Archive for September, 2008

Edith’s toilet – oh deer!

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I am in Switzerland for a couple of days mountain air which coincides with the deer shooting season, so Edith tells me, anyway.  Edith is the patron of Chez Edith, a charming chalet style restaurant in Nendaz.


Prosecco Mush

Friday, September 26th, 2008

I’m always on the lookout for a bargain but I have had my fingers burnt a few times when trying to shave a few pennies off my sparkling wine budget.  The closest I have come to success is Freixenet Cava (although some maintain that this is only good for washing the dog).  Freixenet retails at less than £6 at places like Costco and Tesco which I think is a bargain….until I spotted an Italian mare at less than a fiver on Tesco’s sparkling shelves!


Morgan M mission much more than a mere mouthful

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Multi-talented Morgan Meunier arrived at our table after the meal, presumably looking for a round of applause for his culinary artistry.  “Was everything OK?” he wondered.  Super.  “Was there anything specific we particularly liked?”.  The seabass with crayfish and tarragon ravioli and lobster velouté was my favourite, but why were all his dishes so bloody complicated?


Marqués de Arienzo Gran Reserva 1998

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

I hardly dare review a Spanish wine after my admonishment at the hands of Lorenza, but I had already purchased this on my way home from Spain in July.  There is not much to do at Malaga airport other than mooch around the “duty free” shop, and €16.30 doesn’t sound like a lot for a Gran Reserva.

Memories of our one day long summer!


Cornerhouse Grill, Dublin

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

When dining out, one well known restaurant critic makes a point of asking how the tips are distributed, always leaving cash, and encourages readers to do the same.  So I dutifully asked the MO of one waiter at the Cornerhouse Grill and was stunned by his response.

Cornerhouse - on a corner for some reason


Seresin Leah Pinot Noir 2006

Monday, September 15th, 2008

They say that Pinot Noir has barnyard aromas, but this one was more like green manure, just starting to rot away nicely before being ploughed back into the soil to nourish and re-energise.

Mmmm nice bricks


Craggy Range – who let the cats out?!

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

……..miaow, miaow, miaow, miaow, miaow!

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc 2007 is the very metaphor for cats’ piss on a gooseberry bush.  Except these Martinborough cats mistook a pineapple tree for the green and prickly one.

Craggy Range and flashing...for some reason

Available from the Wine Society at £12.50.  It’s a good slurp but I think there are better value SBs available from New Zealand, and indeed, the Wine Society.  Check out John Hancock’s Trinity Hill at only £8.50, for example.

A Maze in steaks

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

In sleepy Grosvenor Square, just a Molotov cocktail throw from the American embassy, is yet another Gordon Ramsay place.  It’s getting difficult to walk down a London street without seeing his name over some restaurant or other.

I was advised that Molotov was not on the aperitif list, but £12 for a tiny glass of Ayala champagne, even if poured at the table, set me off in an explosive mood.  I think the sommelier noticed my look of disappointment, nay disdain, as he left me with barely enough liquid to create a damp patch if I spilled it on my trousers (I didn’t).  I wanted to dislike this place – I don’t like being ripped off.

Dangerously close to US embassy but nice view all the same


EWBC2008 Highlights

Monday, September 8th, 2008

The European Wine Bloggers’ Conference 2008 was a massive hit, it has to be said, much to the surprise of the organisers.

So much happened in one weekend of my life, I can barely pick out my favourite bits.  Let’s start with the lowlights – landed in Bilbao, bag (including wine samples) landed in Palermo.  Arrived back in UK, bag arrived one hour later, one bottle of wine smashed, clothes ruined and bag stunk of wine, had to drive home overnight with a blood stained handkerchief wrapped around my finger, nearly sliced off from glass shards.

OK, that’s only one lowlight really.  The rest of the weekend was awesome – here are my top 11 highlights:

11.  Teaching Ryan Opaz (US citizen and all round good guy) to say “arsehole” instead of “asshole” – what is the matter with Americans? I suppose we could agree to use “George W Bush” for the same meaning.


Evidence of risk taking at Riscal tasting

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

One weekend in La Rioja is not anywhere near long enough to enjoy the fruits (and tannins) offered up by this part of northern Spain.  I was, therefore, extremely pleased to see a visit to Marqués de Riscal winery, one of my favourites, on the itinerary of the European Wine Bloggers’ Conference.

Riscal is a traditional old winery yet some experimentation is being dared, such as the inclusion of increasing quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon in this Tempranillo dominated region, and talking of innovation (a noun to which Riscal aspires) it is hard to ignore the stunning architecture of the Frank Gehry building.  Although supposedly representative of the wines of Riscal, I suspect Gehry may have been influenced by something more hallucinatory than wine when he sat at his drawing board at the turn of the millennium.  Very impressive though it is, I spat rather than swallowed, the argument that it “blends in” with the surrounding landscape.  I think its very beauty is that it blends in like a spaceship placed next to the Houses of Parliament.  Come to think of it, when is the London Eye scheduled for take off?