Thwarted by two false starts, the first for storms, the second for rail strikes, it was finally chocks away as the Islander lifted off like a Mountain Banshee from Land’s End airport. Within 15 minutes, it deposited its eight passengers on St Mary’s in the Scilly Isles. Quarter of an hour later, I was standing in England’s most southerly vineyard, glass of Holy Vale Pinot Noir Rosé in hand.
Being a champagne expert doesn’t make you a Stephen Fry, as Tom Stevenson and co-judges, Essi Avellan MW and Tony Jordan, would be the first to admit. Announcing the 2015 Champagne and Sparkling Wine Awards at the Vintner’s Hall, Stevenson’s delivery was accompanied by a squeaky voiceover whose digital unmentionables were apparently being squeezed. The lack of slickness was compensated by plenty of bling in the bottle and an enlightening analysis of the world of bubbles.
Do you scan the aisles of supermarkets desperately seeking only products whose dangler, glorifier, wobbler or necker promises a BOGOF, three for two or half price deal? Or do you assiduously shun such promotions as dirty tricks, sorry marketing gimmicks, aimed at luring the gullible and my mother into impulse buys? At least Aldi and Lidl, as this column has pointed out, do what they say on the tin because their no-frills prices are an honest substitute for a potentially dubious promotion.
Have you bought any wine recently from Schwarz Lebensmittel-Sortimentsgroßhandlung? Didn’t think so. You may have bought a wine from Lidl though, which is the surname Dieter Schwarz acquired for 1,000 German Marks from Ludwig Lidl because the former name was too long, and Schwarzmarkt, or Black Market, probably wasn't a great idea for a retailer.