Sooner or later, you feel, or you certainly hope at least, that the One Big Idea will come along and earn you millions, as the inventors of Google and Microsoft can attest. So I’m thrilled to announce that I am soon very much anticipating joining Soros, Gates, Buffet et al as rich beyond my wildest imaginings. Ok maybe that’s overegging the pudding a bit, but comfortable shall we say. However, while their fortunes were earned in the heady worlds of finance and technology, mine derives from a far nobler source, that, of course, of wine.
Next Saturday’s piece in The Independent on the 2009 Burgundy has had to be held over for a week until Saturday 12 February (and my blog’s accompanying buying guide), so a good opportunity to turn attention back to the 2008 vintage in general and the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in particular. The DRC always holds its tasting at the same time as the en primeur Burgundy circus but the difference is that it shows the wines of the previous vintage.
I confess that until lunchtime today I thought that Umu off Berkeley Square was the best Japanese restaurant in town. Yashin off High Street Kensington has only been open a few months but it looks like it just might knock Umu off its Kyoto perch. Today’s lunch at Yashin was organized by Lynne Sherriff MW in conjunction with KOJ, a group of 15 Japanese wine producers based in Yamanashi prefecture who came to London for the second time to show their wines made from the local Koshu grape.
Unwrap a parcel and you always hope for a nice surprise. That’s the thing about hopes and parcels. They create expectations that don't always deliver. Parcels, or deals, have long been the stock-in-trade of Majestic which was particularly adept at snapping up great deals when Tony Mason, alas now retired, was in charge of the buying. Among his most famous coups was picking up thousands of cases of mature claret from the Swedish monopoly Vin & Sprit.
For the last few years I’ve said goodbye to booze in January. I’ll be doing the same again from today. It’s good to remind myself every so often that I can (and in my job I need to). I also feel so much better for it in the mornings. Instead of having to drag my sorry self out of bed, there’s a spring in my step. Drinking wine every day is an easy habit to acquire. Breaking the habit is easier said than done and don’t believe anyone who tells you they can do it if they want to unless they actually do it. The proof is in the not drinking.
I was minding my own business as per usual, feeding the cats, doing the laundry, stacking the dishwasher, when, blow me down with a feather duster if didn’t receive an email out of the blue inviting me to a conference in Christchurch. Not the alma mater, but Christchurch, New Zealand. Well, what would you do, say no and continue stacking the dishwasher? Of course you wouldn’t, you’d leap at the chance to be in the Spring warmth and dazzling light of New Zealand wouldn’t you? Bring on the Tardis.
The prospect of the Inland Revenue riding to the defence of wine lovers would seem an unlikely one, I’ll admit, but it may just be that the taxman has declared his hand as the scourge of the wine investor.
Have you spent a small fortune on wine recently in the hope of a great return on your investment? Were you lured by an investment fund, a broker, or, heaven forfend, a wine writer, promising that whatever else happened, your investment would be free of capital gains and inheritance tax? Because if so, you might be about to come a cropper at the hands of the Inland Revenue.
It came, we saw, they went. The Wine Gang’s Christmas Fair, that is, on Saturday and the 600-odd satisfied customers who swirled and slurped and in some cases even spat their way through the 698 wines our exhibitors put on for tasting at Vinopolis. From the moment go, there was a hum under the cathedral-vaulted brick roofs of the Victorian railway arches in Borough Market this year and the hum rapidly crescendoed into an excitedly appreciative but not inebriated buzz.
Foster’s, owners of Penfolds in general and Grange in particular, has just announced that its Rosemount brand is to release a new Botanicals range that includes a sauvignon blanc infused with lemon and elderflower, chardonnay with green apple and cucumber, and pinot grigio with blood orange and rosewater. From 10,000 miles away, you can hear the groans of former chief winemaker Philip Shaw.
If you enjoy tasting wine ‘to find out what you might like or to know what to buy’ says Rob, one of the best ways of tasting small amounts of many different wines is to go to a wine fair. Here the social media whizz, Rob McIntosh, comes up with some handy ideas and practical suggestions.
‘These events can easily be a little overwhelming and confusing’, he suggests, so let me summarise his useful pointers to make the most of the events. I add my own tips to Rob’s practical advice.