Sunday, 12 September 2010

A Degree in wine you say? Preposterous!

Or: The Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 4 Diploma.

Yes, I've officially started the level below Master of Wine. For those of you thinking that being wine educated was little more than learning to pontificate and spout absolute crap (ala Jilly Goolden - famous for her "hmm I'm getting wet nappies" whilst tasting), there is in fact and entire International Body who's sole purpose is educating and examining wine courses; they even grant trade-recognised awards.
Levels One and Two I think most people reading this blog could successfully pass. Whilst I haven't done them myself (Majestic was kind enough to chuck us in at the deep-end with level three), I'm told that they're designed for bar-staff and waiters: "What colour is the wine in front of you?" "Errr...."
Unfortunately at level 4, a mini two year degree if you like, what's required is slightly harder:
"Why is the permitted level of SO2 for sweet whites higher than for dry reds?"
Thankfully the kind people at WSET did give us study packs with all the answers, and as with all learning, it's simply a matter then (at least for the theory-side) to remember all the key points carefully through note-taking and regurgitate for the exam, or as is often the case, cram the night before and wing-it on the day.
So whilst anyone wanting a purely intellectual pursuit could partake, the theory is only one side of the Diploma coin. The other? Why, tasting of course.
Personally I don't believe that some people are born with amazing palates, yes some people detect certain flavour compounds more than others, it's more often than not a question of practise and teaching yourself to remember different smells, flavours and wine-profiles (Example: A light hued ruby red wine, that doesn't have much weight in the glass, smells primarily of strawberries and cherries, doesn't have much tannin in the mouth and has a refreshing acidity would most likely be Pinot Noir - and that's the kind of thing you have to remember when you taste a wine). The tough bit though is not just assessing the wine and analysing it's qualities, but then also drawing conclusions. Whilst at Level 3 it was handy multiple choice, at Diploma there are no boxes guiding you, and though we would never be given a port versus a champagne versus a vodka (they do split the exams into Categories: Unit 3 - Still Wines, Unit 4 - Sparkling, Unit 5 - Spirits, Unit 6 - Fortified), we'll still have to say what the wine is, where it's come from and why we think so, whilst also judging the quality level and price (thankfully I've got another two years of drinking...I mean tasting to practise in).

And the point of all of this? As with any human interest, greater specialisation, greater depth and increased focus. Unfortunately greater depth doesn't mean more expensive/better wines.

Any coward can drink expensive wine, it takes a brave man to drink a cheap one.
André Louis Simon 1922

Suggested Wine-style to try this week: Australian Semillon

Thursday, 6 May 2010

"So why isn't Wine one of your 5-a-day?"

Or: An attempt at combining logic and wine.

After last week's throw away comment, that wine is technically juice, I started thinking about why wine isn't considered one of the 5-a-day. Juice is said to be good for you as it contains vitamins and minerals, plant nutrients and phyto-chemicals (the goodness in all 5-a-days which I'm tentatively going to label it Vitamin G, as I've always wanted to).

The basis of this post is that "Juice" counts as one of five, wine is merely fermented grape-juice, egro wine is one of the five. Simple enough argument, it logically follows, the only contentious issue here is whether the points are true, (Stand aside logicians, Philosophy Graduate in action here!), and as its always good to ask, question, and doubt, rather than to shut up and put up I'm going to prove that wine is one of the five. The real crux of the matter is what changes in the wine-making process and whether any of the goodness is lost.

Firstly, fermentation. The grapes arrive at the winery, they're pressed and the juice that runs off is then put into a big vat and left to ferment. Now fermentation as defined by a biochemist is "any reaction involving either living micro-organisms or, at least, an enzyme extracted from such organisms." However that's at bit overspecific as we're only interested in alcoholic fermentation; that wonderful process of turning Sugar, through the action of yeast, into alcohol, with some Carbon Dioxide left over (For all you who missed GCSE chemistry, that's C6H12O6->2C2H5OH+2CO2).
So far so good, all the Vitamin Gs are still there, as all that's changed is the sugar content has been replaced by alcohol (and lots of dead-yeast cells). What we have after fermentation is a cloudy, alcoholic liquid that's got lots of bits in it that will need fining and filtering (Whilst we have cloudy juice on our menus, we haven't quite reached the point as consumers of liking cloudy wine).
Fining was traditionally done with egg whites and bulls' blood, but these days wine-makers more often use more exciting things like Bentonite and Isinglass. More specifically what fining does is pull out of solution things like excess tannins and other colloids (of which all our Vitamin Gs aren't) so that they can be filtered out. The amount of filtration used depends on the wine, whites will be more highly filtered than reds, as we want crystal clear bright white wine, and more over, the more expensive the wine the less it's going to be filtered. As to over filter anything results in a stripping of its quality. Now if you filtered orange juice, you wouldn't loose the potassium content say, nor vitamin C, which as ascorbic acid remains in solution.
So to return to the original hypothesis: Juice is good for you as it contains Vitamin G. Wine is simply fermented grape juice. Thus: Wine is good for you as it contains Vitamin G.

