Archive for Drinking Now


Wine To Make You Feel Good


When I first heard about Piggy Bank wine, my cynicism kicked in.

I thought that raising money with every bottle sold was simply a gimmick aimed at middle-class bleeding hearts. To make them feel they were doing some good every time they enjoyed a glass or two.

I also assumed that the supermarket-sold wine would be dull, mass-produced and over-priced so that everyone involved could each make a decent enough margin – and still cream off 50p for charity with each sale. (more…)

English Wine Laid Bare


Last year, I declared that English wine had come a long way.

I may have been a bit premature.

Hot on the heels of sampling some fabulous sparklers at an English Wine Producers trade event, came a short, sharp dose of reality – tasting more than 40 English wines blind. Stripped of labels, information about the producers, stories behind the wines and other influencing factors, there was nowhere to hide. (more…)

Nice Wine, Great Price


We Brits love a bargain.

Getting something for next to nothing is part of our national psyche. Especially when it comes to wine.

No, this isn’t a diatribe about cheap wine. Been there. Done that.

This is about good value wine.  (more…)

Malbec and Me


I don’t believe in detoxing. There I’ve said it. Unless your religion dictates it, what’s the point of giving up something for a month, only to go back to business as usual at the end of it? Especially when it is cold, dark and miserable outside.

So, while magazines are full of soups, salads and “light food”, I’m going to buck the trend and write about Kinky Friedman-style big, hairy steaks matched with ballsy red wine. Argentinian Malbec to be precise. (more…)

Something Old, Something New…


Newsflash! Oddbins is back!

I don’t mean that 37 of its stores were saved from administration. That’s, like, old news innit.  (more…)

Sonoma: A Wine Odyssey


Restrained. Not a word you’d usually associate with Californian wine. And yet, here we were, drinking a succession of decidedly unshowy whites at the Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, Sonoma.

This is not the first time we’ve been here and  – given its distance from grey old London – we always splash out on the tasting menu with wines. It’s one of Mr. SipSwoosh’s favourite things to do in one of his favourite places in the world.

However, I don’t remember the white wines being quite this reined in when we were last here, three years ago. (more…)

Friends With Benefits


So, after my recent review of  a 1 Lombard Street Wine Society dinner, a friend emails me with this:

“Just to remind you I have a case (magnums) of the 2004 Ch. Leoville Barton.

When are you coming?”

Twelve days later as it happened. (more…)

Let’s All Get Naked


Just before Christmas, I bought another pair of gloves – to replace the two pairs I’d lost within the week. At the shop till, there were vouchers for Naked Wines offering £40 off a case (I think). Anyway, good enough to tempt me to go online and finally order from Naked Wines. Except I didn’t. (more…)

Wine I’ve Been Drinking


Like it or not, supermarkets play a big part in what most of us drink. In an ideal world, I would only ever buy from independent wine merchants, both bricks-and-mortar and online. But sometimes what you have in the house doesn’t go with what you are cooking or, indeed, what you feel like drinking. And, in a town or city, there is always a supermarket nearby (and there may not be a decent wine merchant at all). (more…)

Wines I’ve Been Drinking


I’ve never thought myself a seasonal drinker. I’m just as happy sipping a ballsy red at a summer barbecue as I am when the temperatures plummet, and a crisp, aromatic dry wine cheers me up no end when it’s cold, windy and wet outside. But recently I’ve tried two very contrasting white wines that have been very evocative of crisp late autumn days and dark evenings when the clocks have gone back.

(more…)