Growers’ web sites
Small estate - now biodynamic - between the Lot and Garonne rivers. Rustic, gamey reds.
“Les vins du Château Tour des Gendres possèdent le charme sauvage de terroirs singuliers, fruits d’une arithmétique hédoniste familiale…” The Conti family make aristocratic whites and reds, effectively working biodynamically in the vineyard and with finical attention to detail in the winery. Luc de Conti is always experimenting - described by some (admiringly) as a vinarchiste he seeks to marry the best of nature (healthy grapes, wild yeasts) with the most sympathetic technology.
Thrillingly fresh, mineral and moreish Marcillacs from the largest estate in the Aveyron.
Mauzac every which way, Ondenc and various other native varieties. The Plageoles are archivists as well as growers.
Quintessentially quinky Cahors which paints your palate with a velvet brush. Or Malbec with brio and bonhommie. Take your pick - damn fine wines.
Only one wine made at this estate; the power of the Malbec is tempered by Merlot - the resultant wine is earthy and accessible.
Renowned for superlative Madiran (Charles de Batz) and top quality Pacherenc (dry and sweet).
Jean-Bernard Larrieu, owner of Clos Lapeyre, is a poet (pau-ette?) of the region. His wines, from the aromatic dry Jurancon to the nectar’d late harvest Magendia, sing with lyrical purity.
Leading Frontonnais estate making exemplary wines from Negrette (with some Syrah and Cabernet).
The great co-operative of Limoux, home of the famous Toques et Clochers wines and Chardonnays with bells on.
Tiny domaine in the absurdly picturesque hamlet of Saint-Jean de Minervois. The Bojanowskis are also the earth spokesmen for the Carignan grape.
The original “first grand cru of the Languedoc” situated in the heavenly Gassac valley. The red is an elegant vin de garde and the white is a wine of tremendous pleasure. The estate has a fascinating history and is run with a rare combination of commercial savvy and tremendous passion.
Historic estate in Corbieres boasting excellent terroir in Boutenac.
Organic, low interventionist wines.
When the Orliac family established Domaine de l’Hortus they effectively put the region of Pic Saint Loup on the map. Both whites and reds are very elegant and seem to improve every year.
Sylvain Fadat’s uncompromising quest for perfection makes Domaine d’Aupilhac one of the leading estates in Montpeyroux.
Excellent web-site. Olivier Pithon articulates the struggles and rewards of being a small grower. Working now in biodynamie with his horse and his cow, Olivier makes beautifully pure, terroir-driven wines.
Fine estate in Costieres de Nimes. Inky-dark Syrah-driven reds and fine, aromatic blended whites.
Guy Jullien has organically certified vineyards in Beaumes de Venise and Cotes du Ventoux. The wines are deliciously supple and herbal, imbued with the flavour of the garrigue.
Or the birth of a biodynamic enterprise. A fascinating and detailed exploration of the philosophical rationale of Steiner’s theories. Velvety Vacqueyras.
A tiny estate in Chateauneuf that only started bottling its own wines in the last couple of years and now is receiving justifiably huge critical acclaim.
Sebastien Vincenti’s estate is arguably the reference in Ventoux. Fanatical attention to details in the vineyards is matched by careful elaborative technique in the winery. Warm, spicy whites; plump, almost luscious reds.
Beautiful estate in Lorgues (Provence) making delicate, pearly-pink wines.
Picturesque estate in Bandol making world-class, ageworthy wines from Mourvedre.
Up-and-coming domaine in Bandol. Very good reds and a cracking rose.
Old-fashioned Savennieres aged in big barrels, tender in some years, nerveux in others.
Dynamic, irrepressible Thierry Germain makes some of the best wines in the Loire. A convert to biodynamic viticulture his wines have continued to improve over recent vintages.
If Emile Heredia isn’t the pope of Pineau d’Aunis he is certainly one of its cardinals. He’s also a priest of natural wine, working organically and with minimal sulphur.
Nobody exemplifies the fight for real wine more than Monsieur “Additive Free” Thierry Puzelat. His wines are meaty, bloody, high as game and twice as horny. A breath of refreshing cow compost. And we love ‘em!
Impressively crunchy Sauvignon de Touraine.
Ten generations of the Bourgeois family have farmed vineyards in Sancerre. Now they own a bewildering array of vineyards on various different terroirs. A big enterprise dedicated to quality.
Or Domaine du Calvaire de Roche-Gres. Their specialty is Morgon, but Fleurie and Chiroubles are also lovely. Juicy and approachable wines.
