Posts Tagged wine


The Five HUGE Mistakes You Are Making When You Buy Wine


You’ve seen them, right? Those Twitter campaigns by a national wine warehouse and its online division telling people how stupid they are to buy wine that costs less than £5 or more than £10. And that if you spend much more than £10, then you are an utter fool because all you are doing is helping the winemaker buy a new, fancy Porsche. You know, that winemaker renting space in the corner of a winery who has to scrape together funds to show their wines in key export markets.

I’m not sure how telling consumers they’re stupid really helps them feel positive about a product. But wine carries so much social baggage – no one wants to look stupid buying the wrong bottle – that good old FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) must translate into sales. So, here’s my stab at telling wine drinkers where they’re going wrong…

ONE: Stop choosing wines by country. You’ve learnt to think this way because of how shops have traditionally segmented their wines, which is bonkers if you think about it. You can’t taste Italy. You can taste a light, silky Pinot Nero from Alto Adige or a full bodied, smooth Primitivo from Puglia. Which do you think you’d prefer? It’s smarter to understand and remember the regions you like. Better still, the styles.

TWO:  Stop confusing fruitiness with sweetness. It’s not that hard. Eat a peach. Then suck a boiled candy. Hopefully, you can tell the difference and wine merchants will stop rolling their eyes at you. Feel free to slap any merchant who then confuses you with talk about “sweet fruit”.

THREE: Stop judging a rosé by its colour. Dark doesn’t necessarily mean sweet. Unless you are buying it in the pub or from the convenience store. Then maybe it does. Yes, the aesthetics of a pale rosé are lovely, but if it’s just about the colour, drop a bit of red food dye into your Pinot Grigio and save yourself the angst.

FOUR: Buy what you can afford – drink the best that you can within your budget. But if you can afford a decent bit of organic, grass fed ribeye and some artisan cheese, don’t insult it with some bogoff plonk that’s got more additives than your entire dinner party food shop. (And if your guests do turn up with nice wine, serve it FFS.)

FIVE. Stop reading anything that tells you that you are wrong in your wine choices. Or that you are making mistakes that are so embarrassing you should walk around with a paper bag over your head.

Oops. Too late.

 

 

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The Night I Forgot To Bring Wine (Again)


My mother, Margaret, died last December after complications from Alzheimer’s following a broken hip operation. Watching her decline has been truly awful, as anyone who has seen a loved one cruelly fade through dementia knows. I wrote this in 2016, when she was still able to enjoy a little bit of wine. It was meant to be a lighthearted piece about drinking the cheaper more commercial stuff, and trying to keep in touch with reality. I just couldn’t post it at the time. Now, I see it as a fond memory of how an average bottle can become quite special when it creates a connection with someone you love.

 

 

I’ve done it again. I’ve arrived at my mum’s house without wine. (more…)

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Wine In The Time Of Guidelines


Hello, my name’s Paola and I’m a peddler of death. I have a licence – to kill. Entering my shop could seriously harm your health.

An exaggeration, of course. But, if you’re in wine retail, like me, it does feel a bit like, following the new government drinking guidelines.

My fears of a future where the windows of wine shops will have to be covered up, and all wine labels utilitarian, may not seem so outlandish after all. (more…)

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A Cote D’Or Delight


I’ve only just got round to drinking the Francois D’Allaines Saint-Aubin 1er Cru “Sur Gamay” 2006 I bought last year from The Wine Society.   (more…)

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A Berry Big(ham’s) Night Out


I wasn’t perhaps the ideal candidate to be invited to a bloggers’ supper to try out some new ready meal recipes. You see, I hate ready meals. To me they are the Devil’s spawn, the sign that our lazy, obese Western civilization is going to hell in a shopping basket. (more…)

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A Little More Conversation


Some of my most memorable wine experiences have been Australian. The first wine that made me think ‘wow’ was a Jim Jim Hanging Rock Sauvignon Blanc at Mietta’s in Melbourne 16 years ago. A year on there was the Cullen Chardonnay served at our favourite restaurant in London. I liked it so much, I bought the last remaining bottles of that vintage from the distributor. Roll on further, to last year, and there was the Lenton Brae Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 the sommelier at Otto’s in Sydney recommended when we said we wanted something “really nice”. It was. (more…)

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Caravan Of Lovely Wine


Reaching Man O’War vineyard’s cellar door on New Zealand’s Waiheke Island takes some dedication. The unmade road that takes you there is not for the fainthearted, with its sharp drops, steep climbs and tight bends. And it seemed a lot longer than the 4km advertised at the turning into this road. (more…)

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Smiley, Happy Wine People


Seresin Estate must be the happiest winery I’ve visited. Beaming smiles greeted us from the moment we stepped through the cellar door on a gloriously sunny Marlborough day – to the moment we left. First up was Carolina, who was managing the cellar door. With a warm welcome and an ear-to-ear grin she went off to find winemaker Clive Dougall. (more…)

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So Long, NZ Sauvignon


This is the tale of how social media changed my mind about New Zealand wine. I’d got a bit sick of them, you see. All those endless supermarket shelves of gooseberry-screaming Sauvignon Blanc, and those big, jammy Pinot Noirs that all began to taste the same. Which I guess is why they’ve become so popular in the UK. Rather like your favourite chocolate bar, you know exactly what you are getting every time you buy these wines. To price-conscious Brits, that’s manna from heaven. (more…)

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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…)

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