Wine of the week

31 Dover

I wrote recently about a wine that seemed completely underpriced. Below is an excerpt from my latest Lady column with some more wines from the same people. From my admittedly limited tasting of their range, I’d say they offer much better quality and value than Laithwaite’s. They’re almost up there with the mighty Wine Society.

We’re on one of my periodic economy drives as we’re saving so that my daughter can go to the nursery school of her dreams. It means drinking cheaper wine. I’m coping manfully but my wife is not happy. So it was a relief to be sent some samples from new(ish) mail order merchant, 31 Dover. It was partly the name that sounds like a Mayfair art gallery, and partly the quality of the wines, but I assumed that they were all out of our price range. Yet when I looked up the prices online I was amazed. Almost everything we tried was a good third less than I thought it would be. It looks as if we are going to be able to drink well and afford an education for our daughter:

Château Grand Tayac, Margaux 2007, £13.99
You simply don’t find mature Margaux for under £20 a bottle. I’m baffled it’s so cheap. It’s classic light vintage claret with green peppers, herbs, leather and tobacco.

Sara & Sara Friulano 2010, £9.49
A very unusual wine: it smells of honeysuckle and it has the most amazing texture. It’s oily but with a great tang to it and a long nutty finish. It won’t be for everyone but I think it’s rather special.

Damien & Romain Bouchard Chablis Broc de Biques 2012, £14.49
Now for one that I think everyone will like. It’s classic Chablis but in a riper style than you might be used to, with some very discrete oak.

Read the full column here.

Wine articles

Mama weer all crazee now

This is something I wrote for the Spectator on wackiness.

At Glastonbury in 2000 I noticed two young men both wearing enormous Y-fronts and carrying an even bigger pair with the word ‘pants’ written on it. They both looked miserable as you would if you’d come up with the idea while drunk and then found yourself stuck like that for the duration of the festival. Some of the more thuggish elements jeered and threw beer cans.

Seven years later, at another festival I attended, they wouldn’t have attracted a second glance, because dressing up had become ubiquitous. This year, seven years on from that, far from being weird, wearing Y-fronts superhero-style over your trousers is all the rage — not just at festivals but out and about in normal life. It’s the latest charity fund-raising craze, and come Christmas you’ll be a party pooper if your pants aren’t on display.

Of course, the odd eccentric has always done wacky things for charity: bathed in baked beans or run a marathon in a gorilla suit. The difference with Movember, the ice bucket challenge or the new fashion for Superman Pants is that the wackiness is communal, almost compulsory. It’s become the default setting for the British at play.

Read on here

Film and TV Wine articles

Is this the worst name for a wine ever?

Tesco used to do a wine called ‘Great with Friends.’ An innocuous name until it was placed next to other wines called ‘Great with pasta’ or ‘Great with fish.’ Then it took on a Hannibal Lecter quality.  I was reminded of this when I came across a wine called ‘Willing Participant’ at a recent tasting put on by Tesco, who seem to be the home of wines with names that sounds a bit sinister.

Willing Participant‘ is a chardonnay from the Yarra Valley. . .  actually it doesn’t really matter where it’s from, why have they called it ‘willing participant’? Are they saying this wine should only be drunk with people who have agreed to have a drink with you? Enjoy this wine but remember, don’t coerce anyone into drinking it, and definitely don’t drug them, strangle them and then do peculiar things to the corpse. And if you’re kidnapping journalists in the Middle East, you might want to try something from the Finest range instead.

It’s a shame they’ve lumbered it with a dodgy name because it’s actually quite a nice wine. They do a red too. Next time you’re having a mutually consensual drink with a friend or even a potential lover, you should try it. If they’re initially reluctant, they might always change their mind after a couple of glasses and becoming a willing participant. Sorry, I’ll stop now.

Image from The Silence of the Lambs.

 I hope readers will note hyperbolic headline. I’m trying to be modern. See previous post

Wine articles Wine of the week

You think this lion is going to eat the zebra but what happens next will blow your mind

I’ve been trying to get up-to-date, to learn a bit about the future rather than burying my head in the sand and hoping that it’ll go back to 2002. I’ve stopped saying SOE (Special Forces Executive) when I mean SEO (search engine optimisation – as if you didn’t know.) I’m going to start using words such as ‘platform’, ‘package’ and ‘content.’ It’s time to make myself employable. I mean even more employable (just in case potential employers are reading.)

Anway, this week’s post has nothing to do with lions, I’m just trying out new eye-catching headlines which will bring people to my site and then. . . . well I don’t know what. Anyway!

I’m really posting with the prosaic news that I’ve just tried a wine that is not only excellent but also cheap. It’s my wine of the week. It’s been about a year since the last wine of the week so that really makes it my wine of the year. It’s from a company called 31 Dover who sound like the sort of art gallery that caters to oligarchs and hedge fund types. Oddly for a company with such a name, their wines aren’t expensive.

It’s called Mas d’Amile Vieux Carignan 2010. It’s from a little village in the Languedoc called Montpeyroux. My wife was once sick very near here whilst pregnant and being driven on windy roads in a Jag by a man with strong body odour. Not me I hasten to add. Don’t let that put you off. This wine is quite tannic and spicy but with great freshness. Despite being quite old, it still has masses of fruit and hasn’t gone at all funky. When I tried it with some pork chops on holiday recently, I’d have guessed it was at least £14. I’d gladly pay £14 but it’s actually £8 or even less if you buy a case.

That’s enough content for now. Next time I might even produce a ‘vine’ of me drinking the stuff. A ‘vine’ is a very short video clip but of course you knew that. Oh and apologies to those who clicked on the link thinking they were going to see a picture of a lion being beaten up by a zebra or some such surprising footage. Those links are always disappointing though, aren’t they? Not like my wine of the week. You won’t be disappointed by that.