The best use of bad wine
is to drive away poor relations.

Traditional French Proverb

Suggested Wine-style to try this week: Chilean Syrah (since the Chileans have finally reopened their ports and are shipping their lovely wine to the UK again)

I've realised from visiting excellent blogs, such as my friends Ed's and Holly's, that mine was suffering from a distinct lack of pictures. This has now been remedied (yes I know it's not quite work friendly).

Saturday, 24 April 2010

"Of course it's good for you, it's got Red Wine in it!"

Or, why Wine is amazingly good and what's in it.

To make clear why wine is so manifoldly beneficial I'll highlight what's in it that makes it so.
Lets start with the obvious bit - Wine is mostly Water, and of course everyone knows water is essential (to be truly flippant you could say that its technically juice and so one of your 5-a-day). In your average bottle there'll be around 85% water. The other 15% or so is what's interesting though.

After water comes Alcohol, both the demon and the angel of this magnificent drink. Legally it has to be over 8.5% to be called Wine, and whilst the average percentage has been creeping up over the passed 30 years (predominately due to better viticultural practises, such as picking later, and better vinification, like using the right strains of yeast) most wine sits around 13%. Alcohol is angelic purely because its a depressant, it depresses those parts of your brain that control prudence and embarrassment and make for a wonderfully relaxing fun time. Demonic for much the same reason, it depresses the brain further inhibiting reason, sense of responsibility, sense of decorum and ultimately sense of coordination. Recently thanks to the wonders of science there have been several excellent contradictory studies showing that alcohol is both good for you and bad for you, in moderation and in excess. As with many things the best advice is "little and often" (As a small aside, often is the key, as your body produces Alcohol Dehydrogenase to break down alcohol as soon as it enters your system. If you keep your ADH topped up, you break alcohol down more efficiently and thus more healthy.)

As well as alcohol, the key ingredient that makes wine work (especially in regards to accompanying food) is Acidity. Generally wine will have a pH between 3 and 4 (7 is neutral for those of you who didn't do the litmus-test in school). Acidity is key in making wine refreshing and cleansing, it causes the tongue to salivate and helps cut through fatty and rich dishes.
There is an interesting interplay between acidity and sweetness, that is often not appreciated.
Sugar is less of a factor in wines these days than in the passed centuries, when most wine had over 50 grams per litre. Today nearly all wine drunk is dry, that is with a residual sugar level of under 4g/litre (to give you an indication of sweetness in common drinks, Coca-cola has 114 g/litre, it doesn't feel massively sweet due to the high acidity). Without a high acidity wine would feel flabby and sickly.
Tied in with sugar is Glycerol, and technically more abundant than both sugar and acidity combined. Glycerol is a by-product of fermentation and originally comes from the sugar in the grape juice, thus wines from the new world, where grapes are riper and have higher sugar tend to have more. Its a key component as it gives wine weight and body, the viscosity (as I always say to my trainees when asked how full bodied a wine is: does it feel more like water or milk in the mouth).

Finally, Tannins (although mainly in red wine), are the last essential component in a good glass. Tannins come from the skin and stalk of the grapes and give that drying-of-the-tongue-and-gums sensation (for those too embarrassed to ask but always wanted to know: White wine is made by fermenting just the juice of white/grey skinned grapes, whilst Red wine you leave the crushed grapes in; hence white wine not having tannins). The reason why tannins are so cunningly useful is that they bind with protein molecules upon contact, such that when you have a good steak they help tenderise the meat, while the meat helps the wine seem less harsh. (Additionally as a wine ages the tannins bind with colour compounds, like reservatrol, and fall out of solution, which is why you get sediment in old red wine and why the wine looses it's colour).

