Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Wine Diary

WHY ARE the French (and Brits) so clueless about wine? Why do they learn almost nothing about wine from what they drink? What does price really tell you about a wine? And what does a Rumpole mystery reveal about the actual cost of wine? How can you spot a decent restaurant wine list? And choose wisely from a bad one? What can a tea lady teach you about wine and food pairings? Why are medals an unreliable guide to wine quality? Can a biodynamic wine have a bad "leaf day"? Are all wine gadgets just Plenty O'Toole? What kind of wine fault is man boobs? What would Reliant Robin engineers conclude about screw-caps? Or the Gamma Hydra IV colonists (from Star Trek's 'The Deadly Years') about industrially manipulated wine? Why is it absolute mangos to use Brad Pitt as a tasting note? And why will your favourite wines not be coming soon from China's Ningxia province? 

                                                       
I answered these questions in my column at The Connexion, then I quit. The editor did ask me to stay, but I'd discussed wine - the making, selling, consuming, and talking about - in enough detail to interest anyone with a passion for wine. One reader (a wine merchant) said "you should replace that boring woman who writes for The Saturday Telegraph." These columns are now published in one slim volume: The Wine Diary. I am also the author of Discovering Wine Country: South of France and The Wines of Roussillon.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Plenty O'Toole


THE PHOTOGRAPH 'Plenty O'Toole' by Nigel Bradley (Decanter, Wine Spectator) was taken to accompany a column in The Connexion about folding helicopters, flappy-padle cork screws, and James Bond. I chose the image for the cover of The Wine Diary because it's also a visual metaphor for determination in the face of pretentiousness, an important trait for a wine critic. It is not by accident that Plenty is confronted by a bottle from Château d'Arse ... a name that evokes the place where many wine writers have their heads.