Friday, January 28, 2011

Champagne and Cinnamon Toast Crunch is not my cup of tea

Wine writers wring hands over the 'pairing with food' issue; there are complex pairing charts riddled with warnings: 'Here be dragons'. Wacky wine blogger Gary Vaynerchuck caused a hoo-ha by pairing wine with breakfast cereal on his internet show (unless you're a wine-loving infant, his advice is of no utility). A Japanese tea lady gave me tips: "Few pairings are wrong,” she said. “If in doubt, apply the inverse effort principle. For food with complex flavours, choose a tea with a simpler profile. And vice-versa.” Very yin-yang. You can modify a wine (or tea) by changing its temperature, too. Even a Merlot can be tricked into going with spicy Indian food.

Full article first published in The Connexion (February 2011).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wine gadgets 'licenced to overkill'

JANUARY is a time for offloading unwanted Christmas gifts on eBay. Among them should be certain wine accessories. Wine paraphernalia manufacturers assume Christmas' bright lights turn ordinary people into gadget fetishists, offering us flappy-paddle corkscrews, electric suction pumps, argon gas preserving canisters and combination lock wine stoppers. Who put James Bond's master of invention, 'Q', in charge of wine gadgets? Flappy-paddle corkscrews take three hands to operate and the self-congratulation that comes with using one is diminished by the silly feeling you've used a folding helicopter to cross the street. Very Plenty O'Toole.

Full article first published in The Connexion (January 2011).

Photograph of Plenty O'Toole by Nye Bradley.