What's left in the bottle besides the above, are flavour compounds or phenolics, trace elements such as iron and sodium, and sulphur dioxide. Now poor SO2 is the latest in a long line to get the media bashing, and the greens up in arms, as some people are allergic to it. It is an essential element in wine-making. Firstly, without it you cannot make wine and secondly it is naturally produced in wine-making. Mostly it's been blamed for "That terrible headache" you get the following morning. Let me be the first to say that this is complete horse-shit! Dehydration and methanol are what cause headaches, and although I have no evidence to back up this claim I firmly believe its the quality of beverage you consume that affects how you feel afterwards (Consider drinking 75cl of gut-rot cider versus 75cl of Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru). Whilst a move away from high levels of SO2 is naturally a good thing, this was mostly done several decades ago, as wine-technology advanced.

So wine is made from water, alcohol, glycerol, acidity, residual sugar and tannins (with some SO2 to make it drinkable). Really that's it. When people talk of nasty additives and natural wine they don't have a clue.

Fill ev'ry glass, for wine inspires us,
And fires us
With courage, love and joy.
Women and wine should life employ.
Is there ought else on earth desirous?

John Gay The Beggar's Opera 1728

Suggested wine-style to try this week: Dry Fino Sherry (since we're continuing backwards with what's been in vogue - Sack, as the Elizabethans called Sherry)

As an aside, the latest Health Office way to bully people into stopping drinking is calorie counting; so good news ladies its all a lie.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Move over Sauvignon - Viognier is the new black!

Or less verbosely put: Wines come in and out of fashion.

Unfortunately the title of this post has a large assumption as everyone from winemakers, to journalists, to humble retailers are all wondering what will be the next Sauvignon blanc, the next BIG thing. For those who haven't experienced the true horror of the 'Sauvalance' (Yes thats 1,738,000 cases from one winery alone) and are wondering what on earth I'm going on about, let me simply say that we are firmly clasped in the lime and gooseberry scented bosom of Sauvignon Blanc. We love it. We can't get enough of it. However, we are a fickle bunch and not so long ago we were cosying up to a 'Plainer Jane' whilst still decrying our previous love-affair as stuffy and cloying.

Having worked with wine for a number of years I'm always intrigued by the fashionistas of wine and those who set the trends. When I first started everyone loved Pinot Grigio, it was light, good value (kinder than saying cheap) and ultimately gluggable. The On-trade couldn't shift it fast enough and everyone from the Sharons in the pub asking for a "medium dry", to the little Italian grower was happy. (Un)fortunately the success of Pingo Gringo was only down to consumer reaction against Chardonnay, more specifically the oaky new world type, and when people realised quite how insipid most of the Pinot Grigio around was, they moved on.

Now poor Chardonnay is much maligned, as it is hardly the grape that is at fault, and thankfully this trend is righting itself with people slowly realising that what they don't want, is vastly overpowering new American oak - that toasty, vanilla bomb, which coats the mouth and dulls the senses. Nevertheless it was these exact flavours that enticed consumers in the first place. If you've been following my "suggested wine-style" advice then you'll know what it was that Chardonnay's success was built on. Vanilla, toffee, tropical fruit and a creamy mouthfeel, were flavours that people had never had before. All that the civilised world was drinking was sweet German wines; sticky and appley, Liebfraumilch was synonymous with easy drinking white. Whilst it is quite possibly the spawn of Satan, (along with every other cheap, anemic, sweet slop) it does have a lot to be thanked for: introducing millions to wine, making wine an affordable drink, creating a market and making the rest of the world realise that not only the French make wine.

"And before Liebfraumilch what were people drinking?" you may ask. Well, most likely those who could afford it were drinking the only wine that was cheap and quaffable - southern burgundy, more specifically those of Macon, Chalon and Montagny; as there was nowhere else in the world that produced wine of quality for export.

However, wine-trends aren't an overly a bad thing. Yes the market may be flooded at the moment with cheap bland kiwi Sauvignon, but that means one can buy a stunning quality German Riesling at a price far lower than the calibre of the wine demands.
An amusing aside to what the next "great white" will be, comes from the Australians, who, hoping that Albarino would take off, brought in and planted vast tracks of what they thought was Albarino from Spain. Fate is fickle and much to the horror of the poor Ozzy winemakers what they had actually planted turned out to be plain Traminer. The lowly cousin to Gewurztraminer and the lesser white grape of Jura.
As with any trend the problem here "The Band-Wagon". Someone hits the nail on the head and there's an increase in demand, but as supply goes up (with everyone clawing for a piece of the pie) quality inevitably drops as miserly consumers (and suppliers) try to find a better price for their tipple and end up drinking bathwater flavoured wine convinced that since its in vogue it must be good.

