Archive for September, 2013

Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot, 2009

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Beef friendly, delicious, easy drinking, and easy on the wallet. Not something you see every day on the carte des vins of a top end London Steakhouse. But I found Chateau (sic) Ste (sic) Michelle (sic) at Goodman‘s Mayfair branch. Served by the glass at one point, it disappeared and then they told me that had trouble sourcing enough to keep it on the list.

I am not really surprised. It must have been flying out of the Eurocave faster than a Batmobile powered by used rape seed oil.

Here’s the secret. I’ve found a plentiful supply and at a mad price of only around 10 quid a bottle (which, if I remember rightly, is less than Goodman used to charge for a glass). If you want to stock up, simply visit Bacchus Liquors. Not much use to Londoners I admit, but if, like me, you are stationed in South Beach for a while, a must-visit-venue. Ch. Ste Michelle is about $16 from this excellent and well stacked store at 1445 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139.  Massive collection of worldwide wines right on the premise, and literally just round the corner from my temporary home.

We’ll Dink a Dink a Dink to Lily the Pink

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

There are pills to cure anything, right? Even a hangover.

Remember RU21 – the pill of choice for ‘Russian secret agents’ whose main role in life is to sleep with their victim (in the biblical sense), lull them into a false sense of security, and then outsmart them in the morning by planting a tarantula in their sock and sneaking out through the toilet window? Well, there’s a new kid on the block. Dink. I was sent some to try out.

Dink when you drink...for some reason for which I have forgotten

The mission: get really pissed at a charity dinner in Newcastle, go to bed at 2am. Take a three hour train journey to London the next day, on which prepare a board pack and write important notes to several customers. Have several conference calls, a 16:30 meeting with an industry analyst, a beer with a colleague and get a two hour train journey home on which tidy up the day’s emails and write this article. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, here I am, on the train, writing. I’ve nailed my day. I am still awake. OK,  not doing star jumps or writing a thesis on Smithsonian economics. But I have survived.

RU21 is good, but it’s difficult to source (in the UK at least). A heavy night will see you consume up to 10 tablets, so you better put your discreet trousers on or people will think you are doing Es. Dink does the same job and, like RU21, weighs in at about £3 per hangover. It is more discreet, though.

If you’ve got a heavy night entertaining customers and you need to outsmart them in the morning, take three yellow tabs before you imbibe. Take three black ones at the end of the night. Get through your next day much better than you would have. Be aware that chickens come home to roost. You will need plenty of sleep on night two.

Aldi “Exquisite” Sud de France, 2011

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre. Classic French grapes. And an oenological warning of an eye-watering punch in the greenback gonads, delivered by a fancy named winemaker, and quadrupled after the addition of a central London restaurant markup using the name of some international chef.

So, what chance value? Supermarkets, perhaps?

I’ve had warm experiences with Tesco and Asda and certain wines of theirs that seemed to open their legs way wider than their pecuniary groin muscles would permit. But Tesco and Asda are veritably upmarket compared to German imposters like Aldi. Surely no hopers?

Well, this one tastes tannic, rich, spicy and fruity like a Southern Rhone. Stewed apple and black currant. Tastes slightly green – I doubt it is full of stalks but you know what I mean. You can’t really hand harvest grapes and sell a wine for £5.99, albeit on a “summer special”. So if you want to drink Hermitage La Chapelle on your wedding anniversary, good luck to your wallet. If you want something cheap and cheerful for a Monday evening meal, Aldi is one of the growing number of UK supermarkets who can offer your bank manager redemption.

Drink cool. It gets a bit jammy once it’s above 20°C. But do drink it.