Author Archives: Neel Burton

About Neel Burton

Neel Burton is a psychiatrist, philosopher, writer, and wine-lover who lives and teaches in Oxford, England. He is the author of several books, including The Meaning of Madness and The Art of Failure: The Anti Self-Help Guide. You can find Neel on Twitter and Facebook, and at

The European Union and French Wine Classification Systems

The European Union The French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system, governed by the Institut national des appellations d’origine (INAO), dates back to 1935. It has inspired or influenced many other national systems and, ultimately, the European Union (EU) wine laws. … Continue reading

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The Black Wines of Cahors

In France, the South West wine region includes several disparate appellations situated south of, and inland from, Bordeaux. The most notable of these appellations are Cahors, Madiran, and Jurançon. The ‘black wines’ of Cahors, the spiritual home of the Malbec … Continue reading

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Fifty Shades of Cabernet: Assessing the Colour of a Wine

On a white background (for example, a sheet of paper), examine the colour of the wine. Look at the wine from above to assess the depth of colour, which can be gauged from the visibility of the stem of the … Continue reading

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The Art of Food and Wine Matching

In many European wine regions, the wines and culinary traditions developed reciprocally such that the wines naturally pair with the regional fare. Many of these so-called ‘food wines’ can seem overly tart or tannic if drunk on their own, but … Continue reading

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A Short History of German Wine

Wine is mostly produced in the southwest of the country, along the River Rhine and its tributaries. The Romans founded Trier (Augusta Treverorum), modern Germany’s most ancient city, on the Mosel. In 370, Ausonius lauded the beauty of the region’s … Continue reading

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The Wines of Piedmont

Piedmont means ‘at the foot of the mountain’. The region is enclosed to the north and west by the Alps and to the south by the Apennines, which seal it off from Liguria and the Mediterranean coast. Much of the terrain … Continue reading

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Common Wine Faults and How To Detect Them

Cork taint True cork taint is due to 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), formed when certain phenolic compounds react with chlorine-containing compounds used as disinfectants. This need not result from the cork, as TCA is also found in barrels and other winery equipment. … Continue reading

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