Archive for November, 2011

Why journos SHOULD accept freebies

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

There has been much chatter, and Twitter, about the payment and potential corruption of critical journalism recently. George Monbiot on 29 Sept 2011, performed an ethical striptease that has shaken the journo tree to its roots, and I can assure you he did not leave his hat on. Hacks’ public reputations as bad as derivatives traders, or even MPs?

Tim Atkin and Jamie Goode have led reasoned arguments on behalf of wine writers, whilst Jim Budd is ethically fuming, if not yet fully unclothed.

I don’t consider myself a journalist since my bills are paid courtesy of a “day” job in software, but I do post my views on a public website and pass comment on wine, food and the like. So I thought I better put my size tens into the debate and share my thoughts.


Moulin à Vent, La Salomine, Joseph Burrier, 2009

Monday, November 21st, 2011

I hear that 2010 Beaujolais is even better than 2009, and I thought that was the best I have ever tasted. So I have to make a little room in my Combine Harvester by clearing out a predecessor.

This Moulin à Vent, or to give it full title, Joseph Burrier, La Salomine, Château de Beauregard, Moulin à Vent, 2009, cost £14.95 from The Wine Society and is worth every penny. Blackberries, tart blackberries and sweet blackberries. Potent, yet refined and combining the youth and vigour of the Gamay grape with the middle aged maturity of nearby Burgundy.

Despite the 2010 hype, if you can still get hold of 2009 Bojo, I would stock a few away. I think most will keep improving for a couple more years yet. Meanwhile I am going to cover both bases and stock a case of each.

Rip-off wine markups? There’s an app for that.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Andy Hayler is living proof that being a software entrepreneur can actually season globe-trotting gastronautismological ambitions. And he has finally managed to combine both careers, commercially, with the launch of Wine Search, an iPhone app that checks the price of erm…wine.

Having sold only 20,000 apps at £1.49 each, probably amounting to around a month’s wages in his heyday, I challenged Andy that he had not yet even covered the development costs. He replied that the dev costs were “actually not that high” and reported the venture as profitable.  Fair enough, worth a try then.


Berardo Chianti Classico Riserva, Castello di Bossi 2007

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Spending a weekend in Brescia at the European Wine Bloggers Conference, seemed a pretty good way to try to fill in some of the blind spots in my wine knowledge, namely, pretty much all Italian wine.

But due to “real” work commitments I was unable to attend any of the post conference trips, the most appealing of which was Chianti.

I can stare longingly at a wine map, kindly donated by Steve De Long. I can laugh wryly at the treatment afforded to Jim Budd (a man so straight-talking his words are delivered on EU approved cucumbers) in his communications with a renowned Chianti producer. But right now, the closest I can get to saying I was there is by drinking a bottle that I procured from Sunday Times Wine Club (Laithwaites), en primeur, for about £16.

Like many indicters, I might allege that Italian red wine is all too often over-tannic for my tastes and this one plays up to my prejudices. However, on the plus side, there are punnets of blackcurrants, baskets of cherries and bright acidity that lasts in the mouth like a 24h menthol mouthwash (in a good way!).

This wine is young, of course. But I think relations between Baron Ricasoli and J.Budd Esq. will have thawed long before this wine’s tannins are soft enough for me to really enjoy it.

If you are into this type of wine, surely it would be magnificent with a hunk of rare red meat and a big bowl of salty French fries.

Cervecería Catalana, Barcelona

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Sometimes a place is so impossibly, aspirationally, unattainably trendy that it is patronised by as many local dignitaries as international jetsetters, playboys and porn stars, and so in vogue that it sustains a shoe shine guy outside. Cervecería Catalana is such a place, that had been recommended by a quite well renowned chef from Barcelona (no, not that one). There was an hour and a half wait on the evening I went. So we decamped and came back for lunch the next day when the clientèle were nowhere near as cool, but at least we could bag a table.