilian white - or red for that matter - and you can almost feel the sunshine that has ripened the grapes to produce these delicious and eminently affordable wines. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, just off the coast of the toe of the Italian boot, and Italy's most southerly region. Roughly triangular in shape, it boasts one of the largest active volcanoes in Europe, Mount Etna, which has had a significant...
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Richard Esling

14 June 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Sherry for Your Picnic

Sherry can make an interesting picnic wine With mid-Summer's day just around the corner, it's time to make the most of the sunshine, find the picnic rug at the back of the cupboard, put the folding chairs and table in the boot and pack the picnic basket. The composition of the picnic varies considerably depending on taste and practicality and has changed over the years. A pork pie and a thermos of milky tea has now been replaced by smoked salmon and a bottle of bubbly. There are now so many...
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Richard Esling

31 May 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Summer Wines from M&S

Line-up for Summer Wines from M&S Summer has come early, or at least it had last week. May is traditionally a month of ups and downs as regards the weather in this country, and this year it has certainly been true to form. Earlier in the month we had the severe frosts, which have caused havoc in the vineyards on both sides of the Channel and yet last week we had temperatures in the mid-twenties. But now we are at the start of the wonderful month of June, it’s time to repair the deck-ch...
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Richard Esling

17 May 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Blending Wine

Great Skill is needed for Blending Wine Often misunderstood by the consumer as a technique in winemaking, blending is one of the greatest and most versatile of tools in the oenologist's, or wine-maker's, armoury. The reasons why wines, or grape varieties, are blended are many and differ according to the type of wine, the style, its origins and the climate where the grapes are grown. Not all wines, of course, are blended, some being the pure expression of a single grape variety. But in gener...
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Richard Esling

03 May 2017

Written by Richard Esling

New English Vineyard Planted at Mannings Heath, Sussex

38,000 vines planted. 962,000 to go. Underlining the exponential growth of English wine, particularly the sparkling variety, the UK wine industry recently announced that one million vines are expected to be planted in 2017. An astonishing number, but a little less since last week when 38,000 vines were planted in three days for the start of one of Sussex's newest vineyards at Mannings Heath near Horsham. A further 15,000 are planned for planting next year. The vineyard is part of a new ven...
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Richard Esling

19 April 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Hungary for Cabernet Franc

Hungary for Cabernet Franc No, it's not a spelling mistake in the title. The red grape variety Cabernet Franc is making a bit of a name for itself in a country which, more recently, has been more known for its delicious sweet wines from Tokaij and some rather variable reds - marketed some years ago, as 'Bull's Blood'. Hungary is not a country which immediately comes to mind when thinking of top quality red wines, yet there are a number of producers making wines from "international" grape vari...
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Richard Esling

12 April 2017

Written by Richard Esling

A New look at Muscadet

Muscadet Re-invents Itself. The French dry white wine produced in the Western Loire valley, not far from the Atlantic Coast, has been around for a long time, not just in France but also on the UK market. It's one of those wines which wine-drinkers of 'a certain age' remember alongside such names as Mateus, Black Tower, Beaujolais and Corrida. Some of these, of course, were or are, brand names for large volume wines produced for a market need at the time. And very successfully too. But most a...
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Richard Esling

05 April 2017

Written by Richard Esling

An Alternative to Champagne

The Alternative to Champagne - and it's Not Prosecco. Last week (March 2017) saw a gathering of sparkling wine producers at a tasting in London, determined show that the (more affordable) alternative to champagne does not have to always be Prosecco, despite what the marketers would have you believe. This was a tasting of Crémant wines from producers all over France. Crémant is high quality sparkling wine, subject to regulations which are designed to ensure its quality, cha...
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Richard Esling

15 March 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Contains Sulphites - Friend or Foe?

"Contains Sulphites" Friend or Foe? Words to strike the fear if God into you or superfluous information? Well, neither actually. It is a legal requirement that wines that contain sulphites must show the fact on the label. Since all wines contain sulphites, all wines have this information on their labels. A legal requirement in the States since 1988 and in the EU since 2005. But what are they, why are they there and what do they do? And most important of all, are they bad for you? Sulphite...
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Richard Esling

01 March 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Great Value Wines from The Wine Society

Drinkable Wines can be Found Under £6 per bottle The vexed and eternal question of "how much do you have to pay to get a decent bottle of wine?" The question itself is not as straight forward as it may seem, since it depends on A, what is your definition of 'decent' and B, where you are buying your wine. But, with buying wine in this country from either a supermarket or an independent merchant, I constantly hear experienced wine drinkers bemoaning the fact that you have to spend £...
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Richard Esling

22 February 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Winter Work in the Vineyard

Work in the Vineyards goes on Whatever the Weather Mention the word 'vineyard' and a vision immediately appears of neatly tended rows of vines, with luscious green leaves and large bunches of developing grapes, bathed in warm sunshine on gently rolling hills. For most of us, when we visit a vineyard, that is what we expect to see, simply because most vineyard visits take place in late Spring, Summer or possibly early Autumn. However, visit a vineyard in the depths of January or February, and...
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Richard Esling