Blair Pethel took charge of Domaine Dublere is 2003. He is fluent in the language of terroir “:.. When you open a bottle of Burgundy, you don’t drink a chardonnay or a pinot noir; you drink a specific place, with its topsoil, subsoil, weather, sunshine, geographical orientation.” His reds are the colour of pomegranate and have delicious wild strawberry flavours.
Graceful Pinots and pure Chardonnays from one of the original biodynamic estates. The Mercurey, from 100 year old vines, is lithe and supremely elegant.
Hedonistic but pure, the sort of wines that get your bank manager shuffling nervously. Following strict biodynamic procedures and with monopoles in Vosne-Romanee and Nuits Saint-Georges these are superb, highly sought after red Burgundies.
The Philipponnat family has been established in the Champagne region since the 16th century. Owning a high proportion of 1er and Grand cru vineyards including the legendary Clos des Goisses, Philipponnat make a consistent range of high quality champagnes.
Biodynamic ciders and a delicious perry from three hundred year old pear trees.
Terras Gauda is a bodega in O Rosal subzone of Rias Baixas. They make a benchmark Albarino and the thrilling Terras Gauda, a unique blend of indigenous Galician varieties.
“Basque seaspray” from Getaria, the unique Txacoli wine poured from a great height into beakers.
Making sherry since the 18th century and by appointment to the House of Lords, the Vatican and King of Spain, Sanchez Romate is a pre-eminent bodega in Jerez.
Vasco Croft brings you Vinho Verdes to tantalise your palate and confound your expectations. The white is fresh and aromatic, the tinto is as dark as the inside of a coalmine at night and there is a mad espumante - like Ribena on acid. Stir into the wine soup a liberal helping of biodynamics, Greek mythology and poetry and you have an ambitious project that looks forward as well as backwards.
The inspiration of Costantino Charrere, eloquent spokesman for the wines of Valle d’Aosta.
A tiny co-operative in Valle d’Aosta making white wines of glacial freshness from the local Prie Blanc grape. The vineyards are reputed to be amongst the highest in Europe.
Signor Palmucci’s Brunellos are world class, the products of pride in the region and passion for the grape variety.
One of the first official estates in Asti. The Barberas, especially Vigna del Noce, are monsters and will age and age.
Brilliant, elegant Barbarescos from an estate that now works organically.
Beautiful long-lived Barbaresco and Barolo made with minimal interventions.
The Borgogno estate is the oldest registered estate in Barolo. The wines are made in the old-fashioned way. Unique library of vintage Barolo.
Elisabetta Foradori is the doyenne of the Teroldego grape. She is an inspirational figure, hugely respected by other winemakers for her vision and dedication. The vineyards are in conversion to biodynamic viticulture.
Heard of Vitovska? Or Terrano? The Zidarich vineyards lie where Friuli meets Slovenia on the limestone-rich (karst) plateau that extends out from Trieste. The wines are phenomenally pure and utterly natural with glorious, spiky acidity.
A wonderful 2.5ha estate perched on Montalcino hill run by the charming Florio and Rossella Guerrini. They work traditionally in the vineyard without chemicals and according to lunar calendar, ferment their wines in cement tanks and aged them in big old barrels and botte.. The Rosso is delicious and elegant; the Brunellos are earthy, spicy, leathery and utterly beguiling.
Humorous web-site of a very small biodynamic estate producing delicious Chianti. The “peasant” philosophy is liberally expounded here.
A charming cellar in Montefollonico (near Montepulciano in Tuscany) producing natural earthy Chianti di Colli Senesi, Rosso di Montepulciano and Vino Nobile.
Gianpaolo Paglia and Justine Keeling launched their estate in the Maremma in the late 1990s and have been receiving high praise for their supple reds made from local grape varieties.
Elena Pantaleoni is the driving force behind La Stoppa in Emilia-Romagna. The vines are cultivated organically and minimal interventions in the cellar make for unusually distinctive wines.
“Il vino e vivo”. An artisan producer making organic hand-crafted wines predominantly from the glorious Sagrantino grape.
Gianni Masciarelli and his wife Marina Cvetic have done more to publicise the virtues of Abruzzan wines than anyone else. Their polished and rich Montepulcianos and terrifically complex Trebbianos garner awards with wearying regularity.
One of the most beautiful vineyards in the world on the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples.
Proud-to-be-organic Primitivo with the volume turned up.
Rustic, yet elegant Cannonaus from of the best exponents of this grape in Sardinia.
Formidable and expressive red Sicilian wines made predominantly from Nero d’Avola.
