Tag Archives: France

Tokaji – the wine that nearly died

Tokaji is the legendary wine that nearly passed into myth. It was once so highly prized that the Czar of Russia kept a detachments of soldiers in Hungary purely to bring the latest vintage safely back to St Petersburg. But … Continue reading

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The mysteries of distillation

The image above is on the distillery door at Delord in Armagnac. It shows the working of an alambic,  a continuous still used to make the spirit. Continuous in that the wine is constantly pumped in (where it says vin) and … Continue reading

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Armagnac trip

My wife and I have just come back from a trip to Armagnac which was organised by Amanda Garnham (most of these photos are courtesy of her) from the Armagnac marketing board (BNIA). I arrived knowing next to nothing about … Continue reading

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How will Brexit affect Bordeaux

This is something I wrote for Berry Bros & Rudd: For a certain kind of wine lover, usually British, Claret is red wine. At the moment though, the wines of Bordeaux are decidedly unfashionable. Bordeaux bashing is a popular sport … Continue reading

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For God’s sake, don’t give up booze in January

This time of the year the papers are full of columnists telling you to give up drink for January or spurious articles suggesting that there is no safe amount of alcohol. My advice is to ignore all this nonsense. If you’re that worried about … Continue reading

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“an oeuf is an oeuf”

The most-repeated Jeffreys family story concerns the time my grandfather tried to explain the joke “an oeuf is an oeuf” to a waiter in France. My father squirms with embarrassment when he recalls it, yet it never stopped him indulging … Continue reading

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The Lost World of the Cider Lords

It has become a commonplace fact, beloved of pub quizzes, that an Englishman, Christopher Merret, invented Champagne. There is even an element of truth to it: Merret gave a paper to the Royal Society in 1672 outlining how to make … Continue reading

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Wine of the week: Tesco Finest Cotes Catalanes Grenache 2012

I’ve realised that my biggest weakness as a wine writer is that I’m a bit slow (that and not knowing very much about Burgundy). I’ll try a wine at a tasting, forget all about it, and then months later, think … Continue reading

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Pidgin French

When I was taught French at school, we learnt it orally for the first year. I remember how shocked I was when I saw written French for the first time. It looked nothing like it sounded. The first words the teacher … Continue reading

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Ice wine

One of the drawbacks of having a wife who doesn’t drink very much is that it often means I drink more. Brought up by thrifty parents and taught at school to always finish what was on my plate, I hate … Continue reading

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