Drink less but better is a laudable enough aim but hard to achieve once the genie is out of the bottle. How different if you could have just one glass, two perhaps, half a bottle even, of a fine wine without having to open the bottle. A fanciful idea? It was until an American medical inventor called Greg Lambrecht decided when his wife was pregnant that he was going to find a way of drinking a glass without actually opening the bottle.
It is still summer, isn’t it? In the South of France mid-August is traditionally a time for thunderstorms and torrential downpours, bringing in their wake the first wistful chill of autumnal air. Here, it’s not just the changeable weather that’s baffling on a surreal Saturday when Rooney & Co. are performing before the first ball of the fifth Ashes Test is bowled. But if my glass is half full today, I want it topped up with appetisingly dry whites to prolong the al fresco moments before the nights draw in.
As a communicator who’s spent a lifetime making wine entertaining, Oz Clarke takes us on an unapologetically personal romp through many of the most significant moments in wine in The History of Wine in 100 Bottles (£20, Pavilion). Every bottle drained tells stories of ‘the politics, the science, the empire-building and the wars, the lucky mistakes, the brilliant guesses, the leaps in the dark and the human frailties that have created our world of wine’.
I recently visited Aldi’s Midlands HQ to find out more about the Aldi story from head wine honcho Mike James, a thoughtful doctor of philosophy who topped Off Licence News’ Top 100 list of the UK’s most influential wine people. First we called into the Atherstone store to check out the core wine range of some 75 wines. The no-frills-no-false-promotions message was reinforced by few staff, rudimentary shelves and no fancy packaging, but rather, wines that do what they say on the tin, and in some cases more.