Archive for July, 2007

The Ivy League

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

I did once manage to get some sort of degree from Leeds University Business School which is not exactly the Ivy League.  Still it stood me in good stead for being comprehensible – occasionally.  Sadly this was not true when I visited The Ivy with the wife.

Being in the West End we opened with a quick glass at the Cork & Bottle on Cranbourn Street and swiftly moved on to the surprisingly quiet location next to the St Martin’s Theatre where The Mousetrap has been playing since 1436:

Its a ratrap, Billy - and you’ve been caught!


2004 Château Lascombes

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

After numerous weeks of seemingly endless rain, I was close to completing my ark.  However, still no closer to cutting the lawn which was starting to look like a very green field with very long grass on it.  Then one evening we had a breakthrough.  The sun shone and I went outside looking for pairs of worms, slugs, blackbirds, snails and magpies to take with me on my maiden voyage.  They all seemed to be absent, so in desperation I mowed the lawns.

Now, my front lawn is on an angle of about 45 degrees, so I have to mow it wearing golf spikes, but with a petrol mower, this is the gardening equivalent of climbing the north face of Everest in a t-shirt and a thong.


This dog has got a point!

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

OK so I’ve slagged off New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.  Well actually, far from having slagged them off, I’ve merely suggested that French Sauvignons, and in particular, those from the Loire Valley should be given a 2nd chance.  But I’ve always expressed my admiration for NZ Sauvignons, and Cloudy Bay is my favourite so far.

So when I was offered the chance to buy a mixed case of Kiwi SBs from 2006, including a bottle of Cloudy Bay for only £109, I jumped at the chance to make a few comparisons.  An opportunity to retest my theory that the French are moving ahead again in quality and VFM.

The first bottle I tried was Dog Point 2006.  But this was no dog!

No dogs here!  Dog Point..with a juicer (for some reason)


Call that a bocadillo???

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

A lads’ weekend in Puerto Banus (or Port Banus as I call it) and we needed some lunch.  We stayed at the H10 Andalucia Plaza (best breakfast in the whole of Spain).  Still, it was our first day and we hadn’t had any breakfast so we ambled in the direction of the port, and we decided to sample a nice “friendly” looking bar:  Café Los Amigos.

Los Amigos de Banus - we gave it 6/10 (for some reason)


Sofra so good

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Shepherd’s Market in Mayfair is one of the most charming places in the capital.  It’s totally unique.

By contrast, Turkish resto Sofra, has a number of branches across London.  My myopic view of restaurant chains is that they totally lack flair and employ cooks rather than chefs to dish out someone else’s imagination…poorly.

So when invited to Sofra (Mayfair) I attended with some trepidation, that turned out to be totally unwarranted.


I’ve just applied for a “Food Miles” loyalty card

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Food goes round the world (for some reason)

Very trendy these days isn’t it?  Being “green”.  I was at Live Earth (Wembley) last weekend joining Al Gore’s hordes of pledgees, determined to waste as much energy as possible in telling other people to save energy.


Grand Cru Chablis – Worth the extra? Part deux.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Do you remember my post about Grand Cru Chablis?

I finally got round to sampling the Premier Cru from the same stable albeit a different year (2004 vs 2002).  Perhaps the most important difference is the price.  The Grand Cru at £24.99 and the Premier Cru at 13.99.  So the question is, should one pay the huge difference for the Grand Cru?

Chablis on an outdoor table (which is indoors for some reason)


1990 Stunna from Côtes de Bourg

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

Is Channel M the future?  As I sat in my living room in Leeds I pondered the segmentation going on in the digital TV market.  I have a foot either side of the Pennines so frequently flick to Channel M to find out what is going on in Manchester.  I could equally be living in Spain and watching the aptly named Living in Spain channel, or enjoying a glass of plonk whilst watching Wine TV.  However, as a Man City fan there is fat chance you will find me subscribing to MUTV (no hyperlink – I don’t want to promote that channel).

So it seems that whatever your interest, you can find a TV channel to suit.  So why not specialised wine dealers, I thought.  My next business plan may be to open a wine shop that specialises in unfashionable Bordeaux wines.

La Réserve du Grand Plantier 1990 is a Côtes de Bourg wine that I have never heard of, so this is not a good start to my business idea.


My “grand design” – what do I know?

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

I’ve just been watching one of my favourite TV programmes, Grand Designs.  Every episode is a tale of hope and of human triumph in the face of considerable adversity.  Best of all it shows that if you have a big plan it is always ten times more difficult to deliver than your worst possible estimate.

Kevin McCloud looks on and commentates in his laconic and smug, but laid back and highly entertaining style.  The thing about “reality” TV is that we can all sit back and smile with the expert, at how dumb the subjects are for not realising that they needed building regs approval for the step they are replacing with one that is 1.5 inches lower than the incumbent broken one.  Meanwhile we are led to believe that the whole project is in jeopardy as a result.


Of Château Laroze and sweat

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

Does your tongue sweat?  I think mine might.  Here’s the science bit.  I did a bit of physics and chemistry at school but no biology – my dad didn’t want me to get an ‘ology and I am not really into science so I sometimes wonder what makes me ask such pointless questions as “does my tongue sweat?”.

Sport is another matter though, and I have always tried to stay active despite my overweight status.  So I often follow Gillian McKeith’s advice to exercise before eating to “earn my meal” …and wine in my case.  Admittedly, I am taking a liberty here since Dr McKeith specifically prohibits alcohol consumption from her diet plans.

On opening a bottle of Château Laroze 1998 that I have been carefully keeping for a while, I was at first delighted to find the cork and wine in apparently perfect condition.

Chateau Laroze 1998…next to a chocolate fountain (for some reason)