Archive for October, 2012


Partridge In A “Dare Me”


A friend turns up to dinner with a gift. A bottle of wine? A box of chocolates? No, two freshly-shot partridges.

It’s not unusual for my friend to gift us some game he’s shot. Usually, though, he’s field dressed it – skinning and gutting in situ. Or he’s taken it to be done properly at the butchers.

“Sorry, I didn’t have the time,” he says, with a little twinkle in his eye. You see, he likes to challenge people. See what they’re made of. And this was a gentle, unspoken dare. Would I wimp out and take these to be professionally dressed? Or would I (wo)man up and prove I can get my hands dirty. Very, very dirty. (more…)

Wines For Bourgeois Tastes


What is it about Bordeaux that turns us either into crashing bores or quivering wrecks?

Crashing bores as we recite vintages, classed growths and producers in near-mythical terms; quivering wrecks as we open a £14 bottle with a pretty château on the label not knowing if we’ve picked up a turkey or a gem.

It seems there is no middle ground.

Which is sad, because below the famous names of Bordeaux’s hallowed left bank Médoc region (Château Margaux, Lafite and the like) are scores of producers turning out beautiful wines at a fraction of the price. But how do you pick these out from poorly-made imitators riding on the Bordeaux name? (more…)