Château de Francs 2005

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Beans on toast.  One of life’s staple meals.  So simple, so healthy, so cheap, so erm, studenty?  Of course there are only two types of baked bean, Heinz and shite.  And there are only two types of toast, the type that sets my smoke alarm off, and the type that is undercooked and flabby.  The absolute secret to beans on is to make sure the toast is as crispy as possible before you soggify it with the beans.  Also helps if you cook the beans over a low heat for a decent amount of time to reduce the sauce.

So sitting in the flat to the tuneful, albeit duotonous, harmonies of Manchester Fire Brigade’s finest, my mind inevitably wanders.  My challenge over the last couple of years has been to find the perfect wine match for this honourable meal, and I think I may have just succeeded in Spades.

Franc's bean's on....for some reason


Brace of Books on Burgundy & Bordeaux

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I’ve just come back from the Amazon.  I couldn’t resist the recommendation they emailed me for a couple of reasonably up to date books on my favourite subject.  Both reference works of some weight, metaphysically as well as in the sense of excess baggage.

So if, like me, you fly on a Ryanair budget (and believe me, I wish I didn’t have to), then you will have to pay a £20 supplement if you want to take them on holiday with any more than your swimming trunks and sun cream.

Brace of books


Château Pelan Bellevue 2005

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Are you a wine magpie?  I can’t resist a tempting offer and, bearing in mind the stellar reputation of 2005 Bordeaux, a Wine Society mixed case from the Côtes was a no-brainer.  My theory that a rising tide lifts all boats (i.e. in a good year even crap winemakers are going to have to work hard to produce awful wine) leads me to try almost any CHEAP 2005.

Nice view of some cyclists?  Oh that would be a peloton!


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


La Réserve de Quasimodo, Ile de la Cité, Paris

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

La Réserve de Quasimodo is self subtitled: Le plus vieux bistrot en l’ile de la cité.  Seven centuries of history.  Did Asterix the Gaul possibly eat here?

Got a hunch this might be a good place


Calon Ségur 2002 encore une fois

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Quand j’ai écrit du Prince des vins (Marquis de Ségur) et ce vin ci, en Octobre 2007, je n’ai pas su qu’il y avait encore une bouteille dans mon moissonneuse-batteuse.  Je viens de le déguster.

cal...on le balcon for some reason


Château Martinat 2005 Côtes de Bourg

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

I’ve said in the past that if a rising tide floats all boats, then in good years like 2005, it must be worth rowing across to Analogy Island in one of the lesser bateaux of the Bordelais flotilla.

So I popped a few quid in the post to the Wine Society for a case of Côtes de Bordeaux 2005 and they sent me, amongst other bottles, some Château Martinat Côtes de Bourg.

Martin at the Chat owwww

It justified my argument.  There is some real shite sent down La Gironde in the name of fine claret but I think the enormous majority of wines are born of genuine fathers (and mothers….) who really care.

This is certainly the case with Martinat.  Whilst I do not know the winemaker (Stéphane Donze, since you ask), you only have to sip the wine to taste the parental devotion.

This kid is spicy, fruity, intelligent and rich – almost destined to grow up to be Stephen Fry’s replacement on QI.  The taste is peppery, plummy and with firmish tannins I found it a nice match for spicy pizza.

Mine was £9.95 from the Wine Society but unsurprisingly now sold out.  Shame because it is one of the best ten quid bottles I’ve tasted in a long while.

Remember Château Soutard 2005

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Remembrance Sunday (and Tuesday) saw me observing a total of five minutes of silence – that’s a miracle I hear you cry!  The first two at the anointed hour of 11a.m. Sunday, somewhat bizarrely, in a queue at our local Tesco store, the third at the Man City vs Spurs game, and the fourth and fifth driving across the Pennines on Tuesday morning listening to the Ken Bruce Show.

It’s amazing how time flies.  I remember about 1976 when I first commemorated the war dead.  I never imagined I would still be here 32 years later.

Château Soutard has a recommended drink by date of 2040.  I am certainly not going to wait and see if I live another 32 years to try the first bottle of the case I bought en-primeur from somewhere at about £21 per bottle.  St Emilion wines being mostly Merlot (in this case 70%) compared to the rougher, and tougher when young, Cabernet Sauvignon, are generally more approachable in youth so I was determined not to die before I sampled the Soutard.

Soutably attired


Château Durfort-Vivens 2003

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Château Durfort-Vivens Margaux 2003, a deuxième cru from Lucien Lurton who also owns another 2nd growth Margaux property, Château Brane-Cantenac,  82.3784% Cabernet Sauvignon with 9.632% Cabernet Franc and the remainder Merlot.  20 months in oak.

If you want to read stuff like this go somewhere serious like  If facts bore you and you prefer the experience of wine, then why not join me having fun as I learn.


Morgan M mission much more than a mere mouthful

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Multi-talented Morgan Meunier arrived at our table after the meal, presumably looking for a round of applause for his culinary artistry.  “Was everything OK?” he wondered.  Super.  “Was there anything specific we particularly liked?”.  The seabass with crayfish and tarragon ravioli and lobster velouté was my favourite, but why were all his dishes so bloody complicated?