Popular Posts

About me, Q&A, Scoring System

Reviews vs recommendations

This is more a review blog than a recommendation site; a nuanced but important distinction.

For many wine writers, reviewing a wine is tantamount to, or even overtly, an active recommendation that it is worth seeking out.

This blog seeks merely to record impressions of wines tasted - either favourable, middling or unfavourable - and it is for the reader to make her own decision.

I review wines I don't like with the same sense of aiming to provide a useful commentary as for those I do like.

I don't score wines - for many reasons. Rather than reduce wines to a number, I seek to convey a sense of what a wine is like, including the extent to which it gives enjoyment (to me, of course).

The CWB Scoring System

Like one's politics, income or religion, scoring systems are very personal and sensitive subjects.

I have developed the following shorthand code:

- Stylistically sub-standard or technically faulty: I say so in the review
- Pleasant enough but nothing special: no additional comments
- Rather good but not outstanding: Very Pleasant or Thoroughly Enjoyable
- Beyond this, there are three more levels of increasing noteworthiness - Good, Very Good and Very Good Indeed

About Tom Lewis

A linguist by education and a company director by profession, Tom Lewis lived in Austria for several years where he first developed a love of Austrian wines, especially Wachau Riesling and Burgenland's dessert wines.

A couple of trips to France later and the same was true for Bordeaux, Languedoc and Alsace.

Launching this blog in 2009 was a way of recording impressions of various wine events and later, increasingly, individual wines.

His comments have been published on Jancis Robinson's website as well as in the local press in his home town of Cambridge, UK where he has been a wine critic for local press as well as a broadcaster on local radio.

Tom is married with two children who both think he should get off the computer and spend more time with them.


New World or Old - Old

Put these in order: red, white, rosé, fortified, sweet, sparkling - impossible question, like putting your children in order. The enjoyment is in the variety.

Any styles you don't like ? Hard to think of any - when well-made. However, low-acidity / high-florality grapes like Gewurz, can't get into Pinot especially, and anything I'm just bored of.

New Zealand or Australia - New Zealand

Bordeaux or Burgundy - Bordeaux

Riesling or Chardonnay - Riesling

France or Italy - France

Cork or Stelvin - cork

Youth or age - age (both me and the wine)

Buying from the producer, a wine merchant or the supermarket - ideally the producer, but in the real world you can't beat a good French supermarket for everyday drinking.

Garden or dining room - in this country, it has to be the dining room, but with a view of the garden

Buying philosophy in 10 words - buy as close as possible to where it comes from

You are planning a dinner party; which comes first, the food or the wine - the food, as long as we have a suitable wine to go with it

South Africa or South America - I am impressed with Chilean regionality and potential, but South Africa is now starting to show some real interest