After the Flood

POSTED ON 07/08/2015

Thanks to an unfortunate flood in my cellar caused by water seeping in from a neighbouring property, the damage to the labels and wooden cases of the 2005 clarets I bought en primeur meant that they would be reduced by some 25% in value if I were to sell them. I received unofficial advice to that effect from no less an authority than Bonhams, the auctioneers.

You’re So Money Supermarket

POSTED ON 01/06/2015

If it’s Monday, it must be Marks & Sparks, if it’s Tuesday it must be Tesco….Yes, this year’s crop of supermarket and high street press tastings seemed even more bunched together than usual. As night followed day, so Asda followed Aldi and Marks followed Morrisons as their revolving doors welcomed the wine press before spitting us, dazed and confused, back onto the street. On the plus side, this lack of consideration for the wine writer’s schedule, teeth and gums, did at least offer a snapshot of the new Spring / Summer showcases.

Sake from the Frozen North - Day 5, Bay Watch, Oyster Fest, Farewell to Tohoku

POSTED ON 01/04/2015

Oh lord, could this really be our last day already? I needed another week of this and I don’t think I was alone. After waking to a spectacular sunrise over the ocean and a traditional Japanese breakfast, an onsen spa dip put me in the mood for a gentle cruise flitting through endless small islands and oyster farms in the gentle waters of Matsushima Bay.

Onsen overlooking Matsushima BayOnsen overlooking Matsushima Bay
Catch of the day on its way...Catch of the day on its way...

Sake from the Frozen North - Day 4, Urakasumi, Shiogama Fish Market and the Shinto shrine

POSTED ON 31/03/2015

Yamagata ShinbunYamagata Shinbun

Yesterday’s rice washing had been great fun, if not for the brewery, and because allowing a group in and involving them in one of the sake-making processes was so exceptional, the story was reported in the Yamagata Shinbun the next day Fortunately my blushes were spared as the photo that accompanied the news story was not the one of me tipping rice into the wrong container but into the rice steamer.

Sake from The Frozen North - Day 3, Thrills, and Spills: Rice Washing at Dewazakura; Soba Making

POSTED ON 30/03/2015

By now accustomed to earlyish morning starts, we were driven at 8.30 am to Tendo City in Yamagata Prefecture for a morning visit to Dewazakura brewery, to be followed by a hands-on soba-making class. I was particularly excited at the prospect of visiting Dewazakura as I have very much enjoyed their sakes in the UK.

Welcome to Dewazakura - sugidama from Japanese cedarWelcome to Dewazakura - sugidama from Japanese cedar
Akari and Shotaro NakanoAkari and Shotaro Nakano

Sake from the Frozen North - Day 2, Yonetsuru and The Snow Monsters

POSTED ON 29/03/2015

Checking out of our hotel on the dot of at 8.20am (well, this is Japan), we took the one-hour drive to Yonetsuru Brewery in Takahata on a chartered bus.
 We had to arrive by 9.30 am because that’s when the rice-steaming starts and rice-steaming waits for no-one.

Yoichiro Umetsu at YonetsuruYoichiro Umetsu at Yonetsuru

Sake from The Frozen North - Day 1, Heading North to Yonezawa

POSTED ON 28/03/2015

Sake Brewery Tours set the scene but could the summary of what to expect live up to expectations?

Thus Spake Robert Parker

POSTED ON 01/01/2015

In 2004, Robert Parker, the world’s leading wine critic (after The Wine Gang, that is) predicted the shape of the wine world a decade later, saying ‘predictions are often carelessly thrown together lists, since few people remember them 10 years later.

She Gets a Kick from Champagne

POSTED ON 17/12/2014

Is this the fizz you ordered?Is this the fizz you ordered?

The CIVC, the official body that represents Champagne worldwide, is taking Rachel Jayne Powell, aka @ChampagneJayne, to court in Melbourne for tarnishing the good name of Champagne. It points the finger at misleading / deceptive conduct in using the name Champagne Jayne while also promoting other sparkling wines. Quelle horreur. It also suggests that by using the name Champagne Jayne, she has presented herself as an approved representative of the Champagne industry. Quel chutzpah.

Oh, What a Night, for the Tapas Bar Guide

POSTED ON 04/10/2014

In front of a packed gathering of the luminaries of the tapas bar world at Ibérica Marylebone, London, Wednesday night, Anthony Rose and Isabel Cuevas launched the much-awaited Tapas Bar Guide.

Executive chef César García of Ibérica, designed a fabulous menu of tapas and pinchos for the occasion, washed down with Mahou beer and wines from Torres, González Byass and Codorníu.

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