What is man, when you come to think upon him,
but a minutely set, ingenious machine for turning, with
infinite artfulness, the red wine of Shiraz into urine?

Isak Dinesen 'The Dreamers' 1934

Suggested wine-style to try this week: Well the only one left of course - southern white burgundy.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The proverbial "Could" as justification for anything.

Or Why the Government spoils your fun and free time.
Let me first preface this post by saying that being in the Industry whose life depends upon Alcohol and from my own personal enjoyment of it, I find the current Governmental trend of naysaying and nannying deeply offensive, hypocritical, ill-thought out, patronising and damn-right wrong; I'll try not to let this devolve into a rant but quite frankly I've got more than just the enjoyment of a GnT at the end of the day riding on it.
So first things first, lets start with definitions at it seems that no one really knows and the goal-posts have been moved many a time, to whichever political tune's been played at the time.

Units: Neatly summed as - "A unit of alcohol is defined as 10 millilitres (or approximately 8 grams) of ethanol (ethyl alcohol). This is approximately the amount of ethanol an average healthy adult can break down in an hour."
Binge Drinking: Now here's one that's changed from Drinking to get Drunk at the weekend to, more than two pints a day - "A popular 'definition' of binge drinking in the UK is the consumption of 50% or more of the recommended maximum weekly number of units of alcohol in 'one session', e.g. one night out. Thus, for a male the consumption of 4 pints of 5% ABV beer/lager would constitute 'binge drinking' ." However the current government definition is anyone who consumes more than their recommend daily limit is a "BINGE DRINKER", and so completely failing to understand the word Binge - 2 pints of 5% beer with a meal is not excessive.
Daily Limits: Because the era of common-sense is dead and we all need to be told how to live, we're advised not to drink more than 21 units a week - "regular consumption of between three and four units a day for men and between two and three units a day for women would not pose significant health risks, but that consistently drinking four or more units a day (men) or three or more units a day (women) is not advisable."
Which brings us neatly to the title of this post, the could, and from then to the why all this madness has come about to try and stop what should be a quiet pleasure and an inalienable human right.

When researching this post and having a vested interest, both professionally and personally, into these wonderful government guidelines I could find no hard evidence as to what happens when you drink more than 4 units a day. Nearly all the health pages and reference websites were filled with conditionals, may/could/might. The only definite ever stated (but not backed up with any link to scientific paper) was the "direct link between drinking and coronary heart disease" (ironic considering that drinking can also help lower the risk). And there's a very good reason for these conditionals: the Daily Limits were simply made-up as an intelligent best guess in the nineteen eighties.

And so from there to the why: Why are we being told how much to drink? Surely we as intelligent adults can live our own lives, no? Unfortunately not so, and for the very simple reason that the Nanny has more than just a mild concern for her wards.
Given that this country has a history of high alcohol consumption, an ingrained cultural leaning towards alcohol, its not surprising that with the lowering of the cost of alcohol in real-terms since the fifties, and the rise of social irresponsibility, that we have had a so called, albeit sensationalised-media-exploitation, "Binge Drinking Epidemic", (thankfully this social-trend is said now to be in decline) and with the Nanny also being in charge of healthcare spending it makes perfect sense - "If you drink too much, we have to clear up the mess, and that costs money".
However, firstly it's our tax-money (an irresponsible response but amusing nonetheless) and secondly why tell people to stop drinking when it is one of the major sources of tax revenue in the first place (just under 9 billion excluding the 17.5% from Alcohol-VAT in 2008). Thankfully when being told by the Nanny "what to do" she herself is confused.
But let's not be too frivolous, as Alcohol is a drug and an addictive one, we can see why the Nanny is scared and worried, when so often the picture is painted is one not too dissimilar from Hogarth's Gin Lane; but, amusingly and quite succinctly, there in we have it: people don't change, we all like a drink and society is not about to fall to the peril that is Alcohol. The only thing that has changed is that we're all now more informed.

"Lo! the poor tober whose untutored sense,
Sees bliss in ale, and can with wine dispense;
Whose head proud fancy never taught to steer,
Beyond the muddy ecstasies of beer."
George Crabbe 'Inebriety' 1775.

Suggested wine-style to try this week: Sweet German White, like a nice Riesling or Liebfraumilch.

P.S. I must apologise for there being too much whine and not enough wine in the above post but what with Sir Liam Donaldson being a "prime government Tool", I felt that a bit of real info and not media propaganda was needed.
As a final aside please do read this link as it puts a whole new level on the current "Alcohol and health" debate.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

In the Land of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King.

Or "Wine Types and Styles, and what they taste of".
Since a resounding 90% of you wanted to know more about wine, and several friends have expressed an interest in knowing more, I thought it was high-time to give a quick rundown on the current best wine styles and types on the current market.

The easiest way to get to grips with wine is by remembering the grape type. This is the main reason why New-World wine took off in such a big way in this country (around about the 1990s). Instead of Vouvray and Bergerac, we now had Ozzy Chardonnay with a cute frog on the picture and, Chilean Merlot with some odd devil insignia, which as an aide de memorie is significantly better than some unintelligible Chateau name (not that I have anything against such things but for introductory purposes they really aren't the easiest).
So, without further ado:

Chardonnay: Quite literally the Queen of the White Wine World. I read once that Chardonnay has no flavour of its own and responds to whatever the winemaker does to it, whilst this is true in a sense its not particularly helpful and in a nutshell chardonnay comes in two styles (gross generalisation I know). Firstly the dry crisp granny-smith, lemon and honey of Chablis, Montrachet and any New-World Chardonnay that says its "Unoaked". Secondly, there's the rich full bodied style of Meursault, Corton and any New-World Chardonnay that's likely to have some oak influence, in France these tend to taste of lemon, butter, nut and golden-syrup, whilst in Chile/Oz/Argentina, they'll be jam packed with rich tropical fruit flavours specifically mango, melon, passion fruit. I'll leave the ABC crowd to a later missive.

Sauvignon Blanc: The current most popular white grape variety, made famous originally by Sancerre and Pouilly Fume, but more recently by the Nouveau Sauvignon sensation from New Zealand and more specifically Marlborough. Quintessentially Sauvignon tastes of limes to Chardonnay's lemons; Lime, grapefruit, gooseberry, catspee (yes I'm sceptical too, also refered to as a Geranium-esque taste) freshly-cut grass and herbs. Generally the crispiest, driest style of white on the market, but it can (and does) respond well to oak, as the American Market likes it.

Pinot Grigio: Like many, many Italian whites this one ticks all the boxes, when cheap, of being gluggable, flavourless and insipid. Possibly an over-harsh criticism as you can get many a fine Pinot Grigio but as we all know from trying it, Pinot Grigio tastes of two things: Pears and Almonds (if you're lucky). If done as the Alsatian's like it as a Pinot Gris you can get a rich, honeyed, heady, blossom and apricot scented aromatic wine, which the Kiwis are rather taking a shine to, as they try desperately to get away from the one trick pony that is Sauv Blanc.

Cabernet Sauvignon: This cunning cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Cab-Savs lesser known (and more stalky) brother Cabernet Franc is the King of Red Grapes, creating some of the finest (and most expensive) wines known to man, capable of hundreds of years of aging. By saying it's the King, it is quite the consort to Chardonnay's Queen in the sense that it responds very well to wherever its being grown and to the respective winemaker. Primarily though Cabernet Sauvignon tastes of Ribena (in the new-world) or Cassis (in the old). Joking aside it can also taste of blackcurrants, blueberries, pencil-shavings and cigar-boxes (in the old-world), blueberries, eucalyptus, and vanilla (in the new). Cab-Sav is one of the two primary grapes in Bordeaux (also affectionately known as Claret) the other being the grape below, and thankfully the two compliment each other very well as this style is mimicked all over the world.

Merlot: Possibly the easiest red to drink as its often lighter bodied than many reds and rich, warm and plummy in style; lighter as it is not as tannic as Cab-Sav and certainly not as obviously cassisy, with notes of currant and fruitcake (in the old-world) and chocolate and coffee (in the new). Chilean Merlot really helped bring this soft juicy grape to the forefront of the consumer's mind in the late eighties, ironically however it wasn't Merlot that was being bottled but its lesser known brother Carménère, which has everything one wants from Merlot and more; more chocolate, molasses, mocha, caramel and vanilla.

