Press Articles

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 January 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Calvados and Apple Pie......!

Keep away the Winter Blues with a little Apple Brandy Mid-January and the end of year celebrations already seem like a distant memory. Winter weather is truly here and the first signs of Spring may still be a long way off, as we sit and look out at cold, grey skies or frosty, foggy mornings. The time of year when a little brandy may be a welcome guest at the dinner table, to raise your spirits and help you look forward to warmer days and longer evenings. The most popular worldwide is, o...
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Richard Esling

11 January 2017

Written by Richard Esling

Hop across the Channel for a little Re-stocking

Hop across the channel for a little re-stocking Assuming that your only acknowledgement to 'Dry January' is to avoid sweet wines, now is the perfect time for a hop across the channel to re-stock the 'cellar', which has been ransacked and pillaged over the last few weeks. Living in the South of England as we do, the marvellous thing is that it can all be done in a day - including (and especially) lunch. P & O Ferries run regular day trips from Dover to Calais throughout the year and if you ...
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Richard Esling

30 November 2016

Written by Richard Esling

70 Burgundy Wines Served by the Glass

70 Burgundy Wines Served by the Glass Every year in the third week of November, the most famous wine auction in the world takes place in Burgundy. This is the wine sale at the Hospices de Beaune and this year was no exception. Founded in 1443, the Hospices provided free care for the poor after the Hundred Years' War, right up until 1971. Since then, it has become world famous for the auction of some of the most prestigious wines of Burgundy, taking place this year some 10 days ago. The a...
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Richard Esling

23 November 2016

Written by Richard Esling

Family of XII Adopted by Arundel Wine Society

Family of 12 Adopted by Arundel Wine Society Much as the members of Arundel Wine Society support many of the local charities, this event was nothing to do with social services, but about a family of wine companies. In 2005, twelve of New Zealand’s most prestigious and enduring wineries got together and formed what they call the ‘Family of XII’. The idea is to promote New Zealand wine at its best. Rather than being in fierce competition with each other, the members of &lsquo...
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Richard Esling

16 November 2016

Written by Richard Esling

2 Star Michelin Chef Franck Putelat favours wines from Languedoc

2 Star Michelin Chef Franck Putelat favours Wines from Languedoc One of the most iconic fortified cities in South-west France is Carcassonne, located 60 miles south-west of Toulouse and about 50 miles inland from the Mediterranean. As you approach the old historic part of the city, it is like being thrown into fairy-land with a beautiful walled town boasting a multitude of round towers with pointy tops, and access through a dark stone gateway complete with drawbridge and portcullis. Once ...
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Richard Esling

09 November 2016

Written by Richard Esling

A Taste of the Future at Cité du Vin, Bordeaux

A Taste of the Future at Bordeaux’s Cité du Vin If you ever needed another excuse to visit the fabulous city of Bordeaux (as if!), then this is it. The Cité du Vin opened its doors in June this year, the culmination of a huge project of three years’ construction with a spend of 82 million euros. This is not just another wine museum or wine centre plying their wares, but in their own words, it is a cultural centre dedicated to wine as a universal, cultural, living h...
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Richard Esling

02 November 2016

Written by Richard Esling

The Golden Hills of Burgundy

The Golden Hills of Burgundy Last week I was visiting vineyards in Burgundy, where some of the best, and most expensive, wines of the world are made. The Central area of the Burgundian vineyards is called the 'Cote d'Or' literally translated as 'The Golden Hill'. This name may have arisen from the fact that the wines produced there are so expensive, but another theory relates to the photo of the vineyards seen below. At this time of year, the leaves of the vines turn to their Autumn colour...
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Richard Esling

11 January 2016

Written by Richard Esling

Domaine de Ferrant - new agency launched January 2016

Domaine de Ferrant in the heart of the Cotes de Duras region is exclusively represented on the UK market by WineWyse as from January 2016. The 13 hectares of vineyards produce great quality reds and whites with two different quality levels, from a blend of grape varieties similar to those used in neighbouring Bordeaux. Tremendous value for money, with excellent fruit and assertive yet supple character.
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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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