Archive for October, 2009

EWBC 2009

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

I am in Lisbon for the European Wine Bloggers Conference and there are a few missing faces from last year which is a shame.  The Italians are notable absentees, for example.  However, the event is at least twice the size of last year’s and superbly well organised by Ryan and Gabi Opaz and Robert McIntosh.

Another amazing shirt from Mr McIntosh

If you are sad enough to want live updates you can follow me on Twitter at @tiptoptaps.

If you are even sadder and want to see everyone at the conference tweeting on exactly the same event every other second, follow the hashtag #EWBC.

Rouquette sur Mer 2007 La Clape

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Sounding a tad venereal, La Clape came to me via a “South by South West” mixed case from the Wine Society.  Like all retailers who think we are firmly in a W shaped recession (as I do), the Wine Society is looking for wines at the cheaper end of the spectrum on the grounds that people are much more likely to drink cheaper than drink less.

Languedoc Roulette? Nope - sure bet...for some reason


Bangkok House, Restaurant Row, NYC

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

An open top “Tommy the tourist” bus in New York is indisputably the best place to learn about New York culture.  Well, if you believe the tour guides (and assuming that you tip them enough).  I learnt that if you want to eat cheaply in NYC there are two options:  McDonalds, or Restaurant Row on W46th St between 8th and 9th.

I tried the cock, but where was the bang???

Bangkok House is not McDonalds, but it certainly isn’t expensive either.


Wine envy living on…

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

I was pretty chipper about my Combine Harvester, installed in 2008 at Bathgate Towers.  It has kept my finer bottles in tip top condition and is a super talking point when anyone remotely interested in wine visits.

But I am a mere amateur according to a book just published in the US.  Living with Wine, by Samantha Nestor, is actually better read in pictures (impressively furnished by Andrew French).

Lucky bastards - wine cellars of the rich and famous

From swish New York bachelor pads to decadent Napa Valley wine clubs I can only drool at the fantastic cellars containing fantastic wines – many not even American!  The intersection of architecture, interior design and fine wine is surely one of the greatest causes of wine envy in the oenological world?

Just one thing – can we have a repeat of this book but focussed on UK cellars?

Living with Wine is published by Clarkson Potter ($75), a division of Random House and whilst my copy came from the US, I understand it will be available in the UK soon.

Gunpowder, treason and Chablis

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

I enjoy a slurp of Chablis so I was delighted to be invited to the tasting below.  However, the date clashes with a little plot I am working on with Guido.  Big Bang theory – that sort of thing.

The other happening on this historic date is a “trade only” event but I’m sure you can blag your way in by wearing an Oz Clark face mask.

Gunpowder, treason and Chablis

Freixenet Great Night spIN

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

I had to smile at yet another special offer using the recession friendly “staying in is the new going out” mantra.  However, when I logged on to enter my Freixenet code on the top of my bottle, I discovered it is merely a way of capturing personal data for marketing spam.

The offers are the same, or barely more than the companies offer to anyone who subscribes from the web.

So save the trouble, the time, and the spam.  By all means use emusic, LOVEFiLM, or Vie at Home, and you should definitely stay in one night and try a bottle of Freixenet Cava – it’s pretty good.  Just do all the above independently.

Château de Lascaux 2006

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

After a Spring 2009 visit to an architectural gem of the highest order, and possibly the most erotique et fantastique et en meme-temps grotesque bâtiment du 20eme siècle, la Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, I dropped down the hill to the arty farty and over-rated Bohemian 18e arondissement.

Arty farty wine for Montmartre

Paris is a loveable city, and one of my favourites,  although a bit up itself.  All the historical République monuments are interesting and important, but one senses that the French are clinging to an identity that expired with the proof that all men could be created equal under a monarchy.


Les Fiefs de Lagrange 2000

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Occasionally I like to take a break from Progressive House and listen to a couple of real “Old Skool” albums.  Tonight I sampled Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After”, Steve Winwood’s “Back in the High Life” and David Bowie’s experimental and innovative (at the time) “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”.  Top stuff, and could show those young whippersnapping beat stealers a thing or two.

The barbecue is my fiefdom, my lairds and lieges

Not everything old is implicitly good though.  Most old wine goes off sooner or later, so drink it before it does!


Villa Calcinaia 2006

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Have you ever placed a bet you can’t lose?  Cast iron guaranteed?

Just prior to the start of the season I wagered the considerable sum of £10 with fellow Man City fan, Jamie Goode.

Calcinaia, and a bog brush....for some reason