News & views
I’m really excited to let you all know about a series of pop-up wine classes I’m doing at the wonderful Honey & Co in London
This week I have been mainly driving around the south of England in a large open-top Beemer. No, it’s not our car, we were offered it by the nice people at BMW who obviously got me confused with the Guardian motoring correspondent. But who was I to disillusion them?
Whenever I write about beer in my Guardian column - which is not that often and in a minute you’ll see why - there’s a stream of snide and sarcastic comments. Far more than I ever get for wine
As little as a year ago - can it be that short a time? - it felt as if food writing was in terminal decline. Newspapers and food magazines were dominated by the same old names, generally fostered by a restaurant or TV connection. Some, it was rumoured (choosing my words carefully), didn’t even write their own columns or books.
I wouldn’t say that yesterday was a typical day in the life of this particular wine writer but it was certainly an eclectic one, starting with one huge supermarket tasting (Asda), going on to a Dom Pérignon lunch and finishing with another one (Morrisons).
One of the hoariest old chestnuts in discussions about the ethics of wine writing is whether wine writers should buy the wines they write about themselves rather than attending tastings or being sent samples.
Straying off my usual subject matter of food and drink I thought I’d share a few thoughts about London taxis which have undergone similar seismic changes to my own world of print journalism.
Anyway who has a passing interest in natural wine will know that it’s a subject on which feelings run high. A lot of people are outraged that such unconventional wines are praised and fêted when they are (in their view) unpalatable and clearly faulty.
Cheese is possibly not the first ingredient that comes to mind in terms of a Valentine’s Night celebration but think again and you realise there's no shortage of suitable candidates.
Like everyone else who came in touch with him I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Serge Hochar of Chateau Musar this week, apparently as a result of a swimming accident while he was on holiday. He was one of the most inspirational and charismatic winemakers I ever had the privilege of meeting.
i know you’re supposed to run a blog like a magazine. Schedule in topical features and run them when people are looking for that kind of content but this year my annual round-up of cookery books which should usefully have come out at the beginning of December just didn’t happen.
This week Bristol finally has its own natural wine bar*, Bar Buvette which has been opened by a local chef, Peter Taylor who runs one of my favourite places in France, the Auberge de Chassignolles.
3 days in Paris so far and I can report that the city is changing. Fast. Of course it’s been happening for a while but there’s a critical mass in terms of the number of restaurants which are offering a very different experience to those that established Paris's reputation as a gastronomic destination.
A fantastic piece of news! I won the International Wine & Spirit Competition, Gonzalez Byass Blogger of the Year award which was announced at the IWSC awards banquet last week.
The news that an organisation called Wotwine has nominated Lidl their supermarket of the year - and M & S the worst for value - inevitably hit the headlines this week. There’s nothing the tabloid press likes better than a story claiming that wine is overpriced.
Everyone knows that artichokes are one of the most difficult ingredients to match with wine - especially with red wine. Only last weekend we struggled to find a pairing at the food matching forum I was taking part in.
When I was young I remember my grandmother endlessly telling me ‘Do all you can while you can’ or - even more irritatingly - ‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may’. At the time I found it hugely annoying but as I get older I can see the point.
Although I’ve been in many wine regions when harvest is in full swing I can’t remember being in one when harvest was about to start as it is in the Northern Rhône this week.
One of the things that still surprises me after all these years is how scared otherwise confident people are of wine. The number of people who preface a comment on a bottle with ‘I really don’t know ANYTHING about wine’ as if their view didn’t count is ridiculous. Even people like chefs and food writers who taste for a living.
The news that Bristol was to stage its own food festival may have struck you as a bit of a yawn. After all every self-respecting city has a food festival these days, peppered with visiting celebrity chefs and food personalities.