Monthly Archives: April 2016

A wine gag and Waterkloof Estate – Derby Telegraph Sat April 23rd 2016

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Every industry has its in jokes and the wine trade has more than most. One enduring favourite, that’s heard, without fail, whenever three or more wine people are gathered together at a trade tasting, goes like this, “How do you make a small fortune in wine? …….. Start with a big one!” As soon as the punch line is delivered, everyone present, will obligingly laugh along, even though they’ll all have heard the gag a million times before. Why? Well, it’s never been easy making money selling wine and back in the old days it was considered almost ungentlemanly to try. Obviously, in the 21st century the trade is much more commercially focussed than it was in the past but humour that’s rich in the old “for the love of wine” spirit is still much appreciated. Of course, there are those who’ve made a fortune selling wine and one such …


Wines for burgers – Derby Telegraph Sat April 16th 2016

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Last weekend, I read, here in the ‘Weekend’, a report by the ‘Secret Spy’ that resulted in me reaching for pen and paper. The subject of the ‘Spy’s’ restaurant review was a burger bar and once I’d started to think about big juicy burgers, I just couldn’t stop. So, I decided to put my temporary obsession to a productive use and began, as spontaneously as I could, to quickly jot down the wines I enjoy drinking the most when I’m chomping on a quarter pounder. Here, as I wrote it, is the list:- Primitivo, Garnacha, Aglianico, Monastrell, Malbec, Nero d’Avola, Nebbiolo As it happens, I wrote down a list of grape varieties but maybe, on another day, I’d have thought of wines by country or region. Anyway, it’s not so much how I listed them that’s important but the fact that all the wines I picked have a juicy robustness …


From Cot of Cahors to Malbec of Mendoza – Derby Telegraph Sat April 9th 2016

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Next Sunday (April 17th), red wine drinkers across the globe will be raising their glasses to celebrate World Malbec Day. However, it’s highly unlikely the M word will be much mentioned in the cafes, bars and restaurants of the small town of Cahors in south west France. There, the grape has long been known as Cot and it’s there that the grape’s long, slow journey to world prominence begins. Clearly, it’s now time to tell the tale of how little known Cot of Cahors became the all-conquering Malbec of Mendoza, but before I do, I’d like to talk about Jean Luc Burc and his daughters, Anne and Emmanuelle. The Burcs – no sniggering please – have owned land in Cahors since 1456 and Anne and Emmanuelle are the 6th generation of the family to produce superlative wines. The wine I recommend you try from Jean Luc and his daughters is …


Palette, pallet, palette and palate – Derby Telegraph Sat April 2nd 2016

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The other day, I was working on social media or, as my wife would put it, “Wasting time on Twitter”, when I came across an exasperated, but humorous, tweet from a wine writer I’ve recently started to follow. “John Wayne needs a Pallete cleanser, warehouses a pallet cleanser, artists a palette cleanser, wine folk a PALATE cleanser – how many times?” I don’t know the answer to the writer’s rhetorical question but I’m hoping his pithy tweet will lead to a reduction in the number of palate misspellings that we (wine merchants) receive, on an all too regular basis, from people in the trade who should know better. Anyway, now I’ve let off a bit of steam about those who fail to press spell check, I’d like to talk about pallets, palettes and palates but, before I do, I should probably explain, for the benefit of any readers under 45, …