Which wine are you drinking? Tell us about it


Thought I’d restart one of my fave threads from the old forum…

To kick us off, I’m posting a pic of one of my all-time favourite wine domaines: Aigues Belles in the Gard, south of France. It was almost a personal discovery, kickstarted by drinking a bottle at a local restaurant. Many happy visits over many summers, but none for three years now.

Awesome reds, and a 100% Chardonnay which I would call a white wine for red-wine drinkers.

Practically impossible to find outside France - worth a trip in itself!



This seems an appropriate place for me to share the news of the sad passing of Gerard Basset MW, MS, OBE
One of the wine world’s greatest sons, and a true friend and inspiration to all who knew him.

Just in case that includes any others here, I share one of my many memories of a great friend who will be sadly missed and joyously remembered.

In memoriam Gérard Basset.

I cannot relay this story - certainly not in person - without welling up.

After my mother died in 2013, my father - older, ill and heartbroken - was declining. He obviously could not bear to spend Christmas (predictability destined to be his last) at home, so my brother and I decided to take him to Portsmouth, where we had grown up as a family. Christmas together and an ashes-scattering on Boxing Day. My brother’s partner is also from Portsmouth, so they stayed with her family. I booked two rooms for dad and me at TerraVina, Gérard’s hotel in the New Forest, after having explained the situation to Gérard and Nina (dad was 84, with Parkinsons, and other things). We booked Christmas lunch for the entire extended family at the hotel restaurant.
Unfortunately, as perhaps some will remember, a storm in December 2013 caused a huge power outage across a great swathe of Hampshire and the south of England. The hotel moved its food to a rented freezer on a generator. The chef offered to try to cook for everyone at his home, and transport stuff, but it was never going to work.
So, me, dad, Gérard, Nina, and the others of the hotel guests who hadn’t left, spent Christmas Eve, by candlelight, next to a log fire, eating our way through the hotel’s cold food goodies and talking. Gérard’s solution to the problem was to raid his cellar, and that he generously did.

Gérard patiently listened, with rapt attention and compassionate interest, to my dad’s endless stories of the war, the RAF, my mum, and all manner of ephemeral nonsense from a rambling, recently widowed, and sick old man, whom he had never previously met.
And this was a hotelier in the middle of a potentially disastrous commercial situation with - I imagine - a whole pile of other things that were, and should have been - playing on his mind. But no, Gérard was himself. Utterly charming in every way. Probably the greatest gentle-man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
On Christmas Day the power had not been restored, and the lack of any heating at all was just not going to work for an old man. We had to de-camp to Rachel’s family.

Not only did Gérard and Nina not charge for the magnificent evening and over-night we had had (with some exceptional wines), they refunded everything already paid and apologised - entirely unnecessarily, for something in no way their fault.

Dad passed away about eight weeks later, having repeatedly told me how wonderful his Christmas Eve had been, and how lucky I was to have Gérard as a friend, and how grateful he was to have met him.

That was Gérard Basset’s effect on others.
And I feel truly privileged to have known him.

I am currently in Rust in Austria, helping run the seminar for this year’s new intake of MW students. Many tears have been shed, and just as many cheers raised, to a great man.

RIP Gérard. What a gap you leave.


Exceptional story @Rod_Smith - thank you.


What a lovely story, Rod. Thanks for sharing it with us.


Rod, lovely story some great people still out there…thanks for sharing


Thank you! Just in case you didn’t know of him, and are interested, this is a lovely obituary/tribute (including a funny story) which details some of Gerard’s many achievements in wine (and life):

Gerard Basset 1957 - 2019 (link)


Morning Rod

first met Gerard in 1999 at a Geoff Merrill dinner at Winchester Hotel du Vin, great guy reall loss to our trade, thoughts go out to his family, Monty new him well


I discovered Rust whilst working in Bratislava. I went on to work in Budapest and learnt to appreciate Hungarian wines, but Rust Ausbruch always draws me back. Would like to know where to buy Feiler-Artinger?


Ah but what am I drinking … opened last night to go with some rare beef skirt. I will finish it off tonight with some more of that skirt (salted over night as recommended by Samin Nosrat in Salt, fat, acid heat). No doubt there will be cheese on the table: cave aged cheddar and Blue Basset from Brinkworth dairy.