08 February 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Champagne Best for Celebrations

Champagne the best for Celebrations.  A headline in the Wine Trade Press caught my eye recently, concerning the plight, or otherwise, of champagne. Latest import figures for the UK showed that the quantity was down by some 3 million bottles, a ‘not insignificant quantity’ as John Major would have said. The reasons behind the drop are complicated, involving issues such as Brexit (uncertainty), changing fashions, competition from other sparkling wines and marketing. However, si...
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Richard Esling

17 June 2015

Written by Richard Esling

Wine Knowledge Broadens the Horizons

"I don't know much about wine, but I know what I like!"  If I had a bottle of wine for every time I have heard that statement, I would have a very well stocked cellar. The truth is, that only half of this statement is correct. The lack of wine knowledge may well be true, but there are probably a great number of wines that the person may like, if only they knew! The main problem is in knowing why you like a wine. Very few people (apart from those in the wine trade) take the time to analys...
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Richard Esling

15 May 2015

Written by Richard Esling

English Wines go from Strength to Strength

A Sparkling Future for English Wine Production   Record breaking production figures have been released recently for the 2014 harvest of English wines. The figures show production of the equivalent of 6.3 million bottles, representing an increase in volume of 42% over 2013 - itself a record breaking year. It is estimated by the English Wine Producers and UK Vineyards Association that at least two thirds of production is now sparkling wine, which would equate to 4 million bottles. The warm...
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Richard Esling

16 February 2015

Written by Richard Esling

Early Report for Bordeaux 2014 Vintage

If you are a fan of the great red wines from Bordeaux, you may be wondering what the 2014 vintage will be like when it is ready. For the top wines, which need considerable ageing, these have traditionally been sold before they are even bottled. These wines are currently sitting in their oak barrels in the Bordeaux chateaux, where they will normally stay for around 18 months. Once there is a consensus from the wine experts as to the quality (normally around April after the vintage) the wines a...
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Richard Esling

08 September 2014

Written by Richard Esling

100 YEAR OLD CHAMPAGNE TO SELL AT BONHAMS

A bottle of Pol Roger 1914 – Winston Churchill’s favourite vintage of his favourite wine - which has lain undisturbed in the cellars of the champagne house for 100 years is to be sold at Bonhams Fine Wine Sale in London on 23 October. The bottle is estimated at £3,000-4,000 and the proceeds will be donated to the Imperial War Museum to support the refurbishment of its First World War Galleries. Pol Roger 1914 is regarded as one of the finest vintages of the 20th century but ...
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Richard Esling

04 September 2014

Written by Richard Esling

Tanya passes with Merit

One of the latest successful candidates of Sussex Wine Academy, Tanya was awarded a pass with Merit in her WSET Level 2 exam. Tanya is a stewardess on a super-yacht in the Mediterranean and recently studied and took the exam in Arundel, whilst on leave in the UK. Now back in the Med, Tanya is already heading for promotion in her career, due to obtaining this latest globally recognized qualification. She also intends to go on to Level 3 possibly next year. We wish her every success in her futu...
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Richard Esling

23 May 2014

Written by Richard Esling

Champagne de Barfontarc launched in UK

Champagne de Barfontarc was launched on the UK market at a consumer tasting on Saturday 3rd May in Arundel, West Sussex. The tasting of a range of champagnes from the southern champagne house was a huge success, with 100% of attendees placing orders for the champagne when it is imported. New on the UK market, the champagnes are well reputed in France, being featured every year in the Guide Hachette – the top wine buying guide in France. The style and age of the champagnes makes them id...
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Richard Esling

05 December 2013

Written by Richard Esling

Rondo - an English red wine grape variety

Rondo One of the 'new' red grape varieties grown for English wines with some considerable success. A Hybrid variety - Saperavi Servernyi x St Laurent. Originally just named Gm 6494/5, this hybrid vine has very different parentage from Regent (another hybrid) but some similar characteristics. It has adapted to UK conditions very well and plantings have been increasing since was first planted in 1983. Rondo produces wines with very good colour and style and overtones of classic red v...
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Richard Esling

04 November 2013

Written by Richard Esling

50 Year Old Glenfiddich for Sale

THE GLENFIDDICH 50 YEAR OLD LEADS BONHAMS WINTER WHISKY SALE IN EDINBURGH   A bottle of The Glenfiddich 50 year old estimated to make between £12,000-15,000 is the lead lot in Bonhams Whisky sale in Edinburgh on 11 December.   Taken from cask numbers 844, 845, 846 filled on 17th July 1937 and casks 1044, 1046, 1047 and 1048 filled on 14th December 1939 the whisky was vatted for over one year. It was bottled on 26th July 1991 and carries the number 416.  The bottle comes...
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