Recently by Richard Saxton
Well, it's been a day of contrasts so far.... just as I was looking into these wine samples from Lidl an invite to the inaugural Fortnum & Mason food and drink awards dropped through the letter box.
When I was asked to take part in the Chablis Blogger Challenge 2013 I was naturally keen to get involved. What I hadn't expected though was to be asked to match the two wines (both Chablis obviously....) with takeaway food. Chablis? With a takeaway? Really? It somehow felt disrespectful. Shouldn't we be treating the wines to something a bit classier?! Lucky I hadn't already stocked up on smoked salmon and cod roe...
My trip to Napa last year was the definite wine highlight of 2012. Whilst we spent plenty of time checking out some of the more boutique producers I really couldn't help wanting to pop in to some of the more touristy and "obvious" spots. Having read George Taber's book on the judgement of Paris years ago a visit to Chateau Montelena was always on the cards. Since it was already a bit of an obvious thing to so we also hired a Mustang for the journey. When in California.....
Aah, the minefield that is French wines for under £8... A path that can yield incredible rewards or absolute abject disappointment (and a quick skip over to the Australian wine shelves...).
I got to meet Robin Langton whilst in Napa with some of the guys from Naked Wines helping them to decide on the wines they were going to bring into the UK from California. He formerly worked at the esteemed Patz and Hall and he's now heading up the Naked assault on the Californian wine scene as consultant winemaker. Obviously he wants to keep his eye in though so he's produced his own line for Naked under the Bear & Crown label.
I'm not normally one to push events, but wine tasting dinners with top vineyards are rare in Brum, so it's important to point these out when they do take place!
I've confessed on this blog previously that I've unwittingly become something of a wine snob. I never wanted to, and I am taking steps to address this. One of the main symptoms has been an awareness of certain wines coupled with an absolute reluctance to ever sample them, believing them to be beneath me. The wines of Les Jamelles have been one of the victims of this
Local entrepreneur Phil Innes is about to open Loki Wines in Great Western Arcade. Having set up Slosh Box, an online retailer, Phil has now decided to go for a more direct approach by setting up Birmingham's first specialist wine tasting venue.
I'll paint you a word picture; it was the eve of the wife's 30th birthday. I was suffering the pre-giving of gifts nervousness. Had I got her good enough presents? Forget "good" even; had I got her enough presents full stop?
There was of course one aspect of the evening that I was in full control of. The wine choice. Knowing the I had a bottle of this safely stowed away in my wine cooler provided plenty of comfort.
I'm a bit on the fence in general about Valentines' Day. I don't like feeling obliged to go out for a ludicrously overpriced meal at a table just 4 inches away from the next table with a host of other couples, most of whom aren't speaking to each other and are only out due to the sheer obligation of it all. I'd much rather get some nice food in and spend some of the money you've saved on a nice bottle of wine. With the wife of course.... I probably should have added that sooner. So, with that in mind I've set out some ideas below: