Archive for June, 2009

Bellingham 2007 Bernard Chenin Blanc

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I have a lot of respect for Stuart Pearce.  I liked him as manager of Man City although clearly he was not experienced enough at the time.  For the last couple of years he has been preparing England Under 21s for the European Cup.  We were clearly the best side in the tournament with the possible exception of Germany, who gave us a 4-0 bloody nose in the final.

But for 3 key suspensions, England might well have put up a fight, but what do I know?  I don’t have Sky Sports in the flat so I have had to suffer Wimbledon instead where sulky Scot/plucky Brit (depending if he loses/if he wins), Andy Murray, was on terrestrial TV playing in the latest night ever finish at Wimbledon (no football connection there – not any more anyway) against Stanislas Wawrinka, the more than plucky Swiss.

Bernard Dobber!

Bellingham “The Bernard Series” Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2007 is pretty plucky.  I thought Chenin Blanc tipped a wink to Blandshire, on average.  But this far from average example has more spunk than Murray, more intensity than Pearce and more grunt than Michelle Larcher de Brito.


Les Arbousiers 2008

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Think of a long, lazy, boozy summer lunch in the south of France and you think of rosé.  Well I do.

Abusers?  Quite the opposite...


Italian Freemasons nobble me in Manchester

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Italian wines are often accused of being over-tannic.  I guess that is a matter of opinion but I woke up with a headache this morning.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending my first Wine Society event, an informal tasting within the impressive architecture of the Freemason’s Hall on Bridge Street.  Such things clearly need a theme and this one was “Italy from top to toe”.  Given the country in question one might equally have dreamt up “heel to sole” or “thirst to last”.  But that’s enough cobblers.


Fung Shing, London Chinatown

Friday, June 19th, 2009

I’ve heard many reports of London Chinatown’s demise.  Shame when Manchester’s equivalent is thriving so well.  I found myself in The Big Smoke on business with nothing better to do than check out the rumours, so I selected a random place on Lisle Street just behind Leicester Square.

Fung Shing Hell - or not as it happens


Tin Shed Wild Bunch Riesling 2004

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Most successful software is never the real deal until version 3.  This is the version that appeases the early, and even late majority, and therefore wins the market.  I have just downloaded the 3.0 operating system for my iPhone and it was worth the wait.

OS 2.0 had holes the size of moon craters.  If you own another brand I bet you can cut and paste.  I bet you can send multimedia messages.  I bet you can capture voice recording.  I bet you can remotely wipe your phone if it is stolen.  (OK this last one is fairly unique).  These yawning gaps have been filled in 3.0 and without having to download any more apps.  Need meteorite strike insurance?  There’s an app for that….

That having been said, the single greatest strength of the iPhone is that is has learnt, ironically from Microsoft, that to create a successful platform you have to create a community and allow them to expand your platform by building applications.  This happens much faster than you could ever build applications yourself so the usage of your platform spreads like wildfire.

Witness Steve Jobs who, a billion application downloads later, must be wondering if he will catch up Bill Gates in the software wealth stakes before the decade is out.

In honour, I was hoping to bring you a wine that tastes of apple, but this one is pure lemon.

Do you remember the war, sonny Jim?


Wine Wipes

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Once in a while comes along an idea that is so patently brain numbingly stupid, it is brilliant.

If there were a Darwin Awards for marketing, or a Gordon Brown award for bad timing, you would be hard pushed to find an entry that could stand proudly within 10 feet of Wine Wipes.

Wipe that smile form your face - corporeal!


Fitzroy Dolls, Hotel Russell, London

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Hotel restaurants always give me a slight sinking feeling. Reminders of 1980s boil in the bag meals; they always smell of stale cooking, probably because breakfast buffets are when they get 90% of their traffic.

The Hotel Russell probably counts early risers 99% of its clientele.  It’s easier to get a table at The Ivy than a breakfast table here.  Dinner, however, was predictably quiet.  A few lonely foreign travellers and one table of two couples from Yorkshire who were asking for more gravy – gravy shortages are punishable by death north of Watford Gap.

Grand old Dame


Château de Cazeneuve Les Calcaires 2007

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Exploring the South of France is a profitable pastime right now and it is hard not to fancy it at least a little.  The art of seduction has not passed le Med by.  In fact every online wine merchant seems to have stocked up with credit crunch specials from this erstwhile unfashionable zone.

But there are uncomfortable price points too amongst the care free lovers.  For example, this Pic St Loup from the Wine Society was part of a price driven marketing drop, yet cost me a not insubstantial £12.95.

It's all over, Casanova....


Wensleydale Heifer, West Witton, North Yorkshire

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Marketing null points! The sign makes it look like a Hungry Hippo All-U-Can-Eat Sunday lunch with foam balls and cheap beer. But step inside and nothing could be further from the truth. Fine seafood, fine wine list, fine (but relaxed) service and with just enough quirkiness and kitsch to make you smile.

Cows gone fishing....for some reason


Château Ricaud 2005

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

British MPs are being forced to cut back in anticipation of being voted out at the next election.  In the meantime, they are biding time on expense accounts barely adequate for a FTSE executive board member, never mind a potential world leader.  Even fresh pilchards for the white Persian cat have been disallowed.  Whence does one plot world domination, when one can’t even afford a clean moat?

I think the solution for most bright Members is to reduce the wine Average Bottle Value (ABV).

Château Ricaud Premières Côtes de Blaye 2005 was only £7.50 from the Wine Society and, therefore, well suited to the brave new budget.

Don't wash your dirty linen in public