Archive for January, 2010

Rules, Covent Garden

Friday, January 29th, 2010

It was like stepping into a Victorian hunting odyssey.  I almost expected a golden maned Aslan to stalk majestically through the lobby.  Or the wardrobe door to open to reveal Mr Tumnus the fawn hanging butchered, ageing for 28 days, or whatever fawn meat hangs for.

Lobby rules OK?


WART Campaign goes Facebook

Monday, January 25th, 2010

My Wine At Right Temperature Campaign now has a Facebook Group.  If you are sick of frostbite on your lips from drinking a restaurant Riesling, or you have ever burnt your tongue on a Pinot Noir served at 25 degrees, feel free to come and join the party, erm, I mean petition.

If the link fails to get you there, simply search for Wine At Right Temperature in Facebook Groups.

The Society’s Corbières 2007

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Being a wine snob, I normally hate own brands.  Especially supermarket brands, even though they may well be the most reliable.  Isn’t it more rewarding to seek out a tiny independent producer in the Andes that can only be accessed by chamois wearing crampons?  A winemaker whose idea of export is chucking a couple of bottles to the next village idiot, 0.2 kilometres of un-navigable Amazon jungle away?

But I am not so sure if there is such a big difference between a carefully selected Sainsbury claret sourced from reputable Médoc vineyards, and a large scale “independent” brand such as Cono Sur, for example.

High Society, low country

One brand that I occasionally (but not always) trust is The Wine Society.  This Corbières is not rough and ready like the country wine I expected, but smooth and rich with strawberry flavours and spice.

Incredible value at £6.95.  Sometimes one has to ignore the label and just get drinking.

Roast, Borough Market (not meerkat)

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Sunday Roast.  Mmmmmmm.  A weekend in London and it’s been a while since the last legendary Wino Sunday lunch.  Time to make repairs but in a relaxed Sunday style.  A quick flight at my favourite London wine bar.  The Jubilee Line to London Bridge.  A soupçon of jazz.

Spit roast....for some reason


Piazza by Anthony, Leeds Corn Exchange

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Anthony Flinn is a bit of a food legend in Leeds.  His impressive CV includes a two year stint under Ferran Adrià at the world’s “best” restaurant, El Bulli.  Flinn’s own flagship restaurant, Anthony’s, is perpetually tipped for a Michelin star.  His latest project, Piazza, opened in late 2008, is situated in one of the most impressive, historically beautiful buildings in the North of England – Leeds Corn Exchange.  Anthony’s footprint includes an impressive 125 seater brasserie, a patisserie, bakery, chocolatier and delicatessen.  Wine, however, is another science.

Piazza pavement

My opening exchange with the waitress:  Gevrey Chambertin Domaine Heresztyn 2005 please – what temperature would you serve that?  “About two above room”. Ouch, no WART awards here.  Please can I have an ice bucket?  “Yes sir, no problem.”  Things are starting to improve already.  After all, the wine list looks well thought out, and superbly priced, and the menu looks bistro chic.


Day 12 in the Big Detox House

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I am bored of talking about water, never mind drinking it.  Still or sparkling?  Bottle or tap?  Caledonian Spring or Corporation Pop?  Yawn.

In any case my detox has been a complete waste of time in many respects.  After 12 days of punishing exercise, no alcohol and, ahem, minimal caffeine (see below) I have finally lost a solitary, lonesome pound from my chunky Christmas frame.

So to celebrate I have now stopped banging on about detox and focussed energies on writing up some old notes.

Day 10 in the Big Detox House

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

It’s a bit like Audrey II, the man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors.  My liver is taunting me to feed it some alcohol.  But whilst resisting the siren songs of Bacchus is the easy bit of my new year detox, my lily-livered response to caffeine addiction has been unmitigated capitulation.  Early foreplay with Earl Grey has now escalated to full frontal intercourse with Ceylon Orange Pekoe, through Queen Anne and even onto (gasp) sturdy robust Assam, the foundation of builders’ tea, in which well brewed cups, a teaspoon can stand as erect and proud as a pleasure dome on the road to Xanadu.  Rogering my central nervous system senseless.  Mmmmm feels good.

So whilst I have no contemporary wine experiences to write about, perhaps I ought to catch up with some old notes from 2009.  Yes, I’ll do that right now.  Oh hang on, I have to exercise first.

F’ing Day 7 in the Big Detox House

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Day seven of my lamentable detox effort.  No alcohol has cursed my veins, but the no-caffeine promise has been all too frequently punctured by warm, friendly, lovable mugs of Earl Grey.

Having been snowed in most of the week, tonight I am waiting for the F Word final on Channel 4.  It’s a shame that Manchester’s Sweet Mandarin was eliminated in the semi.  Further shame that Evuna didn’t make it through the heats, if only for its super wine list.  Good luck to The Pheasant - looks favourite to win.

Appearing on the F Word, I hear, are fellow bloggers Oliver Thring and Helen Graves, and Douglas Blyde.  All good reads.  Will they be dancing a Gay Gordon?