Monthly Archives: May 2016

Bread and wine – Derby Telegraph Sat May 28th 2016

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If, when a barbecue is mentioned, your immediate thoughts are – “Oh no, burnt sausages and rain” – you probably won’t be too excited to learn that National Barbecue Week starts on Monday. To be honest, even I, as a big barbecue fan, had never heard of the week until last year when the Derby Telegraph told me about the event and asked me to pair wines with my favourite chargrilled meals for this column. Since then, things have moved on at quite a pace and my cooking partner, Dougie, and I have come up with a barbecue cookery and wine course that, with its absolute guarantee of no burnt offerings and no rain, will appeal even to hardened barbecue non-believers. Clearly, we’ve not assumed a God like control of the heavens to quell the rain but we have invested in a specially designed barbecue cabin that allows us to …


Can you help? – Derby Telegraph Sat May 21st 2016

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For near on fifty years, the building in Kirk Langley that now houses my wine shop was known as the Meynell Arms Hotel. In its heyday, the hotel was hugely popular with drinkers, diners and those tying the knot. Plenty of my customers remember the old hotel and, over the years, I’ve heard terrific tales of cock fighting, boozy hunt gatherings and wedding day shenanigans that really can’t be repeated in a family newspaper. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet the first couple to get married here and a woman who was born here after her mother went into labour unexpectedly during a blackout in the 2nd World War. I’ve also been given a bar menu from the 70s or 80s and a postcard of the hotel from around the same time and now, with the help of Derby Telegraph readers, I’d like to see if I can lay …


Sauvignon at its very best – Derby Telegraph Sat May 14th 2016

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For centuries, the Loire Valley in France was the only place to find quality Sauvignon Blanc. Then, in the 1980’s, the Kiwis came a calling. From Marlborough, in the North East corner of New Zealand’s South Island came wines that were completely different to anything that had gone before. These wines, with their unexpected flavours of passion fruit, guava, lime and asparagus, wowed the world and New Zealand was immediately catapulted to the front rank of wine producing nations and, for the first time, France had a serious Sauvignon rival. Key to New Zealand’s startling Sauvignon success was Kevin Judd. Modest Kevin was the originator and chief winemaker, for 25 years, at New Zealand’s most famous winery, Cloudy Bay, and is often described, though not by himself, as the man who put Marlborough on the world wine map. In 2009, after leaving Cloudy Bay, Kevin launched his own solo winemaking …


Weird and wonderful – Derby Telegraph Sat May 7th 2016

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Today, I’d like to celebrate the weird and the wonderful by recommending a couple of highly unusual white wines. First up, is the Ma’d Dry Furmint 2013 from the Szent Tamás winery in the Tokaji region of Hungary. Wine producers in Tokaji are world renowned for fashioning exceptional dessert wines from the Furmint grape variety but, as its name makes clear, the Ma’d Dry Furmint is a dry departure from the area’s sweet winemaking traditions. The Szent Tamás winery was founded by 2 Hungarian businessmen and the son of Hungary’s most famous and influential producer- Istevan Szepsy. The partners firmly believe that the village of Ma’d is one of the great wine producing areas of the world and they’re convinced that the village’s volcanic vineyards are extremely well suited to the production of top quality dry white wines. Having sampled their superb wares, I can only agree. Currently, the winery …

APR 30

Vegetarian wines – Derby Telegraph Sat April 30th 2016

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On average, I’m probably asked about wines that are suitable for vegetarians about two or three times a year. However, for some reason, in the last couple of months, interest in vegetarian friendly wines has increased dramatically and I’ve been asked to point out our veggie bottles on at least fifteen occasions. At this point, I imagine that many of you are scratching your heads and wondering, “How can wine, a product that’s comprised entirely of fermented grape juice, be anything other than vegetarian friendly?” Well, the answer lies not in the actual makeup of the wine but in the way it’s produced. At the end of the winemaking process, most winemakers choose to clarify and stabilise their wines before they are bottled by using a practice known as fining. There are good reasons for doing this: fining a wine gives a clearer appearance to the wine and it also …