Marco De Bartoli is considered one of Sicilys winemaking pioneers for his long-standing commitment to the native Sicilian white grape varieties, Grillo and Zibibbo. He produces them on two separate estates: the first in Marsala, in Sicily’s south-west corner; the other on the small island of Pantelleria, south-east of Sicily.
COS is located in Vittoria in southern Sicily. The estate works organically in the vineyards and is now converting its fermentation and maturation vessels to clay amphorae. The wines are very pure, very fine and utterly delicious.
The Benanti vineyards are situated on the slopes of Mount Etna. Their specialty is the Carricante grape from which they make the superb Pietramarina Etna Bianco.
Brilliant Pinots (including the Block wines), super Rieslings in tiny amounts and mineral Chardonnays from a pioneering estate in Bannockburn in Central Otago. Will achieve biodynamic classification next year.
Part of the Domaine Henri Bourgeois empire. Their Marlborough vineyards produce a striking, lees-aged Sauvignon and a full-flavoured complex Pinot Noir.
Framingham own some of the oldest Riesling vineyards in New Zealand. Winemaker Andrew Hedley is a dab hand at this grape variety: he makes four superb examples - of varying sweetness - as well as a cracking Sauvignon, a rich spicy Pinot Gris, a fruity Gewurztraminer, an easy drinking Pinot and a Montepulciano (why not?)
Put the elegant boot into boutique with these Victorian Chardonnays and Pinots.
A winery in the Colchagua region of Chile producing consistently good great value wines.
The environmentally friendly Sokol Blosser winery in the Willamette Valley was one of the first established in Oregon. Alex Sokol Blosser, the next generation, is very much a spokesman for the region. Excellent Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
The Winery team encompasses everything characteristic about the ‘New South Africa’. A diverse cultural and racial mosaic, combining indigenous South Africans with Northern Hemisphere adoptees - a blending of ideas, of values and of purpose, creating a natural dynamic for innovation and success. The Winery’s distinctive range reflects entirely separate styles. Each range has its own raison d’etre, independent of the others, though complementary to the bigger picture.
Restaurant web sites
A heaving-hopping wine bar near Charing Cross serving ever-so-munchable tapas and small plates with a list of 250 wines from mostly biodynamic and organic growers from France and Italy. Check out the natural low sulphur wines, the quirky fizzes, brilliant artisan ciders from Eric Bordelet and wonderful eaux de vie.
Biddenden in Kent, is home to a small, family-run restaurant. Housed in a 15th Century weaver’s cottage, The West House Restaurant is one of only two restaurants in Kent to hold a Michelin star. As it stated in The Observer ‘Graham Garrett’s michelin starred cooking is the thing here. It looks fantastic, but is not too neat and prissy, nor does it cost the earth.’
Sourced Market takes all the great attributes of farmers’ markets into the beating heart of the city. Located in the middle of St Pancras International, they are the UK’s first produce market to be located in a train station - They work with some fantastic small producers making locally sourced, seasonal produce available daily to London’s busy commuters and Eurostar travellers. There is also a very good selection of wine to match the produce.
Stay in a 12th century Château in Haute-Provence
The Château de Ribiers is located in the quiet, picturesque village of Ribiers, in the heart of Provence yet within easy reach of both the Mediterranean and the ski resorts of La Joue du Loup and Devoluy. Set in a peaceful, unspoilt landscape of fruit orchards, lavender and olive trees, and surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, this elegant 12th century chateau has been tastefully and sympathetically renovated by British-born artist Sally Cameron and French wine consultant Frédéric Feyler, who are delighted to offer guests a warm welcome all year round. Please Click here for details of our tours
A former Georgian manse Scarista House is now an idyllic guest house overlooking a three mile shell sand beach on the island of Harris in the far-flung (Outer) Hebrides. Even with the frequent gales blasting the windows it is a rare haven of tranquillity. Five comfortable bedrooms with stunning views over the Atlantic, a cosy library packed with interesting books, and delicious food, mostly locally sourced, and beautifully cooked by Tim and Patricia Martin, who are the most sensitive and friendly hosts imaginable, make a stay at Scarista a truly delightful experience.
Previously at The Stephan Langton in Friday Street, Jon and Cynthia Coomb opened The Westerly modern bistro about a year ago to rave reviews and received the 2008 Remy Martin Excellence Award. Fastidious sourcing of ingredients is the key here, combined with an uncluttered approach to the preparation and presentation, what you get is a true expression of the dish which never fails to impress and delight.