Syrah/Shiraz: A grape that mostly gained its fame thanks to the Australians, who really put it through its paces far more so than the French in its original home, where its often blended (and blended well no less) Australian Shiraz has to be one of the most iconic wine-styles available. Whilst the line is less clear than it is with Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, I'd certainly, at least for clarity's sake, have producers who want the more elegant, nuanced style to be call it Syrah. Here the flavours are blackberry, black-pepper, smoke, nutmeg and often savoury gamey notes; a style that some Chilean and new-world producers are trying to emulate. In its spiritual home as Shiraz, the clever Australians can create massive overpowering wines that taste of (some of the above but also) blueberry, prune, and a general rich heady inky blackness.

Pinot Noir: One of the oldest grape varieties around and the progenitor of quite a few of the modern grapes we have on the market (Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Gamay, Auxerrois, Pinotage, Aligote), Pinot Noir is a venerable variety and certainly one of the hardest grapes to grow well, and as such the most elegant and subtle of grapes. In its original home in Burgundy Pinot Noir is finesse personified, tasting of cherries, raspberries, strawberries, game, leather, mushrooms (the last three when aged), whilst in the new world and specifically where its more successful (namely California, Chile and New Zealand) it can take on flavours of green-peppers, jam, glacie-cherry and candied berrys. My one piece of advice for this fantastic grape is it can't be grown well cheaply. Never spend less than £10 in France or £7 in the new-world if you want to avoid disappointment. When cheap it will taste thin, tart and rubbish.

Whilst there are many other nobles grapes worth mentioning and giving further discussion to, the best place to start is of course by going and drinking them!

"Dust into Dust, and under dust, to lie, Sans wine - sans Song."
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam st.23

Suggested wine-style to try this week: Oaky New World Chardonnay.

(P.S. I realise that the above hasn't got to the question of oak influence and its effects upon wine-flavour, but I'll leave that for another post).
(P.P.S. If people would like more wine info please come and visit me for an informal chat+Free tasting, its ever so quiet in Battersea)

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Pingo Gringo, Chardollay and Riohjar

Or "Wine Snobbery - The Bane of The Wine World".

I've been selling wine, in one way or another, for coming on 5 years now; its been an interesting time to say the least, not just in learning about the myriad of wines out there, but more intriguingly to the way that we as a people approach wine, and the glories that it entails.
First and foremost, wine is an alcoholic drink: a source of pleasure, hopefully, a great accompaniment to social times and relaxation; but given there are so many different styles its amazing what limited selections people submit themselves to.

I started my career in wine, as many have, serving it to others, and whilst most were quite happy to go for a nice Chilean Merlot or Australian Shiraz on the reds, the requests for white wines always astounded me. From "Yeah I wanna nice medium-dry Pingo-Gringo" to "Oh no I don't drink Chenin its too sweet" I was always intrigued as to how these people had formed such steadfast opinions based upon so little. (Wine Informative Aside: nearly all white wine in this country sold and consumed is dry; medium-dry, medium-sweet do not refer to the flavour profile but to the level of residual sugar, the actual grams per litre. Wines can taste fruity whilst still being dry.)

This kind of Flavour-Arrogance is all well and fine, you like what you know, but it's made despicable when you have someone who thinks their opinion is well informed when they're plainly pig-ignorant. I'll cite two examples: the first is the "I can't stand Chardollay", mispronouncing aside, this statement is then usually followed by "but have you got any chablis?". Casually damning an entire varietal just because it's deemed unfashionable (a point I'll address in a later missive).
The second example concerns Rosé. I'll let you in on a little secret, the style of a Rosé has nothing whatsoever to do with the colour; (EJG have done no one any favours with their innocuous blushes) nor whether it'll give you a raging hangover or not. And yet, many people are convinced that they know what colour to go for to find a wine they enjoy.

The point I'm labouring to make is about wine information and misinformation. As with any subjective pleasure there are as many intellectual-studies as there are old-wives' tales; the key thing to realise is that being ignorant of something is fine, you can always learn more. What is far far worse is to arrogantly claim knowledge, make some sweeping generalisation and have it being at best, make you look like an idiot, or at worse being detrimental to your enjoyment and others. of such a great human creation.

"In vino veritas et praevalebit. Agreeing with the author, there is truth in wine and it will a bit."
Stevie Smith

Suggested wine-style to try this week: Italian Pinot Grigio - yes there are some very good ones out there, suprisingly.

(Nice to see Red wine coming out on top of the poll, no one voted for Rosé, even given the weather we've been having.)