Hi Rod

Thanks for the wonderful story. It is so sad that someone in their prime was cut down so prematurely. It sounds like he was a very special person. It was also lovely to hear about your father. You wrote with great compassion and fondness about your dad. There are increasingly few of his ww2 generation still with us. I am lucky as a GP to look after a 100 year old RNZAF pilot from the war. He is the most kind and self effacing man, and he is the last of “my”ww2 veterans. I will miss him when he is gone. Anyway, will start post about wine again soon. Enjoying a 2017 La Perreon Beaujolais from Domaine Madonna tonight, very good with ratatouille and the Australian open tennis.


Our favourite Italian wine for my girlfriends birthday, You can’t beat a good Brunello and Montalcino well worth a visit too .


Thank you Hugh,

My dad was a child in the war (born 1928) but did his RAF service not long after.
Gerard was an inspirational man, as you say taken too soon.




Kurt Feiler is just the loveliest guy, and although the website is only in German, he speaks fluent English. I am sure an email to him would result in the possibility of direct sales (of anything like quantity anyway). Perfectly easy within the EU (and for the time being…). Otherwise he will I’m sure let you know where the wines are available near you…

I’m not sure about posting links here, so I won’t. There is a list of Kurt’s international distributors on his website. feiler-artinger.at. Then find ‘IMPORTEURE UND BEZUGSQUELLEN’.
In the UK the wines come in through my friend Lance Foyster MW, of Clark Foyster (London). Lance’s email address is available by following the link on the above. Again, they may only be wholesalers and unable to sell direct to the public, but if that is the case they will tell you where to find the wines.
No commercial connection etc. (Although they really are a very nice family.) They also farm cattle, and are very proud of both.

I just wrote up a piece about my tasting with Heidi Schröck in Rust (probably the best producer of the famous sweet wines) on my website/blog. If interested, then my company is called Riviera Wine Academy, and I am sure you can find the rest…



Thanks Rod - I’ll do just that.
On my visits to Rust I’ve found everyone very helpful when buying the odd case.
Thanks for the advice


I’m in Deidesheim in Germany (Pfalz) where they are hoping it will be cold enough overnight tonight (-5°C) to be able to harvest what few grapes are left for ice wine/eiswein.

It has not got this cold yet so far this season. Although it did last night, which is why they are hopeful (generally they need a 48 hour period where the temperature does not get above freezing). I don’t suppose making wine from these is going to be any easier than picking them at 6a.m. while kneeling on the rock-solid frozen ground.

Certainly eiswein is perhaps the wine whose beauty is in inverse proportion to how attractive the grapes look at picking (unless you’re a very hungry bird, that is).


I’ve said it before - wine is only ever about who you drink it with. Even this exceptional Australian shiraz - 19 years old, dark red (a little brick red round the edges), complex, warm and a treat to share. A privilege. (Tunes included my first listen to The Beatles white album remixed version on Tidal, including the Esher demos - dammit, I had something in my eye though.)


Porta 6 Reserva.

On offer at the mo’ at less than a tenner from Majestic, this eminently quaffable red is something of a bargain, even more so since I’ve just received a voucher for a further tenner off six bottles.

Rich plum, savoury spice and velvety smooth finish, it ticks all the right boxes, and confirms Portugal’s return to serious winemaking. :yum:


This Glasnevin Pinot noir 2016 was excellent last night with cheeseburgers.
It is from Waipara in north Canterbury in New Zealand. Served at cellar temperature 13C on a warm Wellington evening.
Medium red colour, a bit of undergrowth, farmyard and ripe cherry on nose. Tastes like dark ripe cherry, grilled meat and mushrooms with lovely tight acidity on finish. Yum. I love the way pinots can be served cool as very refreshing in the heat.


Dave, coincidentally, I opened a bottle of Portuguese wine just the other day. Vidigal Reserva. It was inexpensive and I bought 6 bottles to try out after a recommendation. I have to say, I’m impressed. Very nice indeed.


Hi Richard,

Whilst I do indulge in the occasional expensive bottle, I also think there’s much fun to be had ferreting out quality bargains at the cheaper end of the market.

Thinking back to last year’s “Bicicleta” example, whilst an offering from one of the world’s largest producers, it nevertheless met with approval from several folks on here, yourself included.

Right now, Portugal seems to be hitting the spot, though I don’t imagine it will remain a secret for much longer.