A Michelin-starred temple to Gascon gastonomy featuring Pascal Aussignac’s menu of brilliant and sometimes zany creations (foie gras and popcorn anyone?). Divided into La Route du Sel, Le Potager, Les Foies Gras, L’Oceane, and Les Paturages the menu invites you to sample a selection of small dishes and pair them with the wines of the region. The atmospheric Cellar Gascon offers even smaller portions of food - graze here to your heart’s content whilst asssaying some of the boldest and unsual wines in all of France.
One of the best wine bars in London owned and run by Charlie Young, Brett Woonton and Elena Ares. Friendly service, hearty food and a great range of well-priced wines make this a standout operation.
Eddie and Shirley Spear’s legendary restaurant in Colbost in the remoter reaches of Skye is a sanctuary for foodie pilgrims. Most of the ingredients are sourced within a twenty mile radius, presented with flair and an artistic eye and taste fantastic. The list is original and imaginative. The House Over-By with views of Harris is most comfortable and well-appointed if you are staying in this part of Skye.
The award-winning specialist events company. International, UK-wide, and London Wine Tasting and other Specialist Events for Corporate Entertainment
Welcome to The Good Wine Shop, an independent online UK Wine Shop specialising in the finest vintages from the world’s best small producers and importers. In our range we have a good selection of wines from Les Caves De Pyrene, which you can find on our website. If there is a wine you can’t find just give us a call as we can supply most of their wines. There are wines in our range for all budgets but quality is never sacrificed.
“From Australian Shiraz through Californian Pinot (if you want to do the Sideways thing); and sparkling Mauzac or Riesling from Luxembourg (yes really!); from classic claret to new wave Sicilian, we have them all at prices which won’t frighten your bank manager”. Green and Blue is a shop and wine bar owned and run by the charismatic Kate Thal specialising in the sort of artisan wines from small growers and estates that you will never find in the high street or supermarket. The web-site mirrors the shop and bar and is admirably unstuffy with a forthright blog (Kate always speaks her mind) and a section where you can give your feedback about the wines you’ve bought. Green and Blue also runs excellent wine courses.
Entertaining wine tastings at your place. Home, office, or wherever, a consultant from Taste Of The Grape will come to you bringing fantastic wines (many from C de P of course), plus glasses and everything else needed. Well-informed and relaxed - just the job for any occasion.
Other favourite web sites
Totally authoritative, well-written, comprehensive and justifiably opinionated - a vast enterprise.
Brilliantly designed site with excellent photos, interesting articles and informed reviews. Hugely popular blog.
The vinous peregrinations of one Bertrand Celce, travelling, meeting people, tasting unusual wines and taking superb photographs
The gang in question comprises Tim Atkin, Tom Cannavan, Jo Simon, Ollie Smith and Ant Rose, a piratical collection of the best of the new wave of wine writers. Plenty of reviews, features and independent assessments - a great resource. Doesn’t take advertising so you need to pay to join.
Simon Wood’s affable, urbane observations are a pleasure to read.
Probing, intellectually fearless and humorously abrasive, Walter Spellar questions and debunks in equal measure.
Even within the small world of natural wine Pierre Jancou is regarded as an extremist for his obsession with authenticity and his dedication to pure, unsulphured wines. morethanorganic.com is an expression of his philosophy and his passion.
Our soul-mates across the pond. Terrific selection of growers. Written with punkish elan.
Mixing wine, food and music. Non-sulphured wines get a good airing. Written in the classic American style: Hunter S Thompson meets Jack Kerouac with a hairy biker thrown in.
Self-styled Edith Wharton de nos jours puts the vigne into vignette. Acerbic, clever and provocative.
Every wacko wine in France is on this site. The ultimate collection of wonderful weirdness. Epatant!
Acute wine and food observations and interesting anecotes. Good bam-bam and very little blarney rubbish.
Fiona Beckett has been perceptively matching food and wine (or beer or juice) for as long as I remember. What to go with squirrel, for example? Badger Ale, Fusty Ferret or Porcupine Ridge Syrah are recommended (tongue in chipmunk cheek). Surely, with simple skug a snug bottle of Krug?
When those three little words “You’ve lost weight” meet “I love to eat” you know you’ve happened on Tash Hughes’s entertaining blog which chronicles a passionate foodie’s gastronomic endeavour to preserve her waistline at the same time as cooking and eating delicious food. Tash is a superb, eclectic cook and many of her recipes will leave you sitting in a pool of drool.
Customized, Deluxe Gourmet Wine Tours in Tuscany: private visits to the finest and most prestigious wineries in Chianti Classico, Brunello, Montepulciano, Maremma, Bolgheri and Elba Island.