Archive for April, 2007

The Spanish Cavaliers from Frisky Fresher-net

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Now, we already know that the Spanish football team is ever the under-achiever.  Possibly only England can compare to their dismal lack of success when matched against national expectation.  But what are they like at making wine?  In a wine competition, I suspect the English would contrive to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.  However, I think Spanish wine is pretty good on average, and maybe they finally have a sport to excel at.

Firstly let me clear up the fact that I am about to review a wine that claims it is from Spain but many would say it is made in Catalunia.  Without getting into Iberian politics perhaps I’ll move on to this rather nice Cava (pronounced more like cava in cavalier than “carver” as most people seem to say).  But that’s not the only pronunciation problem here since the Cava is named Freixenet and as best as I can establish that is pronounced like Fresher-net.

Still, I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition when I asked for the wine at my local Co-op supermarket. (more…)

A Pink Italian Job

Friday, April 27th, 2007

My second favourite film of all time is “The Italian Job” – I mean the original one with Michael Caine, Noel Coward, Benny Hill et al.  So this barmy April weather had me on the balcony humming “On days like these” by Matt Munro and that got me thinking “hold on lads, I’ve just had a great idea!” and searched my collection of Pinkos for an Italian Job.


Grüner Veltliner from Tesco

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Now I don’t want to be accused of bias.  I buy wine from all over the place, but to be honest Tesco is normally bottom of my list despite it being the location of choice for most of our grocery shopping.

So in the interests of giving it a fair hearing, I recently purchased a couple of sample bottles, the first of which I will review here.

£6.99 for a Grüner Veltliner seems a good deal.  Tesco’s offering was “Singing” Grüner Veltliner from Laurenz und Sophie.


Old Amalfi Rocks!

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Southampton Row is a funny old street.  Well funny yes, but mostly old.  It looks like it is stuck in a time warp from the 1960’s and 70’s.

However, there are one or two secret places I know where you can find food amongst the best value in London.  One of them is Old Amalfi.  An unremarkable establishment with tacky decor and no expense wasted on fine table linen or other unimportant items.

However, the food is terrific!

Old Amalfi at dusk - hey I’m a drinker not a photographer!


Of Jam and Shiraz…

Friday, April 20th, 2007

When I turned 18 we did a sort of lad’s rite of passage thing.  Some guys did sickly things like inhaling a whole cigar.  Others did amateur self harm (but not on Iggy Pop’s scale).

The idea I most admired was the guy who ate a whole pot of jam.  This doesn’t sound very rock and roll does it?!  But have you ever tried it?  The first spoonful is delicious but by the time you are half way through the jar, it is getting sickly to the point of making you gip.  In that sense it’s a bit like drinking an Aussie Shiraz.


High Society

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

I saw the musical recently at Leeds Grand Theatre – it was so so.  This post is nothing to do with musicals though.

Regular readers will know that I am a new member of the Wine Society in the UK and have been experimenting with various wines, mostly the Society’s own brands.

At £7.50 the Society’s New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2006 is less than half the price of Cloudy Bay but way more than half the quality.


Browns, Always The Scene in Town

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

There isn’t much of a theatre scene in Leeds but what there is, is top notch.  We are privileged to know one of the cast of Opera North (although he never gets us tickets any more).  Leeds Grand Theatre is surely the best theatre outside London for architecture and acoustics (especially since the recent improvements).  The West Yorkshire Playhouse is also pretty good for a modern theatre and puts on some interesting modern pieces.

So where to dine before the show then?


The Times They Aren’t a Changing

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

With apologies to Bob Dylan, I was delighted to read this piece in The Times highlighting the scandal of rip-off restaurant mark-ups on wine.

Don’t pay it – vote with your stomachs and eat (and drink) somewhere else!  Rant Over….

Torrontés – Malbec’s Little Sister

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

I admire Malbec because it is classy, very tasty and compares well to many old world wines.  But there is another Argentinean grape that makes wine so far from the norm it makes me shiver.  It’s even better than a cup of tea (or did Boy George already do that line?)

The grape is Torrontés and as far as I know it may have originated from Spain.  Now Spain as we know are football’s great under achievers, whereas Argentina cheat, for example the “Hand of God” incident in the 1986 World Cup.  So I am going to assume that the grape came from Spain and that the Argies stole it.


Soooo Organic – so which Malbec?

Monday, April 9th, 2007

One Sunday a few years ago Sainsbury’s locked my car in their Huddersfield car park causing me massive inconvenience.  Combined with their stock replenishment problems at the time, I swore I would never shop there again.

Regular readers will know that my grudges don’t hold much resolve so last week saw me nipping into Sainsbury’s on Regent Rd in Manchester looking for Malbec.  Ciaran had recommended the So Organic Free Trade one.